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Cheap tickets tricks for huge saving potential
May 19th, 2014 by elisa

Easyjet Flexifare screenshot

Easyjet Flexifare screenshot

Lowest fare guides and flexible dates options are really helpful in finding the lowest travel fares, but sometimes the cost of a flight or train when you want it is still too expensive.

Moneysavingexpert.com founder, Martin Lewis has just revealed a way to ‘trick’ Easyjet’s booking system to get the cheapest possible fare.

“The idea is to book a Flexifare on the same route at a less busy time, then switch to the dates you originally wanted. It’s not the easiest trick in the book, but if it works it could save £100s,” is says on the website.

It’s a bit of a risk as you need to know that your dates will still be available to switch to. The website provides a step by step guide on how to do this, which includes beginning a booking for 20 people on your desired flight to see if that many seats are available and therefore not likely to sell out so quickly.

One customer is quoted as saving £700 on flights to Lanzarote. The online posting said: “When we went on the Easyjet website the flights were over £1,500 including bags. We then booked the flexi flights, which were £848 – a saving of £700. A bit nerve-wracking for the 24 hours, but we know it works. There must be availability obviously on the dates you are changing to.”

A spokesperson for Easyjet said: “EasyJet’s aim is to provide easy and affordable fares for everyone which is why we provide a number of tools on our website to help customers identify the best flight for their budget.

“Our recently launched ‘low fare finder’ makes it easier than ever to find the lowest fares available on specific routes without the stress of needlessly changing dates and our Inspire Me tool enables customers to specify their budget and dates and sets out on a map where they can fly to for that budget.

“Flexifares are designed specifically for the business customer and offer the flexibility they require when travelling for business, however there is no guarantee of availability on alternative dates. Most of our passengers travelling during the peak summer understand that the earlier they book the cheaper the fare will be.”

Train fares are another contentious issue when it comes to the different prices for the same routes, often depending on whether you book early enough or use a rail card.

Tickets are grouped into three types: “Advance” for a specific train journey, “anytime” for any train on the route, and “off-peak” restricted to quieter times of travel.

“Anytime” tickets are usually most expensive because of their flexibility, but it can still seem too expensive when booking an “advance” or “off-peak” ticket, and this is where the money-saving trick comes in. If you are travelling on a popular and fairly lengthy journey, then it could be much cheaper to buy tickets for separate parts of the journey in a practice called “ticket splitting”.

For example, a one-way “advance” ticket from Oxford to Leeds will cost £90, calling at Birmingham New Street. However, a one-way “advance” ticket from Oxford to Birmingham New Street costs £33, and then from Birmingham New Street to Leeds another £49 giving a total fare of £82. This is a fairly sizeable percentage saving of the original cost, and can amount to much larger savings on other routes. National Rail allows ticket splitting (essentially travelling on the same train) as long as the train stops at the station you’re splitting the tickets for.

Another trick I found when trying to book an “anytime” ticket on thetrainline.com was that I still had to provisionally select a journey time to allow me to buy the ticket, but the price of the “anytime” ticket fluctuated depending on the time I was searching for. I selected a time later in the day to halve the price of the ticket at the time I was considering travelling, but could still use it at any point that day.

There are lots more possible money saving methods to cut the cost of travel. Let us know what your tips and tricks are in the comments section below.

 

 

The tipping taboo
Nov 5th, 2013 by elisa

Waiter picture by Flickr user Giorgio Montersino

Waiter picture by Flickr user Giorgio Montersino

Have you ever paid for a meal on holiday and left a tip to find that your waiter has given you an evil eye of doom, something to make you feel so tiny you’ve scuttled out of the restaurant with your tail between your legs? Alternatively, perhaps you’ve found that they have smiled like the proverbial Cheshire cat at your generosity and effusively waved you farewell as you’ve trotted out the door?

Either response can be a little embarrassing and make you wonder whether you have been stingy or over-generous with your tip. If you have felt this way, then you are not alone, with the majority of holidaymakers finding tipping awkward, embarrassing and confusing, according to recent research.

The survey, by ICE – International Currency, found that 39% of the 2,000 people asked, find tipping both awkward and embarrassing. 30% didn’t have a clue how much to tip, 14% didn’t event try to tip and a massive 43% didn’t allow for tipping when planning their holiday budget.

ICE head of online business Tom Johnson said: “Tipping etiquette seems to take many of us outside our comfort zone and while most respondents tend to use a 10% rule of thumb it was surprising to see that so many tip 5% or less.

“This is well below what’s expected in in some parts of the USA and Canada where tips can be in the region of 20%. That’s £200 out of a budget of £1,000, making it a serious expense.”

When it comes to generosity between the generations, it seems the biggest tippers are aged between 25 and 34, with the lowest tippers over the age of 60.

So, what do you think is an appropriate amount to tip when on holiday abroad? Do you have any advice, or tips for us?

High airport foreign exchange rates
Jan 9th, 2013 by elisa

Search for the best exchange rates - picture by Flickr user Images of Money

Search for the best exchange rates – picture by Flickr user Images of Money

A Sunday Times report found that customers are being charged up to 8% more in foreign exchange rates in airports than online. 

Companies offering ‘commission-free’ transactions are not necessarily any cheaper either. The increase in their prices are often made up through the rate they give. A customer changing £500 could be charged £40 more than on a more competitive online rate.

The issue is that when customers buy at an airport, they are forced to take the rate that they are given, as there is nowhere else to go. This ‘convenience’ is one of the reasons companies give for charging more. Other factors include higher rents for retail spaces at airports, as well as higher insurance, and the cost of transporting the money for the consumer’s convenience of buying at the airport.

The Financial Services Authority confirmed that is does not regulate foreign exchange rates. A spokesperson for the Office of Fair Trading said they had not ‘written off’ the issue, but companies had so far provided a good argument for the higher charges.

Martin Lewis, founder of the Moneysavingexpert.com, said: “We have a real problem with the lack of foreign exchange currency legislation. The advice is don’t just go and change at the airport. They can charge what they like.”

Advice to avoid the sting of higher charges would be to avoid buying at the airport, plan in advance and use an online comparison tool to get the best rate, such as moneysavingexpert.com’s online comparison tool.

Airlines no longer allowed to profit from card charges
Sep 3rd, 2012 by elisa

Credit card picture by Flickr User Images_of_Money

Credit card picture by Flickr User Images_of_Money

 

Following a final consultation this month, airlines will no longer be able to make a profit from processing card payments. This is a major breakthrough with regards to the ongoing concerns from consumers over excessive debit and credit card charges made by airlines.

Earlier in the year, airlines were forced to start advertising their payment charges as part of their headline flight prices following a ‘super-complaint’ by Which? that was enforced by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT).

“Traders will no longer be able to make a profit by charging the consumer for credit or debit card use above the amount it costs them to process that payment,” said consumer affairs minister Norman Lamb.

“These proposals will stop companies from adding on these excessive charges, and allow consumers to see a clearer and more transparent breakdown of what they are paying for.”

The exact date for the implementation of the new rules is yet to be decided, but is expected to be some time in early January.

Richard Lloyd, of Which?, said: “The government must ensure that all businesses only charge the genuine cost they incur for processing the payment and that they are upfront, and make this clear to consumers.

“We also want to see a robust enforcement regime in place, to make sure firms are held to account if they flout the ban.”

A report by OFT carried out last year found that airline passengers had spent a total of £300m on card surcharges in 2010.

 

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