11 Steps to Booking the Perfect Holiday
As the 11.11 sale approaches, you might find yourself seated in front of your smartphone or laptop, primed to check out that unbeatable deal that pops up at the stroke of midnight. But what if I told you there could be more savings to be made, with just a little planning? We’ve put together a total of - you guessed it - eleven steps to ensure you’re getting the cheapest flights this sale season.
Here at CheapTickets.hk, we often show you where, or when, to book cheap air tickets and holidays. Today, we’re going to show you how.
1. Get Planning
Most travellers set up shop outside their favourite flight booking website and grab whatever catches their eye first, for fear of missing out on the best the site has to offer. However, some due diligence beforehand could make your next getaway even easier on the eye and wallet.
How much does your dream flight cost right now? Will arriving in one city and departing from another save you more money? Is it a good season to head there? Whittle down your options and select a few destinations - it’ll allow you to book cheap tickets that you’ll truly enjoy. Most of the following steps depend on this, so do the heavy lifting now to maximize your potential savings.
2. Do You Need A Visa?
Destinations in Europe or the Americas could suddenly be within budget, and bargain hunters often make a purchase before confirming one key factor - whether it’s even possible to go there.
The Hong Kong passport today is one of the strongest passports out there, granting visa-free or visa on arrival access to many countries and territories. However, some prime travel destinations are not included in this list. Applying for these visas will take time, so allow for plenty of room between your application and flight date.
3. Book Your Flights Early
Now for the exciting part - snapping up the travel deals! The oft-repeated advice is to book flights two to three months before departure dates, which make January and February optimal months for the upcoming 11.11 sale. Don’t limit your options, however - some airlines do offer sales on tickets closer to that to fill up impending flights, so keep your eyes peeled!
If you’ve decided on a multi-city trip, some airlines also offer incentives for booking all your flights with them. CheapTickets.hk has these cheap flight deals, so don’t forget to select “Multiple Destinations” on the site to see what we’ve in store!
4. Don’t Forget Your Accommodation
Once your flights are secured, the next step is finding a place to stay. What you’re looking for depends on the trip you have planned - an urban excursion calls for a space that’s nestled in the city centre, while cities with pockets of places to see may require multiple bookings in different locations. Do your research beforehand to avoid wasting time getting from one place to another, only to find yourself tracking back to square one the day after.
Do note that booking a hotel with us along with your flight will yield sizable discounts, so stick around after you’ve gotten your flights!
5. Change Currency - Or Go Cashless! (include Emergency Money)
The next part of booking your perfect holiday used to be pretty straightforward - a trip to the money changer with a wad of cash. However, the value you got from your hard-earned money depended largely on the whims of your bank or money changer of choice.
Enter the world of mobile banking, where your currency is truly yours. Mobile-based banking services like Revolut, have sprung up and given traditional currency exchange options a run for their money. With their debit cards, you can make cashless purchases around the world without an unwieldy stack of cash on hand - a big up on safety and value!
6. Pack Accordingly, and then Pack These
During your research, you may have gotten a clearer idea of what the weather will be like during your period of travel. If not, now is the time to check that out! If you’re looking to venture into winters, pack heavy - you wouldn’t want to be caught out in the cold without a good puffer jacket. Pro tip: down jackets are very portable, so bring those along for that extra layer of protection!
Once you’re done packing what you have and buying the rest, remember to have these essential items with you:
• Two travel locks (these are flimsier than you think - I once had one bent out of shape by an overly enthusiastic freight officer);
• A water bottle (empty them before entering customs, and fill them up before your flight)
• A neck pillow (invest in these - they are must-haves for long-haul flights); and
• A portable charger (did you really catch that sunset if your phone’s battery is flat and you didn’t take a picture?). Don’t forget your USB cable!
7. Take Out Travel Insurance
A lot can happen during a holiday - flight delays, stolen items, or accidental scuffs. Even if unforeseen circumstances rain on your holiday parade, making sure you’re insured will keep the inconveniences to a minimum. The best part? It’s really not that expensive, and the peace of mind that comes with it will make any trip better.
One often-overlooked hiccup that threatens to derail a well-planned holiday actually happens before the trip even begins - the last-minute flight disruption. In certain continents, airlines are obliged to compensate long flight delays, but claiming them can be a hassle. Enter AirHelp - a service that does all the heavy lifting for you. Seeking out compensation due from flight delays and cancellations, missed connections, and luggage issues, you can rest assured that every cloud will come with a silver lining.
8. Suss Out Every Means of Travel Possible
Public transport systems and budget travellers have had a love-hate relationship - affordable transport keeps costs down, but figuring their systems out could leave you lost and confused (figuratively and literally). Technology today however has eased the pain a little, with apps like Google Maps, CityMapper and Moovit leading the chase towards easy public transport uptake. Take your pick, and remember to look for offline map options in the event your data plan chokes up.
The age-old adage of staying away from taxis also no longer applies - ride-sharing and ride-hailing services are popping up almost as quickly as mobile banks, bridging convenience and cost-friendliness during your next trip. If you’re using a ride-hailing app for the first time, a discount code for new users is usually one Google search away. With luck, you might even score a free ride!
9. Are Your Attractions Ticketed?
Your next big destination probably has a crown jewel of sorts that you’re itching to visit. You’re not alone, but you can be the first few through the gates with some proper planning. City attractions usually have avenues for visitors to purchase tickets online, which thins the on-site queues. Track these down and you might find packages and discounts on the cheap, especially during off-peak travel days.
Some big cities have taken it upon themselves to streamline this process even further with all-in-one passes that allow for free entry to major attractions within the city. Feel free to check these out, but remember that these don’t come cheap (a 2-day London Pass, for instance, is a hefty £99) and you might be better off buying tickets individually.
10. Get Vaccinated, and Get Healthy
The next essential to book is your doctor’s appointment. Influenza strains change year on year, and a vaccination can save you plenty of trouble should the viruses come knocking. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides a comprehensive heat map of diseases currently rampant around the world, which will give you a better idea of what to expect and protect against.
Some other health bugbears cannot be prevented with a simple jab, so prepare your mind and body! Pack your vitamins, eat well, and get plenty of sleep in the days leading up to your departure.
11. Throw Everything Out of the Window
When you’ve finally gotten everything sorted and take that first step into your flight, don’t forget to let loose and have fun, even if not everything goes to plan. Found something you want to try? Go for it - the memories we don’t expect often linger the longest. Don’t let your plan shackle you from your dreams!
Are you all pumped up for the trip of your lifetime during 11.11? We’re stoked as well, as we’ve plenty of offers and deals to share. Subscribe to our mailing lists and set your reminders - your 11.11 is set to become even better with us!