I was given a Jaktogo large pocketed travel jacket/bag for review. The idea is to allow you to save on travel by carrying more luggage on board the plane, while avoiding the hassle and expense of hold luggage. The jacket has 14 pockets of various sizes on the exterior and interior. Most of them are secured by velcro but there are some with zips. The Jaktogo folds into a bag with handles, making it easy to carry before and after wearing it to get through the boarding gate. However I was unable to work out how to do the jacket to bag conversion from the instructions. I’d advise that you to pay careful attention to how the bag is assembled when you first unwrap the Jaktogo.
Me wearing a Jaktogo
If you’re looking for cheap European flights and are open minded about your destination, Money Saving Expert’s Budget Airline Flight Checker is a great way to find what’s on offer. You enter your dates, departure airport, length of stay, maximum price, if you’e taking hold luggage, payment method and tick on the “I’ll go anywhere” box.
How good a deal you get when booking your hotel is partly down to luck, as room rates can vary a lot, even within a few minutes, due to dynamic hotel pricing. I was looking for a hotel in Edinburgh for the night of 27 February 2012. I wanted to stay somewhere I hadn’t stayed before, so I could write a hotel review.
As usual, I started my accommodation search on the HotelCombined price comparison site. One of the cheapest discount hotels coming up was the Point Hotel where a deluxe double room with a castle view including breakfast was priced at £34 on the Hotels.com site. I knew that TopCashBack were offering 10% cashback on bookings made on Hotels.com throught the link on their site. I reckoned that £30.60, after cashback, was a real bargain. I recommend that you should only use cashback sites once you’ve researched the lowest available prices (you can read more of my tips on using UK cashback sites).
I’ve recently seen two ways to save money on bookings. I recommend checking for the lowest accommodation prices on the HotelsCombined price comparison site and directly with the hotel before booking. However if Hotels.com are offering competitive prices at the hotel you want to book, then getting an additional 10% off the price is a great bonus.
- The UK cashback site, TopCashBack, was offering 10% cashback on bookings made with Hotels.com through the link on the TopCashBack site. The standard cashback is 8% but I have seen it as high as 12%. However you will have to wait for a few months to receive the cashback payment.
- You can get a 10% discount voucher if you like the Hotels.com UK page on Facebook. There are some exclusions in the T&Cs but the discount code worked in all the examples I tried.
I prefer to go for the straight discount applied to the price paid when booking, as you are never guaranteed to receive cashbacks.
I wondered if it would be possible to get a 20% double discount by booking through the link on TopCashBack and then using the 10% discount code generated on the Hotels.com UK Facebook page. However, it does say on the TopCashBack site that the use of any discount codes not generated by TopCashBack will void your eligibility to a cashback from them. It would appear that some other bargain hunters must’ve tried that ploy already.
Read my other money saving travel tips.
Update 22 February 2012 – The Facebook 10% discount code expired yesterday but keep a look out for new voucher codes. TopCashBack are currently offering the standard 8% cahback on Hotels.com bookings.
Update 12 March 2012 – I found March 10% discount code on the Hotels.com UK Facebook page.
Update 22 April 2012 – When I checked into the Premier Inn Edinburgh Princes St yesterday they told me it’s 30 minutes free WiFi per device per day and that you don’t need an access code to get the free access. Sure enough when I connected to the Premier Inn WiFi signal it took my to a sign up page where I had to give my name and email address and tick that I agreed to the T&Cs.
Premier Inn is now offering guests 30 minutes of free WiFi per day in all of their UK hotels. I phoned Premier Inn to ask if the 30 minutes free WiFi is per room or per guest and they told me it’s per guest and that guests will be given a code on check-in to redeem the free access. Premier Inn have also reduced the cost of WiFi for guests who need to spend more than 30 minutes online to £3 for 24 hours, £10 for one week, £20 for one month and £125 for 12 months.
Typical Premier Inn room
If you want to beat airline hand luggage restrictions, then wearing a Rufus Roo jacket could be the solution. While the six-pocket jacket isn’t going to win any fashion awards, the manufacturers say it can hold up to 10kg of luggage. Presently many airlines have a maximum size for hand luggage and a 1okg weight restriction (except easyJet who have no weight limit). If you want to take a bit more swag but not pay up for hold luggage, then pocket stuffing a Rufus Roo jacket could allow you to take more items for free.
Me taking a beach towel from a Rufus Roo jacket pocket
I stayed for one night at the Travelodge Edinburgh Learmonth in early December 2011 on a complimentary basis. I’ve stayed at this hotel in the past and reviewed the hotel in June 2009. The Travelodge UK budget hotel chain have improved their service to guests by offering free WiFi in their Bar Cafes. This is great news if, like me, you need to stay connected when you’re on the move.
The Bar Cafe at Travelodge Edinburgh Learmonth
There are £19 rooms on offer in Premier Inn Autumn 2011 Sale. The sale runs until Monday 26 September 2011 for stays between 23rd September 2011 – 29th February 2012 at selected hotels. I managed to book a couple of £19 rooms in a previous Premier Inn promotion, at Premier Inn Edinburgh Leith and Premier Inn Glenrothes. £19 is a really good price as the rooms are generally good quality.
Premier Inn Edinburgh Leith on the Forth Estuary
Click here to check availability of the £19 rooms in the Premier Inn sale.
LateRooms.com are currently running a free nights promotion in selected hotels and locations all over the world for bookings made during September 2011, for stays until the end of November 2011.
I checked out some of the UK hotels in the promotion and did find fair availability on the 3 nights for the price of 2 offer at several of the listed hotels. However some hotels exclude certain days of the week and dates. Being aware of promotions is one of Europe a la Carte’s money saving travel tips.
Click here to check out the LateRooms.com Free Nights promotion.
We’re stayed in Helensburgh on the west coast of Scotland on a three night budget Summer UK staycation at the end of July 2011. I managed to book a Travelodge room for £19 a night in early March 2011 by following one of my money saving travel tips of signing up to receive travel companies’ email alerts about promotions. This allowed me to quickly bag the bargain Travelodge rate. In this case, you could also follow another one of my tips and use a UK cashback site. If you book Travelodge UK rooms through TopCashBack you can receive a 1% cashback.
Helensburgh poster at Riverside Museum, Glasgow