Top 10 Tips for finding cheap flights

13 Jan 2014

tips-to-get-cheap-flights

1. Book either far in advance or last minute.

If it’s a definite date you have to be there for – like a wedding or birthday or public holiday then book as far in advance as possible

If you have a certain amount of flexibility leave it till the last minute. 

2. Be flexible date wise

Not just date but also duration.

Sometimes coming home 1 day later can make all the difference especially during school and public holidays, coming home on the Tuesday after a bank holiday can decrease the price by 50%

Coming home 1 or 2 days after the schools go back is also a great saving, you may get in trouble with the head – but you can argue that travel broadens the mind.

3. Travel midweek and stay over a Saturday night.

On short breaks most people want to travel out Friday after work and return Sunday evening, if you can go out on a Tuesday and return on a Thursday you will make a considerable saving

On longer flights most Airlines have a Saturday night rule – you must stay the Saturday night to get a better fare, the logic behind this is that they catch the business traveller who wants to be in New York for a meeting on Tuesday but home with the wife and kids for the weekend.

So to play them at their own game fly out on a Thursday and return on the Monday – getting a midweek fare but also adhering to the Saturday night rule

4. Travel overnight

Travelling on an overnight flight may not make the airfare any cheaper, however arriving at your hotel in the morning gives you maximum value for money, as opposed to arriving late at night and paying for the first night literally to go to sleep. If you are staying in a luxury hotel or on a board basis this will give you greater value for money.

5. Consider neighbouring destinations to get that bargain.

For example if you are looking at a week in Mallorca – take a look at the prices to Ibiza or Menorca, very similar destinations offer the same type of holiday but can vary greatly in price.

If travelling around look at different points on your route ie Thailand look at both Bangkok and Phuket

Or India – look at Bombay / Delhi / Goa and adjust your rote accordingly

6. Split your journey - look at the low cost carriers at your destination

you won’t get much change from £1,000 for a charter flight to Goa over Christmas, but a flight to Bombay and a low cost carrier flight down to Goa could save hundreds.

Likewise a fare on Thai airways to one of the Thai islands can be considerably more than a cheap flight to Bangkok and a low cost carrier onwards

Be careful of the baggage allowances when doing this, as scheduled airlines give greater baggage allowance compared with low cost flights

7. Travel off season

Some destinations have great weather all year round, in fact some destinations have a low season because it is just too hot (like Dubai or Goa) If you are a mad dog or an Englishman then go for one of these places.

Also consider that some destinations, although not roasting hot still have very mild weather, Like Malta for example is still very warm in November and cheap as chips.

8. Sign up to email alerts and social media pages.

Give yourself a period of search time, around 1 or 2 weeks, sign up to email alerts and newsletters, Like Follow and add as many airlines and companies that offer your destination.

9. Make sure you are comparing like for like - read some reviews

Although British Airways may be higher in price than a low cost carrier, take a moment to check the supplements, an extra £60 for a bag, an extra £15 booking fee, an extra £10 credit card fee it all adds up.

Also sometimes it is worth paying that little extra for a direct flight, or a carrier with newer aircraft and on board entertainment, I was once on a 14 hour flight and my seatback entertainment system didn’t work, for an extra £30 or so I could have flown another carrier, on my return I checked a few review sites and it seems it was a common fault with the carrier I chose, yet the alternate carrier had rave reviews for choice of entertainment and in flight refreshments.

Stopovers on route can also be costly, if you think a saving of £50 is worth a 4 hour stop in an airport think again, £50 can be spent in minutes on refreshments at some airports, again check the internet for reviews.

Dalaman Airport in Turkey for example has the most expensive McDonalds in the world.

10. Check the airport location and time of flight.

Getting to the airport at silly o'clock can sometimes be a costly affair, also if arriving at an out of town airport the onward travel can also be costly.

For example a flight from Heathrow to Barcelona at 9am is easily accessible via the Underground, and on arrival a short trip to Las Ramblas,

Whereas a flight from Stansted at 6am to Reus may be up to £50 cheaper, but how would you get to Stansted at that time, or indeed from  Reus an hour or so out of Barcelona?