The Bargain Hunter: The thrill of getting the best deal

Not every person would take a two-day trip to the US but Fredrik Karlsson, IT Account Manager for Online Sales at Amadeus Scandinavia, likes nothing better than the thrill of traveling on an amazing deal. Not surprisingly, he turned out to be a true ‘Bargain Hunter’ in our What makes the Scandinavian travelers tick? report.

How do you find the best deals?

I love scouring the Internet; it’s a part-time hobby for me as I don’t care when or where I go. My girlfriend and I have our bucket list of places we want to go but for short city breaks, depending on the price, we are open to anything.  

Fredrik KarlssonWe tend to book 10 to 12 months in advance. I search for fun for low fares, say to my girlfriend ‘Hey, I just found a cheap ticket to X, do you want to come?.’ She rarely says ‘no’. So, we book and go.

For the accommodation, I often book it well in advance, monitor the price and when the flexible price reduces, I rebook it. Sixty to 90 days before the trip, if I find a good non-refundable price, I might book it and cancel the original reservation.

I try to fly with SAS or the Star Alliance as I am a SAS loyalty card member. I don’t care who I book but I like to get my extra perks like luggage etc. 

Do you have a tip on how to get the lowest price?

I try to mask myself as much as possible and to do everything incognito because some OTAs and meta-sites increase prices and use cookies to track you. If you are sitting in work, the price might be higher because they think you are a corporate traveler. With flights, it is difficult as once you are booked, you are booked and cannot change the reservation. For accommodation, I recheck rates regularly.

I wish there was a monitoring system so you could tell the system ‘I want this flight and these hotels. Please tell me when it is the cheapest period to travel’. I do all this myself but it can be a long and tedious process if you are looking at - and monitoring - 30 destinations.

Are you willing to take risks to save money?

Not completely. For example, I wouldn’t fly with an airline I didn’t know or a non-major alliance carrier. Maybe for a short domestic flight but definitely not for a long haul. I also wouldn’t take a flight with a strange overnight connection even if it was cheaper as this is inconvenient and I don’t have the time.

Or, it would have to be an absolute bargain. For example, I have seen Ukrainian Airlines advertising exceptional airfares to Bangkok for SEK 3,500. I would consider that because Bangkok is somewhere I really like to visit and which is always expensive.

On accommodation, I would take more risk because I know if I am in a city I will be out all day sightseeing.

Does social media have a strong influence on your decisions? 

I don’t trust TripAdvisor so I tend to rely on opinions from similar-minded people who travel to destinations I am interested in.

As I travel often, I get a lot of social media ads. I don’t think I ever booked anything via these ads as they are either not relevant or are very expensive. I don’t trust TripAdvisor so I tend to rely on opinions from similar-minded people who travel to destinations I am interested in.

Are you generally critical towards information, systems and brands? 

I am quite brand loyal, especially to hotels and airlines. Against information yes, I am very critical, because information is usually given to me on purpose, for commercial interests. That’s why I try to find as much information as I can myself.

As a Bargain Hunter, do you prefer to spend your money on experiences and activities at the destination rather than on flights and hotels?

Yes. People sometimes think I am crazy. They spend more on flights and accommodation … but I like to get more trips, and more experiences, for my money. Comfort is secondary for me.