Travel Deals: Return Flights to Florida

Over @ HolidayPirates I found an amazing deal for cheap return flights to Florida, flying from East Midlands, Birmingham and even Manchester!

Example:

flying from Manchester on 2nd September – 16th September 2014 for £258.98, so you will get a very nice 14 days over in the sunny state.  There are also 10 and 11 Night trips available if you can travel tomorrow at just £268.98 return and various other cheap options for a little later on in September too.

 

Get it while it’s hot – http://www.holidaypirates.com/flights/cheap-flights-to-florida-this-summer-from-just-gbp-26898-return

Travel Deals: BA flights Gatwick to Alicante

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British Airways are offering flights from Gatwick Airport to Alicante Airport next summer holidays – 23 July to 06 August (14 nights) – £98 per person!!

Seems like a great bargain for air travel during the summer holidays, when prices tend to sky rocket.

Unlike low cost airlines like Ryanair, EasyJet, etc, British Airways have a 23kg Hold luggage allowance included in their price. Low cost airlines tend to whack all their extra charges to the price at the end, which could potentially make the overall price of the ticket more expensive!

Travelling the world: The 5 cheapest cities

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Anybody who likes to travel, or even travels for a living (lucky you!) might wonder, where the cheapest cities in the world are! Well your wait has paid off and here I present you the 5 cheapest cities in the world. Ok, they might not be the cities you would want to relocate in, but definitely worth a visit. Most of these cheap cities on the list are a result of a high poverty rate. This study takes into account the price of housing, cost of living, food and entertainment and leisure.

  1. Harare, Zimbabwe.

    Harare is the largest city and the capital of Zimbabwe. The poverty rate here is quite high, but the prices of pretty much everything else is very very cheap. It is the commercial trading centre for tobacco, cotton, corn and citrus. It’s definitely the perfect destination if you are planning to buy tobacco! Although a cheap city it is definitely not an ugly one!

    Harare, Zimbabwe damien farrell

    Harare, Zimbabwe ©Damien_Farrell (flickr)

  2. Tianjin, China

    Tianjin in China is the sixth largest city in the country. Tianjin boast with one of the highest rates of development in the world and is also important, because of its nearby port. Hands down the biggest advantage of this cheap city is its proximity and close connection to Beijing.

    Tianjin, China

    Tianjin, China ©kilroy238 (flickr)

  3. Sana’a, Yemen

    Sana’a is the capital of Yemen, and has been named “Cultural Capital of the Arab World” by the UNESCO in 2004. Both , housing cost and living cost are very cheap, despite that it is a very charming Arab city. Sana’a boasts a lot of beautiful mosques and even has its own university.

    Sana'a, Yemen

    Sana'a, Yemen ©mcmay (flickr)

  4. Buenos Aires, Argentina

    Buenos Aires, the capital city of Argentina and you might be surprised it is on the list of cheapest cities in the world! In fact, it can be a perfect destination for a vacation if you don’t have a lot of money to spend. Buenos Aires is also a city with many attractions (touristy and non-touristy!)

    Buenos Aires, Argentina

    Buenos Aires, Argentina

  5. Thimphu, Bhutan

    The last city on this top 5 list of cheapest cities in the world ist Thimphu in Buthan – The Kingdom of Buthan as its official name is, is a country in the Himalayas between Tibet and India. Thimphu is a gallery of traditional Bhutanese art, architecture, culture, and tradition and above all still so ethnic and pure.

    Thimphu, Bhutan

    Thimphu, Bhutan ©rapidtravelchai (flickr)

Flying Low-Cost airlines … still a bargain?

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I really do love traveling, but have never been a fan of low-cost airlines… simply because I always had the impression that there would be no Service and everything you did expect from a flight was extra and quite expensive.

low-cost airlinesI then discovered SkyEurope which was the only flight between Manchester and Vienna (well technically Bratislava- but its only 40mins away!) . Sadly this Low-Cost Airline no long exist! But i have to admit that with the rise of low cost airlines the air travel market was disrupted, it broke the monopoly of traditional airlines and thanks to the stronger competition, airfares dropped in price. However, it’s not as straight forward as it sounds! While yes, you can make great bargains by flying cheaply with low cost airlines, you still need to be smart, flexible and have a hawk eye.

I recently needed to book a flight to Hamburg with Easyjet and found it wasn’t as straight forward and user friendly as expected. You can find discounted airfare rates, but you will have to be a seasoned traveller, to spot the tricks these low-cost airlines use.

Additional costs

low-cost airlinesSince 9/11 air travel in general has affected the travel market and all airlines in one way or another experienced increasing difficulties in maintaining their costs at a certain level. Thus many airlines filed for bankruptcy, many merged and lots of smaller ones vanished completely ( case in point SkyEurope). Low-cost airline found the changes t even more so difficult to sustain the costs and introduced additional costs in almost every aspect of air travel: Chose a seat, board first, extra baggage, food and drink, payment, etc.

If you found a great discounted airfare deal, think again and don’t let it get you excited just yet… You select your flight and then you get the first surprise: Insurance and the cost for check-in luggage has been automatically added to your airfare price. Fair enough, it does say on the website, that the additional cost as been added for “your convenience”… but why are they assuming I want this? Its not even displayed visibly, so that it is easily overlooked. Many people may be using the website for the first time or are in a rush and lack experience and so end up for a service they don’t need or want. If you do not want insurance or do not want to check in any luggage, don’t forget to untick them!

Tips:

  • No matter what … take your time to read the notes carefully and even take the time to read the T&C’s – you might need it at some point in your travel.
  • Even if you have found a really cheap flight with a low-cost airline, “compare” the price. Due to the deregulation and competition from low-cost airlines, major airlines will be forced to lower their prices on selected routes. There might also be an offer or sale on with a major airline, which could only be marginally more expensive but you get more Service from it!

handluggageHand luggage
Most passengers will have different sized hand luggage, as obviously they have been bought from different shops and so does not have a standard size. This is were the real challenge lies. Low-cost airlines apply their own luggage policies: 1 piece of hand luggage, while there are no weight limits, they need to be smaller than the standard sizes allowed on major airlines. Again this is something that is stated on their website. However not many people actually read the dimensions of the hand luggage, because why would you start measuring your hand luggage, that you have been using in the past and has always been ok? This seems to be some kind of trick from the low-cost airlines to make money. As most standard sized hand luggage will be to big to carry on, many passengers will be forced to check it in and pay the additional cost – and it doesn’t exactly come cheap!

Be a smart traveller and either buy a hand luggage according to the dimension stated on the website or pre-book check in luggage to save a a bit of money online!

credit cardsCredit card payment
Many airlines charge a small fee, if you are paying with a credit card. Swiss air for example have introduced a fee of £4,50 depending on which airport you are departing from. I wouldn’t say I agree with this fee, as it didn’t cost anything previously, but its minimal for what you are getting (Service, free check in luggage, Food & Drink!).

Different with a low-cost airline. You found a cheap airfare and have booked it, you click through to the payment page and ta-daaa: the “cheap” airfare just increased! It depends what payment card you are using, but it can cost you up to £10 to book the flight. It’s insane when you think you could get a single flight for £20 but have to pay credit card fees have the airfare price! Unfortunately most low-cost airlines don’t provide cheaper or free payment alternatives 🙁

Departure BoardI think low-cost airlines are very useful for travellers on a budget, who are not fussy and really don’t need anything else but a seat on a plane. But I strongly believe that any company, and this case low-cost airlines really should be more transparent about their costs. If they play fair in the long run customers will build more trust!

I have to say though, I do visit the websites of low-cost airlines every time I want to book a flight, but rarely ever follow through with a booking. Sometimes the price difference between a low-cost airline and a major airline is just too minimal to give up on luxuries like an in-flight meal, free check-in luggage and overall great service

Maybe its just the snob in me talking? Would love to read your thoughts in the comments…