Game-changing flight tips for smart business travellers

Whether you’re flying for business or pleasure, you don’t need to break the bank when booking your next transatlantic flight. As one travel blogger explains, there are ways to fly in style without forking out for a first-class ticket.

Game-changing flight tips for smart business travellers
Photo: Vicki Garside, founder of the travel blog MakeTimeToSeeTheWorld

Since founding travel blog MakeTimeToSeeTheWorld three years ago, Vicki Garside has amassed a huge following of intrepid but time-poor explorers. Like Vicki, many of her fans have full-time jobs and need to make the most of their time and their money.

The Local has teamed up with Icelandic low cost carrier WOW air to bring you Vicki’s best tips for travelling smart, so that the next flight you book keeps your bank account (and your CFO) happy.

Book your next flight with Iceland low cost carrier WOW air

Scoring extra value for money

It’s no secret that everyone loves a bargain so when it comes to travel why is it that so many of us expect and accept the bare minimum? Vicki says if you know the right places to look, you can score extra comfort while saving your pennies for the final destination.

“I typically run my fight searches on multiple comparison/aggregator websites such as SkyscannerKiwiCheapoair using a private window,” says the savvy travel blogger.

Photo: WOW Air/ Instagram

Fare comparison websites display flights from a variety of different airlines side-by-side, helping you to narrow down the route, travel time and the all-important cost factor and spot the best deals. But the experienced traveller doesn’t stop there.

“Once I have narrowed down a fare/route, I go direct to the airline’s website to see if I can get it cheaper. I then look to see if the airline has a price match guarantee and book with whichever is cheapest,” she explains.

Get more for less with WOW premium

Icelandic low cost carrier WOW air connects Europe to North America and Asia, so you can always get value for money on your transatlantic flights. With prices for upgrades to WOW premium coming in at under 200 euros, make sure to book your next flight directly on WOW air’s website.

Getting your hands on elusive upgrades

Photo: WOW Air/Instagram

Certain airlines auction off their pricier seats to customers who already have economy tickets on the same flight, a trick of the travel blogger trade that recently helped Vicki to stumble on gold. After bidding through an airline system two weeks before departure, her bid was unexpectedly accepted and she got the (for many) once-in-a-lifetime chance to fly in style.

From the complimentary lounge access to the incredible service, Vicki describes her first-class journey as her best ever flight experience.

“There was champagne on arrival, a huge comfortable seat which reclined into a fully flat bed, as well as beautiful food complete with table cloth, cutlery and paired wines. I can easily see why turning left when you step on the plane is just a magical experience,” she says.

Like Vicki, most travellers have to rely on sheer luck or superhuman skills of persuasion to land an upgrade but with Icelandic low cost carrier WOW air, you don’t need to have luck on your side. You can travel business class without the business class budget by choosing WOW premium, getting all the perks of an upgrade at minimum cost, including two checked bags, fast-tracked security, priority boarding, extra space and comfort, pre-bookable menu and no change fees.

Maximising space

Photo: Gaudilab/ Depositphotos

Utter the words ‘low cost carrier’ and you probably think of neck aches, long legs crammed into small spaces and contorting yourself into pretzel-like positions for a moment of relief. Nobody wants to fly across the world for a business meeting to find their entire body has seized up along the way!

The good news is that it doesn’t have to be like this.

You can now book WOW air’s premium or comfy seats and put this stress behind you. WOW comfy offers allocated seating and extra legroom and WOW premium takes this extra space to the next level with a generous baggage allowance (a combined checked and cabin allowance totalling a whopping 62 kg).

Hopping off the flight well-rested and ready to go straight into a meeting makes the upgrade instantly worth it.

Making the most of your time

While Vicki has an extensive list of travel essentials, she shares her top cabin necessities.

“I cannot travel without my Sennhesier Noise Cancelling Travel Headphones, my Smartphone (Google Pixel 2) which has an amazing camera, and a pashmina or scarf in case I get a little chilly or want to use it as a pillow to lean on or cover my head/face if on a budget airline or if I want to try and sleep”.

Get added comfort with WOW comfy

Make the most of rare uninterrupted time by taking your own customised inflight entertainment. Vicki recommends downloading all the TV series and movies you’ve been dying to watch ahead of time. And if you’re travelling for business, you could always get in a few hours of work preparing a presentation or finishing off a report.

“I also always have my laptop and portable USB hard drive with me for work purposes, that also doubles as a TV for watching movies and TV shows when I'm in need of a little down time,” says Vicky.

Booking a holiday inside a holiday

Photo: kavramm/ Depositphotos

What traveller doesn’t love experiencing new places and cultures? As an avid explorer, Vicki is no exception.

“I think adding a stop-over to a trip is not only a great way to see an extra destination on your journey, but also great value for your money — particularly when traveling very long distance and without strict time constraints,” says Vicki.

She meticulously plans her stopovers to take advantage of the short time period, seeing as many sights as possible. She has written a top list of things to do in Iceland including off the beaten path alternatives.

“I plan walking routes, pre-book tickets for attractions/tours, plus research where or what to eat to make the most of the time I have. It may seem like a lot of work, but research and planning really is the key to really maximizing your holiday/vacation plans,” she advises.

WOW air flights all stop at Reykjavik's Keflavik airport, so exploring Iceland just got a whole lot easier.

Whether you’re travelling for business or pleasure, after spending your stopover Reykjavik, soaking in thermal spas and taking in the spectacular Northern Lights, you will be refreshed and on top of your game when you reach your final destination.

Book your next trip with Icelandic low cost air carrier WOW air

This article was produced by The Local Creative Studio and sponsored by WOW air.




How a rental car shortage in Europe could scupper summer holiday plans

After long months of lockdowns and curfews Europeans are looking forward to jetting off for a bit of sun and sand -- only to find that their long awaited holiday plans go awry due to a shortage of rental cars.

How a rental car shortage in Europe could scupper summer holiday plans
Tourists wait outside of rental car agencies in Corsica. Photo: PASCAL POCHARD-CASABIANCA / AFP

In many areas popular with tourists cars are simply not available or subcompacts are going for a stiff €500 euros.

Car rental comparison websites show just how expensive renting a vehicle has become for tourists this summer.

According to Carigami, renting a car for a week this summer will set tourists back an average of 364 euros compared to 277 euros two years ago.

For Italy, the figure is 407 euros this summer compared to 250 euros in 2019. In Spain, the average cost has jumped to 263 euros from 185 euros.

According to another website, Liligo, daily rental costs have nearly doubled on the French island of Corsica. At the resort city of Palma on the Spanish island of Mallorca, rental prices have nearly tripled.

Today’s problem is a direct result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Faced with near absence of clients, selling off vehicles to raise cash made a lot of sense for car rental firms struggling to survive.

“Everyone drastically reduced their fleet,” said the head of Europcar, Caroline Parot.

Until the spring, most companies still had fleets roughly a third smaller than in 2019, she said.

Car rental firms are used to regularly selling their vehicles and replacing them, so rebuilding their inventory should not have been a problem.

Except the pandemic sent demand for consumer electronics surging, creating a shortage of semiconductors, or chips, that are used not only in computers but increasingly in cars.

“A key contributor to the challenge right now is the global chip shortage, which has impacted new vehicle availability across the industry at a time when demand is already high,” said a spokesman for Enterprise.

It said it was working to acquire new vehicles but that in the mean time it is shifting cars around in order to better meet demand.

No cars, try a van

“We’ve begun to warn people: if you want to come to Italy, which is finally reopening, plan and reserve ahead,” said the head of the association of Italian car rental firms, Massimiliano Archiapatti.

He said they were working hard to meet the surge in demand at vacation spots.

“But we’ve got two big islands that are major international tourism destinations,” he said, which makes it difficult to move cars around,
especially as the trip to Sardinia takes half a day.

“The ferries are already full with people bringing their cars,” he added.

“Given the law of supply and demand, there is a risk it will impact on prices,” Archiapatti said.

The increase in demand is also being seen for rentals between individuals.

GetAround, a web platform that organises such rentals, said it has seen “a sharp increases in searches and rentals” in European markets.

Since May more than 90 percent of cars available on the platform have been rented on weekends, and many have already been booked for much of the summer.

GetAround has used the surge in demand to expand the number of cities it serves.

For some, their arrival can’t come fast enough.

Bruno Riondet, a 51-year-old aeronautics technician, rents cars to attend matches of his favourite British football club, Brighton.

“Before, to rent a car I was paying between 25 and 30 euros per day. Today, it’s more than 90 euros, that’s three times more expensive,” he said.

In the United States, where prices shot higher during the spring, tourists visiting Hawaii turned to renting vans.

In France, there are still cars, according to Jean-Philippe Doyen, who handles shared mobility at the National Council of Automobile Professionals.

“Clients have a tendency to reserve at the last minute, even more so in the still somewhat uncertain situation,” he said.

They will often wait until just a few days before their trip, which means car rental firms don’t have a complete overview of upcoming demand, he added.

He said business is recovering but that revenue has yet to reach pre-pandemic levels as travel is not yet completely unfettered.

SEE ALSO: British drivers will no longer need an insurance ‘green card’ to visit Europe, EU rules