Welcome, intrepid globetrotters!
There are no secret ninja tricks or magic bullets – just practical, proven strategies for securing the cheapest flights. This guide is your passport to extra savings, leaving you with more to splurge on your dream adventures. Whether savouring spicy street food in Bangkok or an extra night in an idyllic Parisian boutique hotel, we’re here to help you stretch your travel budget further.
When to Fly
Busting the Myths Forget about booking on a specific day or timing the market. The flight pricing systems are smarter than ever. The secret lies in flexibility, knowledge and a dose of savvy strategy.
Cheapest Days to Fly
Of course, it isn’t always possible to start booking a holiday with countless dates in mind. However, if you’re flexible, it can make a massive difference. Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays are generally cheaper than other days of the week. Many booking systems offer a ‘calendar view’ that lets you view prices across the week, making it easier to spot the cheap days to fly.
Off-Peak and Midweek Magic
Airlines know when everyone wants to fly. So, you’ll find savings if you can be flexible with your dates and times. Early mornings, late nights, and midweek flights can offer significant discounts, quieter airports, and less crowded planes. Not to mention, travelling during off-peak times or outside of popular holiday seasons can result in substantial savings.
Seasons of Savings
Embrace the shoulder seasons. You’ll find cheaper flights and less crowded accommodations and attractions. Plus, who doesn’t love a bit of peace and quiet on their holiday?
Where to Fly
Flexibility is King. Being open to multiple destinations opens up a world of savings. With modern search engines, you can easily compare destinations and find a bargain. You might even discover a destination you’d never considered! Remember, peak season in the UK isn’t necessarily peak season elsewhere. Prices vary depending on where you’re flying to.
Consider flying to a less popular airport near your destination. Remember to account for additional transport costs to ensure a genuine saving. Additionally, consider local transport options at your destination. Some cities offer transport passes or cards that can save you money on buses, trams, and subways.
Don’t overlook multi-city tickets. They can often work out cheaper than direct flights, and you can explore more places. Win-win! Moreover, for long-haul flights, consider extending your layover. This could save you money, but it also allows you to explore an additional city.
How to Book
Comparing is Key
Never stick to one platform. Always compare flights across various platforms. Use sites like Expedia, Momondo, Skyscanner, Travel Supermarket, and Kayak. Each website has unique deals and partnerships, making price differences substantial. Watch for student travel agencies like Student Universe that offer discounts for students and anyone under 30.
Incognito Isn’t a Silver Bullet
Using incognito mode might not always lead to cheaper deals. Still, it helps keep your searches private, preventing websites from tracking your activity and possibly hiking prices. Use the incognito mode in your browser while searching for tickets to prevent airlines from tracking your searches and potentially increasing prices based on your interest.
Beware of Extra Costs on Budget Carriers
Budget airlines can be a game changer. Just watch out for hidden costs and check the location of the airports they use. Yes, they may charge for extras, but you could save a fortune with some planning.
Early Booking and Last-Minute Deals
Flight seats are cheaper when first released, so booking early can lead to significant savings. If you’re flexible, sites like lastminute.com post flights that drop in price as the departure date approaches. However, last-minute deals aren’t always more affordable, and the risk of costs not dipping at all or the flight selling out is real.
Paying with a Credit Card When Booking Flights
Consider using a credit card for booking flights. Credit cards often offer Section 75 protection for purchases over £100 and up to £30,000, which can be helpful if something goes wrong on the seller’s side. Additionally, some credit cards can offer benefits like air miles and cashback on flight purchases.
When booking long-haul flights, a flight with a connection could be cheaper. Although it could increase your travel time, you could save money. However, be aware of the risk of delays which could lead to missed connecting flights.
Booking your flights and accommodation together as a package can often result in discounts on both. Package holidays can offer added benefits like airport transfers and activities.
Always check for student discounts when booking flights. There are often discounts available for both domestic and round-the-world trips.
Consider signing up for newsletters from travel companies and airlines. These companies often reward newsletter subscribers with early notification of sales. Despite the potential for spam, it’s often the best way to discover top deals.
Secret Flight Deals Services
Joining a secret flight deals service like Jack’s Flight Club or Secret Flying can alert you to significant deals. Some of these services offer premium memberships for access to additional deal alerts.
It’s important to secure travel insurance that covers you if something goes wrong, especially booking flights with connections. Comparison sites like Compare the Market can assist you in finding the best deal and may also offer additional benefits like 2-for-1 cinema tickets for a year.
Beware of Extra Costs on Budget Airlines
When booking flights, especially with budget airlines, ensure you know hidden costs such as air taxes, baggage fees, or seat selection charges. Check what is included in your ticket before purchasing.
Try to travel light. Hand luggage is usually free, but weight and dimension restrictions apply, so check these before you travel. Certain airlines, like Ryanair, have specific policies where a small fee is applied for small wheelie suitcases.
So there you have it, the ultimate guide to finding the cheapest flights. With some flexibility and a healthy dose of savvy strategy, you’ll be ready to start racking up the air miles without racking up the debt. Safe travels!