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