7 Tips for Getting Cheap Flights
By Kelly Henderson (follow Kelly on Twitter @kellythekiwi)
When I go on holiday, I want to spend most of my budget experiencing the culture, eating local delicacies and buying tacky souvenirs – not arriving at my destination. Here are 7 ways to get cheap flights:
#1 Be flexible when choosing your departure date
Tuesdays and Wednesdays are the cheapest day to fly out. This is because they are the days when the least amount of trips are made. Apart from this, try flying out at unsociable (and sometimes inconvenient) times. The earlier in the morning the flight, the cheaper it will be. Other cheap times are right after dinner and lunch time.
#2 Use a comparison website like Skyscanner or Momondo
Flight Comparison websites give you a good overview of how much flights can be on certain days of the month. If you are not fussy about which day you are going then you can take a look at their calendar and choose the cheapest flights. Two of the best are Skyscanner and Momondo. These are really easy to use but remember that they may not show ALL of the flights available, so it does pay to check the airline’s website too.
#3 Leave the suitcases at home – travel with hand luggage only
Most of the low cost airlines (Ryanair and easyJet for example) will charge you for checking in luggage – and it definitely adds an extra cost to your ticket. If possible, leave the extra clothing behind and travel with hand luggage only.
#4 Be aware of hidden charges
Whenever you are purchasing anything online you need to be aware of hidden charges, and booking flights are no exception. Some airlines will automatically add on travel insurance – an unnecessary expense if you already have an insurance policy. Another type of hidden charge are booking fees – the airline may charge you for using a credit or debit card. Charges will vary between airlines and websites but credit card fees tend to be a lot more expensive.
#5 Plan ahead (but not too far)
You should always book your flights in advance. The recommended time is 54-66 days (or 6-8 weeks) before you want to fly out. Business travelers will pay premium prices to book at the last minute so avoid doing this. Be careful not to book too far ahead though – airlines will not have released their special offers yet.
#6 Sleepover on a Saturday night
You will get a cheaper flight if you include a Saturday night as part of your time away. Surprisingly, it is also one of the cheaper days to depart on. This is because business travelers do not stay over on the weekends. Weekend in Venice anyone?!
#7 Avoid inner city airports
Low cost airlines normally use airports that are a bit further outside of the city. So, in the case of London, this would be Stansted and Luton rather than Heathrow or London City. Remember to research the transportation options though, as it may be more cash effective to spend a little more on the flight.
If you follow these tips, you will have a cheap flight and be able to spend more on your actual holiday. And if you are flying, check out our post on saving money at the airport.
You may want to check out our budget travelling page.