If you're planning a trip to Bali, no doubt you're hoping to get the best flights and accommodation for the best possible price. Nobody wants to pay full price for their airfare or hotel room when there are so many bargains to be had. Knowing when and where to find the discount rates isn't always easy, though.
Sales come and go, and sometimes they only last 24 hours – or less – so you can easily blink and miss them. Widen your bargain-hunting radar by signing up
to mailing lists for airlines and booking sites, or following them on social media. (You can always unfollow/unsubscribe once you've booked your holiday.)
Bargain-hunter sites like ozbargain.com.au and finder.com.au also keep track of the latest airline sales and specials, and you can use flight-specific
sites like secretflying.com to alert you to cheap flights departing from your part of the world.
Regular sales to look out for
End of financial year sales
EOFY is a good time to look for flights and holiday package deals as airlines, hotels and travel agencies try to boost their profits before 30 June.
Boxing Day sales
Just as the sales start in the shops, Boxing Day can also be a good time to grab a discounted airfare (if you've got any money left over from Christmas).
Jetstar May sales
Jetstar celebrates its birthday each year with a sale. In May 2016 the airline offered free return flights on selected domestic and international airfares.
Some travellers snapped up flights to Bali for as little as $139.
Jetstar Friday Frenzy
Jetstar also has a weekly sale from 4pm to 8pm every Friday. Sign up to their mailing list to get an email in advance letting you know which fares are
going to be reduced.
Virgin Happy Hour
Virgin's Happy Hour (or happy seven hours) runs from 4pm to 11pm every Thursday.
Early Bird fares
Virgin regularly releases Early Bird fares, which must be booked at least 60 days in advance, but often apply to flights many months away.
Tigerair Tuesday and Saturday Flight Fever
Not to be out-budgeted by the other budget airlines, Tigerair has two sales a week: Tigerair Tuesday from 12pm every Tuesday until 12pm the following day,
and Saturday Flight Fever from 12pm to 4pm every Saturday.
Aussie winter coincides with Bali's high season, so you may not get the cheapest deal, but it's an ideal time for airlines to spruik discounted 'winter
warmer' getaways. Look for these a few months in advance.
Airlines that fly to Bali
If you're not sure which airlines depart from your nearest airport, check our flights to Bali guide.
Jetstar: sale page / email sign-up
Virgin: sale page / email sign-up
Qantas: sale page / email sign-up
Tigerair: sale page / email sign-up
AirAsia: sale page / membership sign-up
Garuda Indonesia: sale page / membership sign-up
Scoot (indirect flights): sale page / email sign-up
If you're not sure which airline you want to fly with, compare fares and itineraries on a booking site such as expedia.com, skyscanner.net or kayak.com. But bear in mind that the site may not necessarily show you all your options – budget airlines are often left off the list.
Don't book via a comparison site unless you've already checked the airline website for a better price on the same fare. If the price is the same or
similar, book via the airline website as they'll most likely be easier to deal with if you want to change your ticket or if something goes wrong.
Most airlines and flight comparison sites allow you to set up price alerts, which tip you off if the price drops on flights you're interested in. Once the
site knows you're looking for a flight from Sydney to Denpasar, for example, it might prompt you to set up an alert. This isn't just an annoying pop-up to
be ignored – price alerts are worth subscribing to if you're searching well in advance of your departure date and you're willing to wait for a sale
fare to come your way.
Sale prices will only apply to certain flights on certain dates – usually during off-peak times. If you have to fly on specific dates you're much
less likely to find a bargain.
Tips to save money when you book
Last-minute discounts on airfares aren't common. Flights generally get more expensive closer to their departure date, so lock them in as early as you can.
You might have better luck finding accommodation that's been discounted at the eleventh hour, but you'll also find early bird specials – which are a
much safer bet.
Hotel rates will likely be higher in the peak season (May to October, as well as Christmas and New Year) and flights from Australia generally cost more
during school holidays.
If you're settling in for a long break, look for accommodation that offers a weekly rate or special deals such as 'stay three nights, get the fourth free'.
Most hotels charge higher rates at the weekend and many offer special deals for midweek stays. Flights will generally be more expensive on the weekend,
particularly Friday night or Saturday (departing to Bali) and Sunday (returning to Australia).
Go to the source.
If you find a good deal on a comparison booking site, visit the airline or hotel's website to see if you can find a better rate. Try contacting the hotel
directly and asking if they can beat the price you found online – it's worth their while, since they lose a percentage of their fee when they receive
bookings through a third-party site.
Consider a package deal.
A flight and accommodation combo can be a hassle-free money saver. Just make sure you really are getting a good deal (search to see if the individual rates
aren't cheaper) and check guest reviews for the hotel.
Tips to save money once you're in Bali
Eat local food.
Balinese food will almost certainly cost you less than Western or other non-Indonesian food, or the food at your hotel. Cheap and cheerful 'warungs'
(local-style restaurants) serve meals for the equivalent of just a few Australian dollars.
Wine isn't common in Bali, so expect to pay top dollar if you fancy a drop with dinner. Local beers, however, are cheap as chips.
Get a massage on the beach.
Hotel spa treatments often won't be much cheaper than what you'd pay in Australia, but a massage from a local on the beach will be a fraction of the price.
Taxis and tuk-tuks are reasonably priced and they're a lot cheaper and less stressful than hiring a car – unless you're planning on going a long way
off the beaten track.
It's perfectly normal for street sellers to quote you an inflated price on clothing and souvenirs, so have a go at talking them down. Don't take it too
seriously though – remember that most Balinese people earn a lot less money than you do.