With winter coming to an end, many of us are starting to plan end-of-year getaways.
Be it the traditional trip with the family after Christmas or something more romantic with that special someone, millions of Australians will hit the road this summer.
Tourism Research Australia data shows that, as a nation, we take 38 million domestic holidays every year, providing a major boost to the local economy.
So, if you’re planning on a trip soon, read on for the best tips and tricks that will stretch your pennies that little bit further.
Griffith Institute of Tourism senior lecturer Dr Sarah Gardiner advised that in addition to travelling outside of expensive peak seasons, booking early or late flights – well outside of business hours – would dodge times of high demands for interstate corporate travel.
Wotif travel expert Amanda Behre said travelling over the “shoulder months” — either tail end of peak travel times — often offers the best of both worlds.
“The weather is still warm enough, while hotel availability is usually more flexible,” she told The New Daily.
“This summer, travel in February, post school holidays.
“The predicted average daily rate for the Gold Coast is 15 per cent lower in February compared to January.”
Skyscanner Australia’s Emily Callahan said May and November tend to be the cheapest months to travel, with savings of up to 10 per cent, while December is about 25 per cent more expensive.
2. Avoid major cities
NRMA general manager for travel Michael Betteridge said beachgoers could save money by travelling further away from capital cities along the coast.
He said another option was to travel inland, away from the crowds, to Australia’s more mountainous regions such as the Snowy Mountains.
Wotif’s Ms Behre recommended Port Macquarie (average price $208 per night), Burleigh Heads (average price $218 per night) and Warrnambool (average price $204 per night) as this summer’s best “value for money” destinations from December to January.
University of Queensland’s Karen Hofman, tourism lecturer and former Flight Centre Travel agent of 12 years, said to stay in towns slightly outside of the city destination to save on accommodation.
3. Do your research
“Fair comparison websites are a very competitive space,” Mr Betteridge said.
“Do the research and compare a few of these sites, before finalising the booking directly with the provider.”
But don’t ditch your travel agent just yet.
University of Technology Sydney’s David Beirman, a senior lecturer in tourism management, said that a good travel agent would know destinations like the back of their hand.
Mr Beriman added that travel agents could sometimes find a cheaper, more personalised package deal than those available online.
4. Save on fuel costs
Ms Hofman warned never to stop at the first service station when entering a town as it will “always be the most expensive”.
Mr Betteridge told The New Daily that petrol is the third-largest expenditure for Aussies travelling within Australia, behind accommodation and dining.
He suggested using a fuel app to track the nearest service stations and their prices in real time.
Cheapflights Australia regional sales manager Nathan Graham told The New Daily the ‘sweet spot’ for booking interstate flights is about three months in advance and no later than one month before travel.
“If you wait until one week before travelling to book or plan too far in advance and book six plus months out, then you could end up paying up to 21 per cent more,” Mr Graham said.
Flight Centre Travel Group head of leisure travel Tom Walley said holidaymakers were likely to maximise savings by booking 21 days or more prior to intended departure dates.
Griffith University’s Dr Gardiner told The New Daily that many discount offers feature in email subscriptions, at websites such as Flight Centre or Hello World.
She suggested loyalty memberships as another way to keep a step ahead of the pack.