20 Jul 2015
Forget personal trainers and personal shoppers – having the convenience, experience and knowledge of a personal travel manager, who can meet you locally where and when you want, is the new and rapidly growing trend in Australia.
According to the latest statistics from TravelManagers Australia, a leading network of personal travel managers (PTM), the concept of having your own PTM has grown significantly. Since the business was launched in 2005, they now have over 460 PTMs across all states and territories.
In this article, Louise McCarthy, PTM with over 25 years’ experience, shares her best money saving travel tips to ensure you receive the best value holiday for your needs.
When’s the ideal time to book my flights to get the best deal?
Without a doubt, the best time to book flights to Europe will be when the ‘early-bird’ fares are released. The timing of these varies each year but usually falls around late August to early September. Last year, this is also when early-bird fares to America were released.
If you’re looking to travel to Europe in their peak season, between June and August, then the early-bird fares offer the best value. Seats at the lowest rates are limited though, so prepare your dates in advance and be ready to book as soon as the seats are released.
‘Round the world’ airfares offer great value if you’re planning on flying to a number of countries and travelling in one direction around the world. However, if you’re only visiting two or three countries or backtracking in a direction that you have already travelled in, then there are other fare options that often work out better value.
How about the best time to book a cruise?
This is dependent upon a variety of factors. For instance, some cruises are best booked as soon as the fares are launched. Season launch fares can generally offer some of the best onboard credits available, which can be used to offset your onboard ship expenses such as shore excursions and drinks which may not be covered in your cruise fare. Generally, the longer the cruise, the higher the onboard credit.
If you wish to select a particular cabin, then you are best to book early to avoid disappointment; but if you are flexible with dates and the cabin type, then you can take advantage of any last minute special deals.
Should I wait and see if there is a ‘deal’ for Christmas?
The festive season is always the most popular time of the year to travel. Flights and accommodation are classed as ‘high season’ from around mid-December through to mid-January and this is reflected in higher prices and limited availability. If you can travel before high season, you will save significantly, but if not, then you are best to book as early as possible.
If you’re thinking of a white Christmas or ski holiday, there are some great early booking bonuses like ‘kids ski free’ or large discounts off resort accommodation.
For example, this year, Snowmass ski resort in Colorado was offering a fantastic 30% early-bird discount on a variety of resorts if booked by 30 June. Other major resorts like Whistler in Canada are currently offering large discounts if you book by 31 August. Japan is a fast growing ski destination and to secure accommodation there over the Christmas/New Year period, it’s best to book by April.
Why do single travellers pay more?
Typically, accommodation, cruises, or tours that include accommodation are priced based on two adults sharing a room, which means the fee for double occupancy still applies if there is only one person in the room.
However, many tour and cruise companies are now offering single supplement waivers for a range of products, so you won’t have to pay the hefty fee to have a room to yourself. This includes a number of European River cruises offered by some tour companies on selected departures and cabin categories.
Alternatively, many companies can ‘match you up’ with another single traveler of the same sex and of a similar age, allowing you to split the cost of your room.
I have travel insurance with my credit card – is this OK?
The answer to this is ‘maybe’. It’s very important to read the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) for travel insurance and make sure you understand what you are covered for in advance.
Areas to be aware of are the excess you will need to pay making a claim, check if you are covered for pre-existing medical conditions, and understand how to proceed if you have an emergency when you are away. Travel insurance is a must when you travel and making sure you have the right level of cover is essential.
What does a personal travel manager offer?
Thanks to their experience in the travel industry, a PTM can often suggest some wonderful, unique experiences that will immerse you in the heart of the destination.
Many build great relationships with their clients, go the extra mile to ensure that your trip is perfect and can assure you that you’re in great hands if something unexpected happens while you’re away.
In addition, they often have access to competitive rates thanks to agreements with the major travel providers.
Deciding on the right budget for your next holiday is not always easy. Your Financial Adviser can help you understand the options, avoid costly mistakes and make smart choices.
Article provided by Louise McCarthy, personal travel manager in NSW, with over 25 years’ experience arranging worldwide holiday adventures. As a PSK client, contact Louise and enjoy a special PSK discount for bookings over $5,000 (0423 933 282, firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.travelmanagers.com.au/louisemccarthy).