The best Chelsea Dickenson vacation deals!

New research has found that despite the cost of living crisis, people are so keen on a holiday this year that they are cutting back on takeout, restaurant meals and new clothes in order to afford a little of Sun. So vacation expert Chelsea Dickenson is here with her proven hacks to get the best vacation deal.

Tips before booking:

  • Find your accommodation first – don’t let cheap flights distract you, an extra £40 on a flight is worth it if your accommodation is £300 cheaper for that period.

  • Be flexible on your dates and destination

  • Cheapest flights are midweek and early morning or late evening

  • Use data to know if you’re getting a good price – Kayak, Google Flights, and apps like Hopper will compile all the data to tell you if you’re getting a good price for the flight you’re looking for. Kayak and Hopper will even advise you if you should book now or wait a little longer!

  • Don’t worry too much about incognito mode – There’s very little evidence to show that browsing in “private mode” will get you a cheaper rate.

Hotel reservations only:

  • Stay Saturday to Monday – take advantage of great Sunday hotel prices.

  • Find the cheapest night for your bucket list hotel – Google Hotels will show you the cost per night for most hotels in their calendar.

  • Use Pruvo to book your hotel reservation – If you booked a room with free cancellation, Pruvo will track your reservation for you and email you if the price drops. This way you can book again for a cheaper price!

  • Request an upgrade – Email ahead and be nice, polite and tell them exactly what you want. If it’s a special occasion, mention it.

Long-haul flights

  • Check flights with stopover

  • Sign up for free cheap flight newsletters – Jack’s Flight Club and Secret Flying alert you when there’s an unreal deal to be had. Recently there were business class flights to North America for £500!

  • Check if you have airline miles – There are supermarkets that allow you to convert your reward points into airline miles. With Tesco you can turn every Clubcard point into 2.5 Virgin points, so £1.50 in Clubcard vouchers will earn you 375 Virgin points. With Nectar (Sainsburys), every 400 converted Nectar Points equals 250 Avios, and every 300 Avios equals 400 Nectar Points.

  • Earn miles from credit card spending

  • Try and get a free update! I asked my followers what worked for them and the list included: if you know someone who works for the airline, let them know you’re traveling; If it’s a special occasion like a birthday or your wedding, let the airline know. Be the first or very last to register; Travel alone ; Bring treats for the crew; Be kind!

Short haul flights

  • Know your baggage policies – some airlines allow you to bring one small carry-on suitcase and one small personal item, some only allow one small suitcase, and some only allow one small personal item.

  • Need a little extra luggage? Try a viral packaging hack! – Whether it’s stuffing pants into your neck pillow, using a duty-free bag, or packing extra clothes into an oversized bra, there are plenty of cheeky tricks to increase the amount of luggage hand you have. My best advice is to wear anything extra on your body – that means it won’t affect your weight restrictions!

  • Airline packages are not always good value for money.

  • Check business class – I once came home from Rome half way and the economy fares were £185 each. I checked business class for a laugh and they were…£150! Business class often includes 2 checked bags and so if you are checking a lot of bags it can sometimes pay off that way too.

Stays in the UK

  • Leave the destination search field empty. Try typing in “England” or “United Kingdom” and use the filters instead to find what suits your budget. My favorite is to find cheap places with a sea view and a hot tub – it’s possible!

  • Get your haggling! – Did you know that you can haggle on Airbnb? I’ve done this several times and it’s a great way to cut costs. It works best if you are staying longer than 5 days or if you are booking really last minute.

  • Use the deal sites – Travelzoo and Secret Escapes negotiate cheaper rates and so there are amazing value stays there. “I found a 2 night stay at this wonderful hotel on Travelzoo where you got a room upgrade and breakfast and it was £209 instead of £458”.

  • Don’t say no to hostels – Hostels have had a facelift in recent years – with plenty of boutique options to choose from! They are great for families where you can book private rooms for less than a hotel room for 2.

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