If you’re not looking to jet off on an impromptu jaunt and welcome the idea of saving some pennies, take heed of these hacks for easier, more economical booking!
Refrain from buying flights on a Friday as this tends to be the day that price hikes are launched to snag business travellers looking for a last-minute getaway before the weekend. So if you’re looking for cheap seats, shop at the weekend or early on in the week. How far ahead you should book is hugely dependent on where and when you’re traveling. For long-haul international flights reserve seats as early as possible, but for domestic and shorter international flights you’re more likely to get the best deals one or two months before your intended departure date. Always on the hunt for a bargain? Make sure you’re signed up to price alerts and special offer newsletters from your favourite airlines and flight comparison sites.
Before you jump to popular flight comparison sites like Skyscanner, Kayak or Google Flights it’s worth checking out Flightmapper.net to see which airlines fly directly to your desired destination and when; especially handy if you’re looking to go somewhere a little bit unusual with seasonal services as it picks up on smaller, local airlines that might otherwise be missed. Be flexible and get more bang for your buck by trying ‘whole month’ searches and flying off-peak: weekdays, outside school holidays, unsociable hours - but remember that the cheapest flight isn’t necessarily the best - that 3AM airport cab fare could end up costing you more than your plane ticket. Also play around with your location settings, sometimes you can get a better price if you’re “based” in the airline’s home country.
Booking Your Ticket
Generally, it’s cheaper and easier to buy tickets direct from airline websites - but don’t think they haven’t been feeding you cookies and tracking your browsing history to subject your flights to some “dynamic pricing” i.e. price surges based on demand. So DELETE YOUR BROWSING HISTORY and CLEAR YOUR COOKIES before you commit to booking. The aforementioned flight comparison websites are some of the best out there for their ease of navigation and large selection of booking agents - but what initially looks like a deal often isn’t quite a steal once agency fees are included… But if your chosen journey involves various one-way flights on different airlines, booking through an agent like Expedia or Opodo could definitely save you some hassle by keeping everything in one place - just keep an eye on the final price and familiarise yourself with their policies.
• When finalizing your booking, make sure boxes for unnecessary travel insurance and other offers your airline might try to sell you are unticked
• Pay by debit card or PayPal to avoid checkout fees
• Use credit card to get compensation if flight gets cancelled (check details with your issuer)
• Search ‘everywhere’ on Skyscanner to find the cheapest places for you to travel to
• For very popular destinations at peak times it doesn’t hurt to snap up tickets as soon as they’re released, usually about 11 months in advance
• Hold luggage can be expensive and cumbersome so, where you can, try and fit everything into your trusty Cabin Trolley