We recently went to Flight Centre's World Travel Expo in Sydney. We were like 2 kids in a candy store! The centre was packed with stalls and people, all looking for the best travel deals! They had everything there - airlines, cruise liners, tourism boards, tour operators and plenty of flight centre staff to put it all together for you. Our aim was to book a great deal for a Japan trip in September 2018, and boy did we score big! Half price airfares, 15% off an Intrepid Tour and 20% off our Urban Adventures day tours. So now that we've tried and tested the big day out, here's some insider tips to getting the best deals at a travel expo.
8 Ways To Get The Best Deals At A Travel Expo
1. Talk To People
Everyone is at these events for one reason - the love of travel! Some people may never have travelled before, some may have travelled extensively! Get chatting with people around you and share the wanderlust vibes. You may be able to help someone, or inspire them. Someone else may have some insider goss that will take your plans to the next level. We had 2 people recommend downloading the Google Translate app for Japan as the new video feature helps with menus, maps, tickets etc. This will make our trip so much smoother and interesting.
2. Enter As Many Competitions As Possible
There's so many freebies at these events, get your cheap-skate shoes on and go for them! Most competitions and giveaways are totally free to enter with only a quick entry form to fill in. Why not? This is the easiest way to score the best deals at a travel expo.
3. Take A Backpack With Water & Snacks
We didn't and I wish we had've. Tote bags were handed out from various stalls, which was great! But we ended up picking up so many catalogues that we were struggling by the end of the day. There was one cafe inside, with the food being reasonable priced and good variety, but the water bottles were $4.50 each! We bought one each but it wasn't enough. Being there for a full day, meant a lot of walking, talking and thinking. I was so pooped and dehydrated by the time we got back to the car. So bring a backpack or a comfortable large tote, with a water bottle and snacks. You want to be in tip-top (mind and body) shape to be booking the best travel deals.
4. Don't Be Afraid To Ask
There's going to be plenty of the best deals at a travel expo, that aren't on the huge banners and pamphlets. Don't be afraid to ask the staff if there's anything better they can do on a price. Are there any deals they can put together if you want to book X, Y & Z?
Urban Adventures had 20% off their tours for the month following the expo and we only found out because we asked.
5. Double Check Your Spending Limit
Before you head on into the expo, make sure to check how much you can actually afford to spend on the day. This also includes checking the limit of a credit card or daily limit on bank accounts. It's fun getting caught up in the excitement and being spontaneous, but you want it all to be without any worries.
We booked one half of our trip with Curtis' credit card, then it wouldn't go through when booking the flights. It was simply more than the daily limit for the card. But have no fear, my credit card was more than happy to get some exercise.
6. Double Check Your Availability
Another must-do-before-you-go tip is checking your available dates. Making sure you have a good idea of a time period you'd like to book deals for. Are there weddings, birthdays, big events coming up? Do you only get a certain amount of time off work a year? Have you accrued enough holiday pay to take paid leave off? It can end up being a very expensive 'deal' if you then get home and realise Grandma's 90th birthday, your final exams and your cars rego payment is all in the same week that you just booked to be on a trek through Nepal. Most deals are non-refundable or have large cancellation fees.
7. Double Check Deals Before Booking
Getting caught up in the moment can leave you falling for 'deals' that may not actually be worth booking. We got very excited about booking a stay in Kuala Lumpar as Malaysia Airlines handed us a pamphlet for a 3 night stop over at a 4 star resort - for an GREAT price! We basically said yes on the spot and added it to our budget. One last check before heading to the booking booth revealed that it was actually cheaper online that day through HotelsCombined.com. So we decided to book it later on once the flights were paid off.
Double checking prices can also give you a gauge on just how much you will be saving by snapping up the limited time discounts. We scored our flights for half price, which is a fantastic deal.
8. Use The Day For Inspiration
There's so much to see and do that it may be too much pressure to book something on the day. That's ok! As we've discussed above, there's a lot to think about before spending thousands of dollars in one hit! Use everything you learn from the day and give yourself time to plan it out a bit better.
In our case, the companies we were looking at had extended deals that ran after the expo ended, to allow for this. Intrepid tours were 10% off for an extra week and Urban Adventures were 20% off for the rest of the month.
Don't stress, have fun! Get lost in a sea of airlines, tour companies, cruise liners and tourism boards. Enjoy the adventure!
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