Booking flights is seldom fun, all the motivation to go on holiday can be quickly sapped away when you see huge prices for direct tickets with the only affordable option being to make a few stop overs on the way. Well fortunately all is not lost and there are a few simple tips that you’ll be able to do in order to keep the prices low.
1. Go incognito
Definitely something that the majority of people overlook, when searching for any tickets whether you’re travelling by train or by air you should always clear your cookies before searching and then move to an incognito browser as the engines/airlines will actually show you prices based off your recent searches so if they know you’ve got intent to go somewhere they will adjust the prices accordingly and these tend to rise the more often you go to the site in order to try and get you to make a snap decision. So when searching for flights make sure you put your browser on incognito mode in order to see the lowest prices that are currently available.
If you remain in this mode you don’t need to worry about clearing your browsers cookies as every time you open up a new browser all of your cookies will be reset.
2. Don’t book direct from the airlines
Another mistake that a lot of people seem to do, instead of looking at flight search engines they go directly to the airline and book from there which normally results in a higher price, its actually better to head to a renowned flight search engine such as Sky Scanner or Kayak, enter in the details of where you want to go and the dates that you want to go on and what it will do is pull up all of the flights available and list them in price order.
Now the way these search engines work is they take a cut from the airline which can sometimes result in different prices across the site, websites such as Expedia tend to charge the most so prices are typically more there. Its best to utilise a few different search engines in order to find the best price, but the one we’ve found to be consistently good is SkyScanner.
3. Work out the cheapest departure day
People have all sorts of theories when it comes to which day is the cheapest to fly on but really there isn’t an exact date. The majority of the time it is cheapest to fly on a week day then it is on a weekend but this isn’t always strictly true. As there are no exact best dates the best thing to do is plan a date you’d ideally want to leave on and then work out which days offer the cheapest departure and go from there. The great thing about using search engines is you can actually compile them into one month and it will list the cheapest day for you to fly.
To do this on SkyScanner you will need to do the following:
- Head over to the SkyScanner website and enter in the places you want to fly to.
- Choose the one way option as were just trying to work out the cheapest days to fly out on.
- Click on the depart button but don’t enter in a date as we are trying to view the whole month and work out the cheapest option.
- Click on the search and take a look at which the cheapest date is, the prices will be under the date numbers.
If you’re planning a return flight you can do the above but for your return journey instead.
You can even use google flights which uses a similar algorithm to sites like SkyScanner but you will be unable to actually book your flight through the engine.
4. Use Budget Airlines
Its in the name after all, but budget airlines will cost significantly less money than airlines such as Virgin, however choosing a budget airline will mean you have to sacrifice certain comforts such as how much leg room space you have and whether they will provide you with food/drink for free when you fly.
Which ever way you choose to fly is down to personal preference if you don’t mind having restricted space/no free food then feel free to go budget, but if you’re after maximum comfort then be prepared to pay a premium.
5. Research the cheapest destinations first
If you haven’t already planned where you want to go on holiday but you’ve just got the holiday bug and you know for sure that you want to go away, by using flight search engines you are actually able to set where you will be departing from the date you want to leave but you can select Everywhere as your destination. What this will then do is list all of the countries for flights going out on your select day and put them in order of cheapest first. Meaning if you want to fly on a budget you may be able to find some great little holiday destinations for next to nothing prices.
Just looking at the prices today we can see that you’re able to get a return flight to Norway for £18, you can even fly to Italy for a week for £81. So next time you’ve got the craving for a holiday but you don’t think you can afford it try searching all countries and sorting it on price, you’ll be surprised what you might find.
6. Go to a travel agents
Travel agents benefit from being able to get access to much cheaper rates than what are available for the public, they wont be able to beat the search engines on flight prices but what they can do is find a better package holiday for places such as Spain. Its worth going into a store and checking out whats on offer then go home and compare to see if you can get it cheaper online.
7. Take a look at lesser known Airlines
Search engines are a fantastic tool, they quickly find, list and compile flights in price order but they don’t include all of the airlines the world has to offer. If you’re flying to less popular area take a look on google and find out whether they have a local airline which flies from your airport. We did a bit of research and if you were to fly around South America then you can fly with an Airline called LADE Air which originates from Argentina and these offer ridiculously cheaper prices in comparison to others that are listed in the search engines.
Even if you do find a smaller airline listed in the search engine, try checking out their site first and see if they have any offers or if its generally just listed cheaper on there.
8. Dont sit and think about it just book
If you already know your destination and the dates you want to fly on then book it ASAP, people always sit around waiting to see if the prices will drop in a last minute sell off but this is seldom the case. The majority of flights tend to rise in price the closer it gets to the departure date. So once your mind is set book it straight away to take advantage of the lower price.
9. Is the £ the cheapest currency?
Before you up and pay for the flight take a look and see what the prices are in other currencies as some airlines will allow you to pay in different ones, its always good to reference a trusted currency conversion site such as XE and then compare back with the original price set in £’s. Remember though if you’re paying by credit card to check that the card you’re using doesn’t have any foreign transaction fees that might be added to your card after purchase as this will raise the price considerably.
10. Be on the look out for pricing mistakes
The people who work at Airlines are humans, and humans make mistakes from time to time so be on the look out for any mess ups where they have put up a seriously discounted flight. There are a few reasons that may lead to this such as technical glitches, an error when converting the currency over and then of course there are human errors where they have just entered in the wrong price
11. Look for connecting flights
There is a hidden trick that travelling veterans know of, if you’re looking for the cheapest flights then its better to sometimes look at flying to one city as a stop over then flying out of that to your destination instead of you flying straight to your holiday destination. This is an incredibly risky process as you will be relying on all the planes being on time and departing on time, you could also lose your luggage if you brought a suitcase that needed to go in the airplanes hold.
This is also a great way to travel round multiple cities in different countries for cheap allowing you to plan a 2 week holiday in different places for the cost of flying directly to one city and staying there. But remember use this at your own risk as there is more chance of something going wrong instead of flying directly to your destination.
12. Cash in air miles whenever you can
Do you have a credit card that gives you air miles when ever you spend? Well these can be a great way to get a whole holiday for free make sure you check to see how long they stay in date for though as a lot of cards have a set period of time in which they need to be used by. If you haven’t got a card then you may want to see whats available to you.
And there you have it our 12 tips for getting cheaper flights when traveling abroad and remember if you’re flight gets delayed at any point with in the EU get in touch with us and we will help you claim any flight delay compensation that you could be owed.