A Guide to Finding The Cheapest Flights
If you are planning a trip away from the UK, it’s never too early to start looking at flights. Your flight will generally be your biggest cost, especially if you are traveling long-haul but with these handy tips, you can become travel savvy and save yourself a few pounds to put towards your next holiday instead.
With so many comparison sites out there, it’s never been easier to book a flight. As soon as you know when you want to go, sign up for travel alerts for discounted airfares to your chosen destination. It takes the confusion out of searching for many different airlines at the same time and whenever there’s a sale, they’ll let you know and deliver it straight to your inbox. If you are on a tight budget then consider taking non-direct flights which although will take longer, can save you £’s if you’re prepared to hang around in airports. Planning your trip outside of school holidays and Christmas will also save you money.
Low cost airlines are a cost-effective way of getting to your destination but although many include hand-luggage, they are extremely strict on the measurements and weight so check their baggage restrictions before you get to the airport or you could find yourself paying a small fortune. It may be worth comparing them with other airlines which don’t charge for luggage.
Some travel websites offer discounts on airfares if you purchase a package, so you may find that adding accommodations and car hire could be cheaper than just the flight itself.
The more flexible you are with your dates – the better. Skyscanner has the ability to show flights for a whole month so you can work out the cheapest times to go during your chosen dates. Booking a flight on a Tuesday is generally the cheapest day of the week to fly.
If you’re unsure of your dates or even your destinations, look for tickets where you can pay more to amend your ticket. It may only cost £50 and will give you the flexibility you need. Some even allow you to change this more than once.
The general rule of thumb is that most airline tickets cost more the longer you leave it. You can still get some last minute fares but this isn’t as common as you may think. Most airlines tend to get more expensive the closer you book to your departure date so make sure you don’t miss out on the best price.In Europe for example, buying your ticket at least a month before you go will guarantee you a better fare. In fact, studies have shown that booking fifty-four days before you travel is the best time to get that deal on your flight for domestic airfares. Obviously each airline is different and this is a general consensus, but this shows that booking in advance anytime from one hundred-four days to twenty-nine days before travel guarantees the cheapest fare price. The best time to book international flights is generally at least four months before.
When looking at flying into your destination, look at different ways of getting there. Is it cheaper to fly into one destination and out of another by booking separate flights rather than a return ticket? Also check for a neighbouring country which may be cheaper to fly into, e.g. if your destination is Israel then consider flying into Jordan instead.
To More Than One Country
If you’re traveling to more than one country, consider an open-jaw ticket (flying into one destination and out of another). Say you’re flying into Paris and planning to leave from Berlin, you can either look at one airline which will fly into and out of both destinations or two separate airlines with one-way tickets as an alternative.
A multi-stop ticket is one that allows you to stop in more than one place and they are a great way to see more than one destination instead of booking several separate tickets. You don’t necessarily have to fly around the world for these, or in any particular direction.
If you choose to fly with a national airline, your flight may not be direct and you could find yourself having to change planes at their airline hub. For example, Air New Zealand’s hub is Auckland, so booking a flight with them will stop in Auckland if you’re flying from Australia to North America. You can take advantage of these gateway points by using their hubs as a stopover and a chance to see the city. Most of these stopovers are free with just additional taxes to be paid. Also the airline may offer stopover packages which can be cheaper than booking a hotel independently.
Some airlines even offer additional flights for free as side trips. For example, Malaysian Airlines offers a free side-trip to places in Malaysia if you’re flying to Australasia so you can get an extra flight to Penang or Langkawi for free, provided you book accommodation for the duration of your stay.
Round the World Tickets
If you’re planning on exploring more of the world than just one continent, a round-the-world ticket can be so much cheaper than trying to book the flights separately. This is where travel companies can help as trying to book several flights in one go on the internet isn’t that straightforward, and having someone to advise you where you can travel to can help.
A round-the-world ticket allows you to travel the world covering many different continents and stopping in many destinations, and you can even go overland flying into one country and out of another to maximise your time traveling overland. Flight tickets last for a year with the ability to extend the dates, but you generally have to book each sector (flight) before you go so choose one that’s flexible to change if you’re unsure of your dates. Round-the-world tickets are great value and definitely worth considering for more than one continent.
Frequent Flyer Programs
If you’re likely to be taking a few flights on the same airlines or ones which are part of an airline network, consider signing up for their frequent flyer schemes. Frequent flyer points can be collected each time you take a flight on certain airlines which can then be used for priority boarding, and even free upgrades and flights.
Whether you decide to change your dates, use one-way flights instead or find a cheaper airport to fly into and travel overland, there are many ways to save those £’s and find the cheapest flight for you.