Have you ever found the person sitting next to you on a flight has paid a lot less than you? Air tickets are like share prices: they can go up and down up to 50-times in a single day.
I always like to get the best deals on specific dates. I just booked Vietnam Air return London to Hong Kong for only £452, all in. However, some of my mates are more flexible and often get the same route for 10% less.
Never rush booking: prices often go down! Beware of very-long waits changing planes – and double check everything as you can’t change anything on cheap deals without a whopping fee.
The secret is to compare deals early, but don’t book too soon – following these tips:
Cheapest day to book is Tuesday.
Cheapest day to fly is Tuesday and Wednesday.
Cheapest time to fly is early morning.
Cheapest period to book is 12 to 6 weeks before the flight, with around 50-days being the ‘sweet spot’.
Cheaper to change at a regional hob on long haul flights.
While Britain, the US, and most of the entire western world struggle, Hong Kong has more money than it knows what to do with. By the end of this March, the local administration’s reserves are expected to balloon to £63 billion (US $94 B) or £9,000 per citizen.
Last week’s Hong Kong budget showed an embarrassing surplus of £5.56 billion for the year, despite the government giving every resident £514 (US$770) cash, high inter-structure expense and subsidizing electricity. And although Hong Kong is part of China, under the agreement between London and Beijing, it is run like a separate country.
Although only the well-off pay any tax, to keep residents from marching against greed, the finance secretary pledged even lower taxes and more help for the poor and elderly. Policies that western governments with their increasing squeeze couldn’t dream of. The top rate of 17% income tax remains, but corporation tax is to be reduced from 17.5% to 10% for small companies.
Hong Kong is already the freest economy in the world, with no tax on goods or services, dividends, interest or capital gains. Only cigarettes and fuel attract revenue of significance – although transport costs a fraction of UK prices. Wine tax was abolished the other year, and a can of 5% beer can be brought in a shop for as low as £0.22 (US$0.33).
This wonder of economics, the envy of other countries, shows how faith in the free market with little meddling pays off. No army to invade other lands or extremes of poverty or far-flung geographical regions helps. So does oriental family values and a hard-work and save culture. Same for no debt attracting interest and a non-democratic regime without high social welfare helps. Of course this is an over-simplification and the rise of Mainland China has made Hong Kong rich, but western economy could learn. In the 21st-century high tax doesn’t bring in money: it drives it abroad.