Flights are usually one of the major expenses when it comes to travelling, however if you’re clever you can often find tickets much cheaper than the standard price. Having flown over 30 times in the last couple of years, blogger Annes suggests 17 practical ways to save on flights.
1. Skyscanner – the best place to start looking
This is one of the most popular tools for finding cheap airfares. The instant online comparisons cover about 99% of all airlines and flights so it’s likely you’ll find the best deal here. Moreover there are plenty of useful extra functions such as being able to search for the lowest price over an entire month. The best part is that this service is free of charge. Bear in mind that sometimes the prices displayed are dated, so be sure to double check before you purchase.
2. Drungli – adventure generator
This one’s for truly spontaneous travellers. Simply select a time period and enter the name of your departure airport and the website will display the cheapest flights (to random destinations) from your chosen airport during your chosen time period.
This site not only provides info about the best airfares but also about the best prices for holiday packages, accommodation and car rental. Simply select your destination and hunt away!
4. Keep an eye on airlines’ special offers
From time to time it pays to check various airlines’ websites and their social media pages as you may stumble upon some super deals. Be aware that often the offers are valid for a restricted time period, so you’ll have to be quick and attentive to get the best deal!
5. Google for vouchers
Before purchasing your ticker always do a Google search using keywords like “Finnair vouchers” or “vouchers for TAP Portugal” etc. While there’s a big probability you’ll find nothing, it only takes couple of minutes and if you do end up finding a 10% discount code, it’s definitely worth the effort. Remember to filter your searches so only websites that have been modified in the last month are displayed.
6. Browse last minute offers
Tour operators mostly use charter flights and sometimes they drop their prices drastically to sell left over seats. Again, this won’t always yield a result but it’s certainly worth trying.
7. Explore travel forums
Oftentimes there are specific threads about cheap flights on travel forums such as Tripadvisor, so be sure to keep your eye on these threads.
8. More useful websites & online tools
Condor – lots of offers that may not be displayed anywhere else.
Flightfox – here you can hire a person who’ll find the best offer for you.
Azuon, WhichBudget, Kayak, Skypicker, ITA Matrix – more great and functional flight comparison platforms.
9. Try to buy tickets well in advance
This tip is probably very tricky for true adventurers as planning too far ahead can take the fun and spontaneity out of the process. That said, airfare prices usually start going up drastically about 3–4 weeks before departure, still leaving room for a bit of spontaneity.
10. Take advantage of stopovers
Even if you’re from a big city and there are direct flights available to your preferred destination, be sure to check out flights with stopovers as they are often significantly cheaper. Take Estonia as an example – it’s so small it’s basically a province and it’s quite difficult to find direct flights from here to pretty much anywhere, let alone at cheap prices. Avoid stopovers of more than 10 hours otherwise you’ll be exhausted by the time you get to your final destination, however if you do end up with a long stopover, embrace the opportunity to escape the airport and explore a new city!
11. Don’t forget neighbouring airports
If there are other airports near your departure or destination airport, be sure to explore these options as well. For example we Estonians often fly from Helsinki or Riga as it’s quite cheap and fast to get to these cities by boat or bus, and the airfares from these airports are often up to two times cheaper. Also, most budget carriers fly from secondary airports.
12. Travel with hand luggage
Most budget carriers only include hand luggage in the standard fare price, so if wish to take more luggage you might have to pay up to €100 extra. It is actually possible to fit all your necessities into the typical 10 kg baggage limit – you just have to plan ahead, carefully consider what to take and what to leave behind, and have expert packing skills. Another tip here is to wear all your heavy and bulky items – you might end up looking like a clown but who cares!
13. Use low-cost carriers
Think about it, flying simply means getting from point A to point B. A bit of discomfort and a packed lunch are definitely worth it as you’ll save money that can be spent once you reach your destination and your real holiday begins. And while there’s a lot of talk about budget airlines being unsafe, a simple Google search will reveal that they haven’t actually had more accidents than any other company.
14. Eat a hearty meal before flying on a budget airline
One reason low-cost carriers are indeed low-cost is that food usually isn’t included in the airfare prices. These carriers often sell food at unbelievably high prices during flights. We strongly recommend eating a hearty meal before your flight, and if your flight is longer than 3–4 hours, pack something to eat on the plane. You won’t be missing out – airline food typically isn’t tasty anyway!
15. Use an alternative to flying
If there’s a possibility to travel by another means of transportation such as train, boat or a bus, do check out the options. While your journey will take much longer, you may also save a lot of money.
16. Avoid flying during Christmas or other major holidays
Try to avoid travelling when everyone else is travelling – especially around major holidays. During other periods the demand for tickets is lower and therefore the fares are lower. Also, the airports aren’t as busy.
17. Forget about vacation packages!
Vacation packages were popular when finding information about destinations, tickets and everything else was difficult and time-consuming. Now this info is easily accessible online, and as mentioned above, there are many tools to help you find exactly what you’re lookin
g for. Often a quarter of the cost of a vacation package is commission, so it really is worthwhile organising your trip yourself. Moreover, if you organise your trip yourself you’ll be able to tailor your trip to what you’re interested in and save money by avoiding destinations that aren’t your cup of tea.
All photos are taken from Annes Org’s Blog.