Flights can always pose a problem when it is too expensive. The cost of flights tend to be one of the biggest aspects of travel costs, and finding deals that can get you on a plane will save you spending on this normally large expense, and spending more enjoying your time and making memories. Finding the best deals is just as important as finding the right location, the right airline and the right place to stay.
When I am in need of a getaway or a cultural immersion, I follow a process, a step by step method. With all the information from airlines, it can be hard to find those that aren’t too expensive, by following the guide and taking the time (no more than an hour) to search for great flights to another country, sometimes for less than a large pizza.
There is no one way of finding cheap flights, and as the season’s change, so do your deals. The confusion created by hired experts cause a problem when trying to locate deals that are worth it. They tend to use information that is oversaturated on the internet with no real understanding. Some of the misinformation found on the internet are as follows:
- It is cheaper to buy tickets on a Tuesday.
- If you book exactly on a certain date or specific period, you’ll get the best deal
- You can predict airline prices and websites that do are taking an educated (but probably wrong) guess.
Airlines use advanced computer and pricing algorithms to determine prices and run sales based on many different factors, weather and festivals and many more.
Flexible Travel Dates
Ticket prices vary widely depending on the time of year, and upcoming holidays, and ticket demand. August is the UK summer holiday, so summer is our busiest time to travel, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find deals amongst everything else.
Being flexible with your dates can greatly change and will the amount that you will spend on your flights. If you have your heart set on a specific location, then keep an eye on it and you will find the right time at a low price.
The weekend is always a busy time for anyone anywhere to do anything. To fly on the weekend will be more expensive than flying during the week because of the demand. When planning a weekend getaway keep in mind, people don’t travel as much in the early-morning, late-night, and mid-week and after major holidays (who wants to wake up early or miss the holiday event?).
Due to the development of technology, airlines know when important things are happening, such as festivals, holidays, sports events or a school break coming up – and they raise their prices accordingly.
A difference of one day can mean hundred of pounds in savings.
Be flexible with your destinations
If you can’t be flexible when you fly, at least be flexible with the destination you fly to. It always best to be flexible with both if you really want to save the most money on a flight, but if not, you should at least do one.
Airline search engines have made it really easy to search the entire world to find the cheapest ticket – you no longer have to search manually. If you’re looking for a destination click search to find a destination.
There is always a deal to some destination, and if you’re flexible on where you want to go, you’ll always get a deal!
When you are adamant on one place at one time, you are stuck with whatever price shows up. No magic can help you here, but when you become flexible, suddenly the entire world opens up to you and you’ll find amazing cheap flights!
Fly Budget Carriers
The way our airlines have evolved is quite extraordinary. When I initially flew to Thailand, I was using ThaiAirways, and Lufthansa to Germany, but now there are new carriers almost every month. No longer stuck with traditional expensive airlines, EasyJet, RyanAir, Vueling to name a few provide you with hugely discounted tickets. Sometimes cheaper at the airport even.
Budget airlines now make it possible to fly around the world for little money. Norwegian Airlines allow you to fly between Europe and Bangkok for around £220 each way. WOW Air has flights to Europe from America for as little as £90.
Here’s a list of airlines I have used to get me around the globe:
Flying budget airlines is a good alternative to flying “the majors” whenever possible. You get fewer perks butsave hundreds in cost.
One thing to ensure you keep your eye on is fess. That’s how they make money. Budget airlines sometimes charge fees for checked bags, carry-ons, printing your boarding pass, using a credit card and anything else that they can get away with. Add up the cost of the ticket AND the fees to make sure that the price is lower than “the majors”.
Don’t always fly direct
Being flexible with the route you take can also save you many many pounds for leisure. Sometimes its cheaper to fly to Iceland or Norway and then get a budget airline flight to Bangkok. Taking advantage of these budget airlines really helps you rack in the savings, despite the increased flying time.
To do this I look for the cost of a direct flight to my destination, then open Google Flights and check for flights to the surrounding cities of my destination, if there is a big difference in price then I see how much the flight from the city to my destination.
Having a safety cushion of time is a good idea. Having 3 hours to spare between flights and connections will mean less can go wrong, and if something, such as a flight delay, does happen, then you are able to relax and know you still have enough time to catch your next flight.
This method requires more work as you have to figure out different routes and check different airlines and connecting adds more time to your journey, nonetheless you could utilise this to see more countries, get an overnight connecting flight and explore some of your stopover city.
Not all search engines are Equal
It is key to check many different websites, leave no stone unturned. Many sites don’t list budget airlines because those airlines don’t want to pay a booking commission while other don’t list booking sites that aren’t in English, some only feed prices directly from airlines.
You’re unlikely to find budget airliners on large sites such as Kayak, or Expedia. Country specific sites also don’t include foreign airlines like they do on international sites, Skyscanner, Momondo.
Shopping around is always going to be your best friend, look around the internet, or suggest to us a location and we will provide an article on it. There is no one way to finding the best deals, however I do have my favourites which I use to consistently find myself great flying deals:
I always start my adventure planning with a browse on Skyscanner because it shows all the best airlines from the UK to Europe. It also suggests cheap holidays that they pull together, whether its long-haul, weekend, this weekend or an entire month, they allow you to search for the best times. If I struggle to find anything appealing I will then use Momondo, which utilises the searches of all major AND budget airlines, English and non-English sites and all of your obscure foreign airlines. Momondo make sure to vet all their site links as they have strict criteria on which they operate.
Take advantage of student discounts
If you are a student (or under 26), there are plenty of discounts available to you, so the best time to fly is now. You can usually find prices 20-30% cheaper than the standard price. There are companies such as Student Universe who are able to provide students with the best deals, and discounted flights.
Mix and Match Airlines
Different airlines allow you to utilise their services for part of your journey. In doing this you are able to get yourself the best possible deal for flying country to country. Most of the time booking sites use the same airline for you trip, by expanding this field you also increase the amount you could be saving.
My favourite resources for doing this are:
Sign up for frequent flyer programs
Many airlines do rewards programs, and this is a great way to tap into the world of free travel, upgrades and companion travel. No matter how often you fly, you should be signed up for an airline’s reward program.
With American Express, you earn 1 avios point per pound spent, you can imagine the amount of avios points you stand to make. You can use the card for everyday purchases and build up points to take you and a companion on a beautiful holiday, and with no annual fee, just apply and get in those miles.
Join a mailing list
A mailing list is a great way to remain informed on those important deals for your travels. Many times I have come across deals sent into my email that are only lasting for 24 hours, and if you aren’t always looking for these, you can end up missing out on a lot of cheap flights, even holidays. Many websites offer frequent flier bonuses which can in turn get you free business-class tickets. Here’s a few websites that I’d recommend:
Search ticket prices as one person
When searching for your tickets, be sure to do so as an individual, this way the price will remain at its lowest. Airlines tend to show the highest ticket price in a group of tickets, rather than the cheapest. An example would be purchasing tickets for a family of 4, the website will display the highest priced ticket of the 4. For this reason, be sure to search for individual ticket prices. After doing so, you can have the family select their seats next to one another.
Search in other countries
Searching in other currencies, especially from the UK, can be much cheaper than searching from the UK. If you search for tickets on another country’s network, deals can become even cheaper. I found a return flight to Barcelona for £70. I then searched the French version of the airline and I found the same ticket for £25. Although this tip is always a guarantee, it definitely helps with finding the best deals.
Book early (not too early)
When booking flights, it is always important to note that the price will keep rising, and falling due to many factors, such as demand, weather, activities etc. Waiting last minute to book your ticket can be very risky and booking too far in advance takes away for the opportunity of grabbing a better deal. I find it best to book your tickets in 2 months in advance, or 6 – 8 weeks before your travels. I’d give it 3 months if you are going during a busier time of year or to a popular destination.
Finding cheap flights has a lot to do with being flexible and smart on your destination, the time of your travels and the way in which you get there. Follow the tips in this article, but don’t waste your time trying to find something ridiculously cheap. If you spend more than an hour searching for the best deal, then you are spending too much time. If you find a price you are okay paying, then get it and don’t second guess yourself.