Travel writer Leah McLennan’s top ten tips on how to get the most value out of your break.
Before you jet off on your next holiday, consider these top ten tips…
1. Upgrade me
Some airlines have unusual ways that allow you to snare an upgrade.
Virgin Australia, for instance, has a request system where you can make an offer, of an amount, for the chance to upgrade to premium economy or business class.
Go to the UpgradeMe Premium Bid section of their site and check if your flight is eligible by entering your booking reference. If it is, put in the amount you’re willing to pay to upgrade, enter your payment card details to allow payment if your offer is successful (unsuccessful offers aren’t billed) and then you will be emailed about the success of your offer before your departure.
2. Nab the best seat
Before you choose your seat on the plane check out seatguru.com.
On the site you put in your flight details and it shows you a map of the plane with “good seats” shown in green and “bad seat” (the one down the back next to the toilet) in red.
3. Imitate a diplomat
If you’re travelling to Asia on business you can apply for a special card that allows you to use the fast-track entry and exit lanes at major airports in participating countries.
The APEC Business Travel Card (ABTC) also removes the need to individually apply for visas or entry permits, saving valuable time, and allows multiple entries into participating economies during the three years the card is valid.
4. Take the flexible fare
It may be worth paying more for the flexible fare if you think your flight plans might change. If you’re going for the cheapest fare check the fine detail when you book so you know how much a change of date or cancellation will cost you.
5. Don’t lose your bed
If you’re in a country where you don’t know the language make sure you pick up the hotel’s business card before stepping out. Showing the card to a taxi driver can also avoid confusion when communicating your hotel’s address.
6. Pick the free wifi
If you are undecided between two hotels go for the one with free internet access, this can save you a wad of money over several days.
7. Divide the suitcase
If you’re travelling with kids and you’re carrying their clothes in your suitcase use some zippered mesh inserts to separate the clothes. If you’re not travelling with kids you can use the inserts to divide your t-shirts, underwear and so on. When you get home they also make it much quicker to unpack.
8. Get a free upgrade
If you book your hotel through certain booking websites, such as luxury hotel booking site kiwicollection.com, you might score yourself a free upgrade.
Kiwicollection.com has a collection of hotels that carry a “free perk symbol”, which means that you’re likely to receive extras, such as complimentary upgrades (when available), free wifi, welcome gifts or early check-in and late check-out.
But before you book a hotel on a booking website make sure you check the hotel’s website and do a price comparison.
9. Don’t pay twice for travel insurance
Many credit cards offer complimentary travel insurance so before taking out insurance make sure that you don’t already have it for free.
10. Eat like a king (early)
Many fine dining restaurants throughout the world have an early bird menus, which offer excellent value.
The Rockpool in Sydney, for instance, currently has an early offer where diners arrive between 6pm and 6:30pm and stay for two hours. Two courses cost $95 per person, compared to the usual $145.