I decided I wanted to take the family on a luxury holiday to Malaysia in May, 2 Adults and 1 child (3yrs).
So following the principles of HUKD I did my homework looking for deals...
I wanted to travel on very specific dates, Fri night outbound returning Mon (Bank Holiday), giving me 9 nights in Kuala Lumpur and Penang taking only 5 days off work.
I checked out lots of 'Special Offers' which were not so special - flights of their choosing, hotel's of their choice...
I got 5/6 quotes from online Travel Agents, went into and phoned several Travel Agencies checking out Special Deals but the best I could get was in excess of £2450 and that wasn't even with the outbound flight I wanted and 4* Hotels...
This is how I booked a holiday with the flights of MY choice and accommodation of MY choosing.
1. Book in Advance - in my case 8 weeks in Advance - much less than this and flight availability will be a problem.
2. Decide when YOU want to Travel out and when YOU want to return
3. Check Flight availability and price - lots of websites do this, Opodo, Ebookers, lastminute etc
I found http://www.airline-network.co.uk/
gave me the best online price
2nd best strangely enough was the actual airline http://www.malaysiaairlines.com/uk/main.html
4. Check out Hotel's at your destination - there are lots of websites with Hotel reviews, price info. including 1st child under 12 free and advice - shortlist 4 or 5.
Now armed with the relevant flight and hotel info. pick up the phone.
I called the company who had given me the best online price for Airfare - Airline-network
I told them I wanted to go to Malaysia
They asked if I knew when I wanted to go and was I flexible with my dates (flexible means they can sell you the ticket with the highest margin!)
I told them the exact dates and times of the flights I wanted
'Oh, you've done your research Sir...'
So she priced the flights I wanted, they were cheaper than their own best online price quoted, which were already the cheapest...
Next Hotels, she suggested a couple of 4* Hotels and gave prices - they charged for the child. I asked about the one's I wanted (From my research I knew they would not charge for the 3yr old) my one's were 5* and they ended up being cheaper!
After 30 minutes going through all my requirements and choices, first total package price quoted £2142, I asked if she could do better? She said she would double check and call me back, 30 minutes later she called me back and offered me £2070 for the deal. I said £2000 and I will book right now! She needed to check with her supervisor, on hold for 30 seconds, Yes Sir if you book right now we can do that.
Took me about 6 hours online/phone/email quotes/research and 1 trip along the High St into three Travel Agencies...
This saved me over £450 than the original best online / phone / email deal, my exact flights and better hotels for 9 nights in Malaysia!
I hope this helps someone :-)