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HindustanTimes Mon,29 Dec 2014

Plan your holidays early and spend less

Vivina Vishwanathan, Hindustan Times   January 25, 2014
First Published: 00:28 IST(25/1/2014) | Last Updated: 00:31 IST(25/1/2014)

One of the things to do when you get your New Year’s calendar is to quickly look at the list of holidays, which ones fall on working days, and which can be converted into long weekends. In 2014, there are more than 10 such holidays — ample reason to plan your travel now. So plan early and save money.

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A look at 10 major travel portals and companies to pick popular three-four days getaways. The participants include: Cleartrip.com, Cox and Kings, Expedia, Ezeego.com, Findmystay.com, HolidayIQ, Makemytrip.com, Thomas Cook, Wego.com and Yatra.com.

Early bird gets the deal
If you plan your holiday in advance, you get the best picks.

“Booking early ensures optimal value for our customers by leveraging the supply rich inventory, as also early bird and advance purchase airfare deals and hotel stays,” says Shibani Phadkar, senior vice-president, Thomas Cook (India).

Accommodation is usually the most expensive part of a short holiday. Booking early brings down this cost, and ensures availability.

“Booking early could also help you find a great deal in a luxury property at lower rates. You can also avail discounts on sightseeing,” says Mohit Gupta, chief business officer, holidays, MakeMyTrip.

Another reason why you should act fast is that more people travel during short holidays.

“Data from 2011 to 2013 on HolidayIQ.com shows that in 2013, the average trip length came down to 2.8 days, the average length of a long weekend (it was 3.6 days in 2011 and 3 days in 2012),” says Hari Nair, founder and CEO, HolidayIQ.

“If you plan early, you can budget your trip better because you get to compare, negotiate and choose from among multiple options available,” says Karan Anand, head, relationships, Cox and Kings.

When loyalty counts
If you are a regular traveller and are particular about a certain hotel brand, you can cash in on the loyalty programme.  “Early booking discounts on rooms are particularly helpful during peak holiday times,” says Jackson Fernandez, managing director, Wego, India.

Fancy flights
If you plan to travel by flight, then nothing can beat advance planning to save money.

“Airlines on an average fill 30-35% of their flights 30 days and more in advance. Booking as early as 90 days in advance could mean that one pays just half of what it would cost if one were to book 3-7 days in advance of travel,” says Noel Swain, executive vice-president, supplier relations, Cleartrip.com.

Before booking hotels or air tickets, check major portals for the best deals. Airlines recently reduced fares by as much as 50%.


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