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From best-value hotels to BA’s ‘twilight bag-drop’: Holiday hacks to assist lower costs – and stress 


In theory, a vacation is speculated to relieve stress.

To assist be certain yours does just that, we asked travel experts Nicky Kelvin, Head of The Points Guy UK (TPG UK), and Rhys Jones, from frequent flyer website headforpoints.com, for some handy holiday hacks to assist your next getaway run more easily – and for less money.

Scroll down for suggestions and tricks that include tips on how to lower your expenses on flights, hotels and airport parking, the advantages of British Airways’ ‘twilight bag-drop’ and more…

What’s the most effective time or day to book a flight?

It is often good to set alerts using tools corresponding to Google Flights with the intention to track price changes, said The Points Guy UK’s Nicky Kelvin

Kelvin said: ‘Generally, low-cost airlines will sell their least expensive seats first, so getting in early will secure you the most effective deals. Other airlines’ prices can fluctuate greatly all year long and it is usually good to set alerts using tools corresponding to Google Flights with the intention to track price changes. 

‘Unfortunately, in terms of booking your flight, there isn’t a “best” day of the week to book. Nonetheless, being flexible with the destination and the times you select to travel relatively than the times you select to book holidays is an amazing technique to find the most effective deals.’

Is it cheaper to fly to/from a regional airport

Cheaper business-class fares can be secured from airports such as Amsterdam (above), Oslo or Copenhagen - even taking into account the cost of reaching them

Cheaper business-class fares might be secured from airports corresponding to Amsterdam (above), Oslo or Copenhagen – even considering the price of reaching them

Kelvin said: ‘If you happen to know where you need to travel, you may want to ascertain different departure airports, especially starting your trip in mainland Europe from places corresponding to Amsterdam, Dublin, Paris, Oslo or Copenhagen, where long-haul business-class flights, for instance, might be astonishingly cheaper, even considering the prices of reaching that airport to start out your flight.’ 

Train vs plane for UK travel

Kelvin said: ‘We have tried and tested our justifiable share of routes for inter-UK travel, and have raced via plane and train concurrently to varied locations, including London to Leeds, and London to Scotland. 

‘Generally, flying will most frequently be faster when it comes to the actual predominant journey itself with a median cross-country flight often taking around 40 minutes to an hour, in comparison with travelling by rail, which could also be two to 4 hours or more depending on the route. 

‘Nonetheless, once considering the journey times to and from airports, which are inclined to be less central, and the time it takes to undergo the airport process, the train will likely edge it overall time-wise door to door. With each the aviation and railway industries currently facing delays, strikes and cancellations, it could sometimes be difficult for passengers to predict which mode shall be faster overall. 

‘If searching for the more cost effective travel option, train can be the more sensible choice, as there can be no must account for extra fees corresponding to an airport shuttle or cab, but using air miles on domestic flights can save lots of of kilos in times where money tickets for trains and planes are sky high.’

Hotel chains which might be good/good value?

Hotel chain Marriott Bonvoy is a great choice for collecting points and miles, said Kelvin

Hotel chain Marriott Bonvoy is an amazing selection for collecting points and miles, said Kelvin

Kelvin said: ‘For the UK points and miles collector, Marriott Bonvoy is a solid selection, with a bank card with plenty of advantages including earning six Marriott Bonvoy points per pound spent at Marriott properties and other advantages. In addition to this, the big selection of brands that sit under the Marriott portfolio and global coverage make this an amazing programme to earn points with. Brands include fun budget brands corresponding to Moxy, and go right as much as exciting luxury brands corresponding to St. Regis, Ritz-Carlton and W.’

Any reward schemes that you would be able to quickly enroll to that make a difference?

Kelvin said: ‘The train operator LNER runs a loyalty scheme that gives an easy cashback option of two per cent, which you possibly can spend on future train journeys giving a tangible profit on bookings. 

‘There are a wide selection of offers for on a regular basis spending for the larger loyalty programmes corresponding to British Airways Executive Club and Virgin Atlantic Flying Club. These programmes include lesser-known earning opportunities too, including collecting five Avios for each £1 you spend in Pret until December 22 and earning three Virgin Points per every £1 spent on train ticket purchases.’

Any European countries straight away that supply higher deals?

Kelvin said: ‘Using points and miles to countries that are inclined to be cheaper will deliver higher deals, especially on hotels. For instance, one can find points rates with the key hotel programmes far lower in cities corresponding to Budapest, or Bucharest. To destinations like these, there are also opportunities to earn double-tier points with British Airways Holidays by booking a five-night holiday that features flights.’

Airport parking

Some hotels - including Hilton - offer 'park and fly' rates, notes Jones

Some hotels – including Hilton – offer ‘park and fly’ rates, notes Jones

Kelvin said: ‘Travellers can lower your expenses by trying to find airport parking coupons and discounts on Google or using saver sites corresponding to Groupon.’

Jones added: ‘Check prices against some hotels’ “park and fly” rates corresponding to Hilton, Hilton Garden Inn and Thistle. It’s possible to secure a room either the night before departure or on return for little over the price of usual airport parking. This is especially handy for early morning departures and late arrivals home, taking the pressure off attending to the airport and allowing for the enjoyment of a Christmas drink on the best way home in the event you do not have to drive on arrival!’

Airport buses

Jones said: ‘If using airport hotels at Heathrow – it’s an excellent idea to familiarise yourself with each the Heathrow Hoppa timetable (the bus service connecting all terminals with local hotels) and costs (around £6pp each way) in addition to the local bus options, which might be loads cheaper. Family tickets can be found and you may save by booking your ticket using the net app. Hoppa Bus timetables are notoriously complicated to know, with many individuals being caught out as not all terminals/hotels are served by the Hoppa, so be certain you book properly. For more information and to download the app visit www.hotelhoppa.co.uk.’

British Airways’ twilight check-in

British Airways offers an overnight bag drop service that lets you drop your bags the day before

British Airways offers an overnight bag drop service that allows you to drop your bags the day before

Jones said: ‘If you happen to’ve got an early morning flight and are staying near Heathrow the night before, British Airways offers an overnight bag drop service that allows you to drop your bags the day before, providing you with precious beyond regular time to sleep and one less thing to fret about in your travel day.’

Changing flights and routes with British Airways

Jones said: ‘British Airways has announced that as a consequence of UK Border Force industrial motion, it’s allowing customers whose Heathrow/Gatwick inbound flight remains to be operating, the pliability to make voluntary changes via the customer-service engagement centres or via their travel agent. Any connecting BA flights will also be modified freed from charge subject to availability. Check together with your booking agent or on ba.com for more information.

‘If booked with BA on an economy-plus ticket (with a bag) – you may have the choice to alter your flight on the day, to the identical destination if seats can be found. If you happen to’re on a later flight, it’s price considering moving to an early flight to avoid the possibility of a last-minute cancellation.

‘If weather is bad, and changes likely, it’s price knowing what your re-route options are – an airline is commonly receptive to a passenger’s request in the event that they offer a preferred solution and can potentially avoid you being robotically rebooked onto something that does not work as well.’

Finally – watch out with those presents during festive travel

Jones said: ‘Travelling with gifts? Pack any precious, useful or delicate gifts in your carry-on luggage so you possibly can control them in any respect times. Baggage delays, whilst unusual, do occur – so doing so can avoid any disenchanted family or friends at Christmas!’

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