Fancy saving a bunch of money on your travel? Of course you do.
Heed the lessons learned by Ruby Talia, 25, a mum-of-two who’s found out a major secret for cheap adventuring: becoming a travel agent.
Thanks to her new role and some savvy hacks, Ruby, from Southampton, says she has saved over £20,000.
Ruby, who shares her travel bargains on Instagram, has landed deals including a corner suite at the Radisson Blu Mercer Street for £56.86 instead of the usual rate of over £500, a holiday to Portugal for £1,624 instead of £3,443, and a stay at the W in London for £124 instead of £415.
‘As a young mum to two children, I really wanted to continue travelling and give my children the best adventures abroad and here in the UK,’ Ruby told money-saving community LatestDeals.co.uk.
‘I have always been interested in travelling more for less and I’m known amongst my friendship group for bagging amazing perks when travelling.
‘I was once lucky enough to receive a free business class upgrade on a return trip to Uganda!
‘I was applying for university at the time and my tutors said I would be able to talk myself into Oxbridge with my persuasive skills – my teacher had to stay in economy though, I wasn’t quite good enough at talking to get us all past the curtain!
‘I have always been travel-savvy and enjoyed some amazing trips around the world.
‘I didn’t see why this should change once having children, but we all know how expensive it is once they turn two and have to pay full price!
‘Becoming a “teen mum” lots of people would say things like “well you won’t be able to go on all of those holidays anymore”, which couldn’t be further from the truth.
‘I have travelled more since having children than ever before thanks to my top tips.
‘Last year in total I saved £9,121 and that was just for travel between June and December.
‘Since I first really travelled savvy and got a free upgrade on my flight to Uganda I would say I’ve made well over £20,000 in savings.’
Ahead, Ruby shares her top tips for nabbing a travel bargain.
If you don’t ask, you don’t get
Get comfortable with asking for things.
‘Confidence is key,’ says Ruby. ‘Always, always ask if you can enhance your experience. Sometimes you just might get lucky!
‘Remember to smile and be courteous, and treat all people how you would wish to be treated, at all times, not just when travelling!’
Become a travel agent
Ruby’s top tip? Work in the travel industry.
‘If you have a passion for travel, become a travel agent,’ she suggests. ‘Since becoming an independent travel agent, my travel experiences have been second to none.
‘I once checked into a hotel, and there was a travel agent in front of me also checking in and they received a free upgrade plus complimentary spa treatments.
‘As soon as we got to our room I Googled it and found it was pretty simple to become one myself, so I did just that.
‘I work alongside some amazing brands and hotels and I get to review their properties. Travel agents unlock the ability to earn commission and save money on ALL aspects of their travel.
‘I love to experience what luxury hotels bring to the market and I am currently creating my own little travel bible full of recommendations and experiences of my own.
‘You can do this too! If you enjoy learning about new destinations, planning trips for your friends and family and exploring new resorts then this could be the perfect opportunity for you.’
Always tell hotels if you’re celebrating a special occasion
‘Hotels pride themselves on guests celebrating important life events and milestones while staying with them,’ Ruby explains. ‘Many will want to make sure your stay is as memorable as possible.
‘I recently stayed at the W in London for my birthday and it’s safe to say I was absolutely spoiled by the team there! I’d highly recommend their hotel for any adult celebrations.’
Don’t go too wild and start faking birthdays, but if you are on holiday for your anniversary or another special event, make sure to mention it to staff.
Collect air miles
Don’t dismiss the worth of air miles. Make sure you’re keeping track.
‘Avios are redeemable with lots of major credit card companies,’ says Ruby. ‘Your air miles can then be used to purchase or go towards flights.
‘They can also be used to upgrade economy tickets to a higher cabin class. I pay for all of my food shops on my credit card, pay it off in full at the end of every month and get avios in return!
‘It’s a great way to travel smarter, but only do so if you can guarantee you will pay the balance each month.’
Sign up to loyalty schemes
Try creating an email account just for this, to avoid clogging up your normal inbox with newsletters from airlines.
It’s well worth signing up – lots of chains will offer rewards.
Always look for promotions
Ruby says: ‘Always look out for promotions! Hotel chains and booking sites will offer their own sales throughout the year that are specific and unique to them.
‘My favourite promotion is one that Hotels.com ran in 2021. I was able to book a corner suite at the Radisson Blu Mercer Street for £55.31 instead of the usual rate of over £500.’
Look out for cheaper dates
Choose your travel times wisely.
‘The obvious one is that if you can avoid travelling during peak times such as school holidays, then do,’ says Ruby. ‘But, this doesn’t work for everyone.
‘So if you are limited to dates when you can travel, fear not – there are still ways that you can travel more for less!
‘For example, when booking lodge breaks and staycations, it is often cheaper to stay Monday to Friday (four nights) than it is to do a weekend Friday to Sunday (three nights).
‘Last month I took my children to stay in a hot tub lodge Monday to Friday and we saved £300! I paid £280 instead of £549.’
If you want more tips and tricks on saving money, as well as chat about cash and alerts on deals and discounts, join our Facebook Group, Money Pot.