Summer sales are just starting to lure travellers all over the world. No matter where you look, you will find flyers, banners, and newsletters telling you about the biggest discounts and the best freebies. You may try hard to resist but very often, even the most resolute of us will fall prey to what we think is a ‘great deal’. But how do we sift the great deals from the gimmicks?
Travel service providers are constantly offering hot deals and bargains to customers. It is very easy to fall for them and end up choosing a less-than-sensible one. Check out the following on various online site, newspaper ads etc before you book a package.
These may come as part of a loyalty program or even as standalone deals. Read the terms and conditions well before you sign on the dotted line. At times, you may find that the discount applies only to the base amount. If you add taxes and additional fees to that discounted base amount, the amazing deal would not seem so great.
Vouchers and free shopping
There’s another kind of deal that includes free shopping worth a certain amount, which is offered on partner sites if a person purchases something from the travel service provider. But the truth is that you will often end up spending a bigger amount on those partner sites. Most portals do display the fine print prominently (it’s called fine print for a reason!).
Cashback schemes usually have a ‘maximum limit’ listed somewhere in the details. And this could be much lower than what you are eligible for. Another problem with such deals is that you often have to spend a stipulated sum in order to be eligible for them. Some cashback deals and discounts are definitely genuine, especially offered by airlines looking to fill up empty seats. The best way to weed out the genuine from the fake is to do your research well. Look up reviews, read the terms and conditions carefully, and ask legitimate questions.
Traps to avoid
There are certain terms that should alert you. These include:
.4-star or ‘similar’ hotel: You might be promised a room in a 3-star or 4-star hotel but then, you may eventually get something that is sub-standard, on the pretext of being ‘similar’. That is why you should always ask your agent for the names of the hotels in the list.
· Free stay: Your stay may be free, but is it free from taxes and other charges that you may have incurred? What about your meals? How accessible is the hotel and if it is far away, are you going to be charged for transportation costs? You need to find out all the hidden charges.
· Additional night free: Although this offer seems very tempting, it is usually not available when you book your hotel.
· Limited offers: These offers are usually valid for a short duration of time and normally during the non-peak season. If your dates stray from that timeframe, you may end up paying extra. So make sure to check out how long your offer will be valid.
· Free pick-up or sightseeing: Free pick-ups or sightseeing are usually done on a seat-in-coach basis, and these seats get full really quickly.
Read between the lines
Convert into EMIs: Almost every credit card is offering this benefit and you can easily convert sizeable travel bills into EMI schemes. While most companies claim that such payments are interest-free, you may have to make a massive down-payment and also pay a processing fee.