work: How to save money - part 2
I was writing on how to save money...
[... Business travel is what generates good cash for airlines, hotels, car rentals etc. They know that the key element to business travel is flexibility and that’s what you’re really paying for.
However there are ways to save on your travel expenses!]...
- Book well in advance, the more availability on the flight the lower the fare
- Check with different airlines, their fares can differ widely. I know you like to earn points, thus always fly on the same airline, but airlines have the habit of changing their fare system form year to year now, according to changing markets and demands, so what can be a relatively cheap airline can get expensive and vice versa.
- Always check if there is a low-cost airline option (unless you're snobbish about them, which is understandable).
- If your travel dates don't allow for a low fare because of lack of minimum stay (what is better known as 'Sunday rule' requiring you to stay at least the Saturday night, or a minimum of days), then consider purchasing 'crossed tickest'.
Example: you need to travel from from MXP (Milan) to MAD (Madrid), or from MAN (Manchester) to FRA (Frankfurt). You need to leave in the morning, do business during the day, and return on the evening. A same day return ticket could cost you around Eur850. In this case you should purchase a return ticket from MXP to MAD (setting the return after the next Saturday) and a return ticket from MAD to MXP (again, setting the return after the next Saturday). Each ticket should cost you around Eur200 if booked reasonably in advace, and you only need to use the outbound portion of each ticket. At the end you should have saved more than 50%.
- If you are not absolutely certain about your travel dates, if plans could change, or if you're that kind of business traveller that often has to change travel plans, then pay a little more but do purchase a fare that allows for date changes with some sort of penalty (usually around $100/Eur50.
- Find youself a good travel agent and treat her/him well, be nice to them and don't get on their nevers... their help could prove priceless when having to assess your flight options.
- Don't purchase tickets on the internet unless it's a low-cost airline or you are absolutely sure that you are paying a reasonable fare. Reservation systems are not intelligent and us travel agents have a number of tricks to find availability on full flights, set up a waiting list to get it confirmed at the cheaper rate that would normally be available at the time, etc.
If you can't get what would sound to you as a decent fare, write me an email.
- According to the area you live in (Europe, North America, Asia, South America etc.) find a good chain offering 3/4* hotels, and try to stick to that. Because:
a) you know what you get, and minimum necessary standards are always guaranteed
b) you can usually earns some form of loyalty points, sometimes even on your frequent flyer card
In Europe for instance you can use NH Hotels or AccorHotels (Mercure, Novotel, Sofitel). Worldwide you can try Best Western or Utell. See the links section for web addresses.
- If you are travelling to a city where all hotels are full because of a congress or fair, then you have 3 options.
a) Pay a disgustingly high rate to stay in that city.
b) Look for a bed & brekfast; yes things might get a little cosy and you might lack the comfort of anonimity, but then again, give it a try, you might find a little friendliness not to be that bad after all. Or look for guesthouses in the outskirts, there are quite a few especially in Europe and North America (I believe they are called Inn over there).
c) Book in the neighbouring city. Example, you need to do business in CGN (Cologne), in Germany. Book a room in DUS (Dusseldorf). Get a flight to DUS, rent a car, do your stuff in CGN and go back and forth in your rented car. On the day you leave, check-out, take your car, drive to CGN airport, leave your car there, and flight back out of CGN (saves you having to go back to DUS).
- Always ask the hotel for their best fare and keep in mind the cancellation policy. If it's a special non refundable rate, then ask them for their best refundable rate, and assess the risk according to your plans and the possibility that these might change.
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