How to save money on travel: flights, train tickets, bus travel, as well as how to pack for a flight, the best ways to search for a flight, and more
The internet seems to be filled with people showcasing their latest travel adventure, bargain flight, life-changing trip, or other miraculous discovery. How do these people do it? How do they know they’ve got the best deal, happy knowing there’s no way they’ve missed out on something better? We’re here to show you. Make your trips cheaper, less stressful, more satisfying and more fun with our travel hack guide.
The travel hack everyone should know: Hidden Cities
Hidden Cities ticketing is a great place to start. So what is it, and how does it work?
Essentially, airlines are pretty powerful. They can charge high prices, particularly for non-stop flights, and especially on popular routes or where that particular airline has a hub. This means, as a customer, you’re pretty much stuck paying whatever they ask, right?
Not exactly. Let’s use an example. Let’s say you want to fly from Luxembourg to Lisbon. The direct flight, due to its popularity, costs €77. That’s probably not what it actually costs, but it’s what the airline is choosing to charge. How do you know that?
Well, if you book a flight from Luxembourg to Faro that happens to stop in Lisbon then that trip, even with the extra flight, only costs €48. So to save money, all you have to do is book that route, and finish your journey in Lisbon without continuing to Faro. That’s what Hidden Cities is. Pretty neat, right?
There are a couple of things to bear in mind of course. The first is that you won’t be able to check in any hold luggage: that’ll be tagged with the final destination on the ticket, and end up there, but naturally you can still bring cabin bags. Also, if you need a visa for anywhere on your route, you’ll need to get one even if you don’t intend to travel there. Other than that, you’re free to go!
Airlines don’t really like customers doing this of course. How dare you get a flight for cheaper than what we say you have to pay! But at Kiwi.com, we’re offering you this travel hack because we believe you have the right to freedom of choice, and that can only be a good thing.
How to save (even more!) money on flight tickets
There are lots more things you can do to save money on flights. Some days are more popular than others — Fridays, for example, as people go away for the weekend — so booking your trip for a Tuesday, Wednesday or Saturday can produce cheaper results. Likewise, booking your flight for an unpopular time like early in the morning or after 8pm can also lower the cost. If you search with Kiwi.com, you can actually specify which hour of the day you’d like to travel at, meaning you can snap up the best deals.
If you’re just looking for a trip but you don’t mind where you go, you can search Kiwi.com Your City to Anywhere, which brings up a list of the cheapest destinations available from your location. You could be somewhere you’d never imagined, in a couple of days, for mere pennies!
If you love to travel spontaneously (or if, like this author, you have to be absolutely sure you have everything exactly where it should be at all times!), the Kiwi.com app is the tool for you. When you book, it sends your tickets and boarding passes straight to your mobile device, meaning they’re there and available at all times (even when you’re offline), giving you one less thing to worry about.
Kiwi.com can also send you price alerts to destinations of your choice and, by signing up to our newsletter, a regular selection of the best deals available, from all the travel providers in our world-leading database, you’ll never be short of travel ideas ever again, and you’ll always be sure they’re the best deals out there.
How to find the best multi-city flights: NOMAD
NOMAD is another feature only available on Kiwi.com. It takes the stress and hassle out of planning a multi-city trip by pretty much doing all the searching for you.
So how to find the best route for multiple stops? Well if you’ve ever planned a multi-stop trip before, you’ll know it can be tricky. Making sure all of your connections work, finding the cheapest prices, wondering if you’ve missed something better or more convenient, all the while double- and triple-checking that everything actually fits together.
NOMAD takes care of all of that. Just choose the cities you want to visit and how long you’d like to stay in each place, and NOMAD builds your itinerary for you.
You’ve still got all the flexibility you’d expect from Kiwi.com — it’s up to you if you want to fly, go by train or bus, or combine all three for example — but NOMAD explores every single possibility and re-orders your route to find the cheapest deal.
What’s more, because you’re booking your whole trip through Kiwi.com, you get every leg of every trip for one single price, on one single ticket, from one single click. How easy is that?!
How to find the best travel deals: Advanced Search Filters
No other travel company offers as many ways to customize your trip as Kiwi.com. Tailor every detail to suit you, while still knowing you’re getting the best price available.
For a start, our vast database of carriers means that if you don’t want to fly, now you don’t have to. You can deselect Flights and just search for Bus or Train routes. Or, if you fancy, you could do both, maybe traveling from, say, Ljubljana to Prague by train, taking your time and seeing the beautiful mountains of Austria and the forested Czech plains, before opting for speed and flying back once your trip is over. It’s completely up to you.
Even within those routes, you can choose who to travel with. Have a preferred airline or bus company? There’s a filter for that. Need to arrive or depart at a specific time of day? We can do that too. Is there a country you’d prefer not to include in your itinerary? We can filter it out. Want to take advantage of a cheap short-haul flight, but fancy the luxury of flying Business Class on the long-haul leg of your trip? Not a problem. You can combine different cabin classes into the same multi-leg trip.
You can also save money by booking a flight with a longer than usual layover. Sure, that two-hour stop looks convenient, but what if there’s a cheaper flight with a longer layover? Use that to your advantage! You might never have been to the place where you’re changing planes, and if you’ve got eight, twelve, 24 hours to kill, why not explore and give yourself a mini-adventure en route!
How to pack for a flight
Finally, let’s get down to the trip itself, and something that, if done right, can save you time, money and peace of mind: packing your bags.
Many low-cost carriers charge a lot of money for hold luggage, so many people choose to travel with cabin baggage only. This is all very well, but because of this airlines are now being stricter on space, meaning you have to maximize your traveling capacity.
First thing’s first: roll, don’t fold. Rolling your clothes allows them to fit in smaller spaces, into corners, into the folds and pockets of a rucksack. You can also roll socks or underwear into other items of clothing. Need to reduce even more? How about using those vacuum pack storage bags to make even more of the space you have? Otherwise, wear any clothes you can. Bulky coats and jumpers, get them on. Put the sandals in the bag and wear your shoes.
For important documents, have a folder on your mobile device into which you can scan or copy things to be available offline (or download the Kiwi.com app). This will keep everything in one place to flick through in a few seconds, giving you reassurance that you haven’t forgotten anything.
Keep everything you’ll need at the airport or on the flight easily accessible: usually this means electronic devices, chargers, and so forth… which are also the things that will need to come out of your bag at security. The same applies to liquids, which will need to be in a clear plastic bag, but maybe keep them in that bag in a separate compartment, ready to take out at a moment’s notice.
You’re allowed to take — and are encouraged to take — hygiene products such as hand sanitizer, wipes, a face mask and so forth on board with you. If you find yourself traveling during a health scare, these are essentials.
Speaking of liquids, buy a quality reusable bottle and fill it up with water at the airport. It’s free, it uses less plastic, and it’s important to stay hydrated.
Oh, and a final tip: if you’ve got space, pack a multiplug. There are very few electrical sockets in most airports, and if you can supply five power points for other people to use, you’ll be owed a coffee at least!
So there you have it!
We hope that these tips, tricks, tools and new ways to search will come in handy for your next trip, whenever that may be. Remember to always check Kiwi.com to make sure you’ve got the best possible travel deal available.