I wish it were true; that ten years travelling across more than 50 different countries would be enough education in terms of how to get the most from a travel budget. Although, this could not be further from the truth, and it is with regret that I now think back to the simple mistakes I had made during this time, and how much value was missed as a result of not researching, or even thinking about my spending in an efficient manner.
12 months training to become an International travel consultant would emphasize my ignorance and here are 3 of the most important lessons on how to lower the cost of long term travel:
Laptop, cash, backpack, cellphone, camera; these are just a few items which were stolen from my possession over the years and unfortunately, most of these occasions were not due to negligence, but rather for the fact that some incidents are often unavoidable. I incurred the full expense of replacing these items.
As a travel consultant, I would learn how most of my clients had enough sense to recognize the importance of travel insurance and to ensure they had adequate cover. This sense was then emphasized when other clients failed to do so, and paid the ultimate price through colossal medical bills, or sudden expenses in other areas which could not be covered.
My time as a travel consultant not only showed me how wrong I was for not having any travel insurance, but also how lucky I was not to have sustained any accidents of incidents of a more serious, and expensive nature.
Travel insurance may seem like an unnecessary cost, but trust me, it is an investment worth having that will eventually save you money, and an untold amount of inconvenience.
Booking flights online
As a consultant, almost every sale included an airfare, and these flights were always booked directly with the airline. My selling point as an agent was usually in finding the lowest airfare for the customer, and the best tactic was always to create urgency by explaining how the price can fluctuate at any moment.
Naturally, I also needed to know everything about my competition in order to establish trust with a client, so this involved keeping a close eye on the main booking engines which is the obvious alternative through which airfare can be booked.
Unfortunately, I knew very little about online booking at the time and in particular the term “cookies”, which would prove a very costly mistake. These cookies are effectively a way in which websites can track a user online, meaning that they know when a customer is returning to re-check the cost of a flight. Booking engines also know the importance of creating the above mentioned urgency, and unfortunately they use these cookies to increase the price of a flight for returning customers.
However, there is a simple means to stop this from happening, along with many other ways to find a cheap flight online.
Save on Accommodation
Eating food, drinking water, and having somewhere to rest your head for the night; these are the basic necessities of every travel itinerary and also the most expensive part of the budget.
When I first started travelling, I often booked accommodation prior to arrival but this involved a minimal amount of research, and even less time performing comparisons. In hindsight, I should have been using discounts and special offers on a continual basis, while also comparing the price of hotels etc on several websites as opposed to the same one. When you consider how accommodation is always the largest part of a travel budget, this was a naive and expensive thing to overlook.
There really should be no excuse and no reason not to check one of the many comparison websites who scan across the major travel brand booking engines for the best price. Not only is it a lightening fast process, but it will usually result in a lower price and when you consider the significance of $5 per day over the duration of a year, the savings are immense.
As a travel consultant, you have the privilege of meeting a multitude of savvy travellers who know how to make their spending money go further, and last longer. Saving money on accommodation is the easiest way to make the bulk of the savings which will allow for this, not to mention how it is also a simple and entirely painless process.