Travelling will cost you something, but it doesn’t have to cost you much. By looking out for travel deals, you can cut down the cost of your trip. In the first story of this series, we talked about ‘where to go‘; the exciting list of countries that are close to Nigeria and easily accessible by air or by road. In this second part of the series, The Village Pot shares 5 practical ways for Nigerians to travel the world on a budget by scoring great deals!
Buy tickets on discount websites
I have bought an uncountable number of tickets, local and international, on wakanow.com. Such discount ticket sites are often the first to learn about airline price slashes. Even after flights are sold out on airline websites, they may still be available through discount platforms. For bus tickets, oya.com.ng offers a vast selection of discount tickets.
2. Buy Package Deals
Package deals could offer three or four services for a combined discount. For instance, instead of paying separately for tickets, hotels, shuttle services and tourist activities, it is often cheaper to buy a package deal that combines two or more of these things. You can also save yourself the hassle of figuring things out yourself in a new place. You are likely to find exceptional deals on DealDey.com for popular destinations such as Banjul, Abu Dhabi, London, New York, Zanzibar and lots more.
3. Change your departure city
Flying out of Abuja but finding ridiculous tickets? Try Lagos or Port Harcourt. Sometimes, the difference in price is much more than the cost of flying to the alternative departure city, and could be well worth the savings. It is also a good idea to look beyond Nigeria when checking for alternative departure cities. Earlier in August 2016, round trip tickets from Lagos to Washington DC were almost 7,000 USD on one airline but 1,500 USD from Accra to Washington DC with regional tickets from Lagos to Accra costing only 130 USD. In this case, simply flying out from Accra instead of Lagos could save well over 5,000 USD.
4. Travel outside peak times
In the travel industry, there are peak times for everything. Summer months of June to August are often crammed with travellers and everything tends to be more expensive.
All through the year, tickets are most expensive between Fridays and Mondays. This is because of the high volume of travellers on those days. Tuesdays to Thursdays are usually the cheapest days of the week to fly. The same pattern applies to hotels. When searching for tickets online, be flexible with your dates; you just may find that tickets are much cheaper the day before or the day after you originally planned to travel.
The added benefit of travelling outside of peak times is that the tourist attractions are less crowded and vacations can feel more personalised if travelling as a couple or family.
5. Stick to airline alliances and earn miles for future travel
Miles, miles, miles! The beauty of the airline industry lies in the alliances that airlines belong to. The point of an alliance is very simple – partner with other airlines that fly to other corners of the world and expand the range of any single airline. Each time you fly, you earn a certain number of miles based on the cost of your ticket, the distance flown, the class of ticket (economy, business or first) and the rules of the airline. Often, miles from one airline are recognized by all other airlines in the same alliance. As you earn more miles, you can climb up the ‘elite status’ ladder of that airline (or alliance) and begin to earn perks such as extra baggage, priority boarding, lounge access and lots more. You can also purchase tickets and on-board goods with miles. After accumulating miles for ~2 years, I was able to pay for my return ticket from Lagos to Dar es Salaam in miles (excluding tax, which is always charged in money.)
Which means that if I fly with KLM (Sky Team Alliance) from Lagos to Amsterdam once and earn 100 miles (example figure), I can safely fly on Air France, Kenya Airways, Delta or any other airline in Sky Team and all the miles from all those airlines will be logged into my Flying Blue account (the name for the collective mileage system for these airlines) and my miles accumulate quickly compared to if they were not in alliance. Sometimes, one airline might not fly to a destination but another in its alliance will fly to that destination so miles become critical.
So, how do you score the best travel deals? Do you have any other tips on how to travel for cheap from Nigeria? The beautiful world is worth tasting and your experience is highly valued on this site.