We’ve all been there: Looking for a cheap flight on a travel search engine. then using a search engine to browse for different travel search engines. It can be a black hole of frustration.
And with the weak pound meaning we get less to spend when we are actually abroad, securing cheap flights is even more important. So we’ve scoured the web, we’ve put our heads together, and we’ve asked travelling friends in the know.
Here are our 7 awesome tricks to getting a cheap flight. Follow them and hopefully you’ll save some serious cash…
1. Timing is everything
Being flexible with when you go away will save you money. Flights during school holidays and bank holiday weekends will cost a premium so will the end of July and into August.
It’s a trade-off to be made depending on where you go. If you’re looking for a hedonistic holiday in Ibiza the money you save on flights probably won’t be worth the missed experience of raving in February.
However, if you’re a culture vulture or looking to relax and avoid the crowds a cheaper off-season flight will be worth considering.
Flying during the week will also be cheaper. You can compare the fluctuations by searching for flights on Skyscanner and choosing ‘whole month’ rather than specific dates. This will show you a bar chart of prices day-by-day.
2. Easyjet Flexifare
Easyjet have a feature where you can buy a flight on a certain date and then move the dates 24 hours after purchase.
You can therefore move your cheap flight to a more on-peak and expensive date without paying extra. Ideal if you want to travel during school holidays.
A few things to remember before using this feature:
Flights can be moved either 1 week earlier or 3 weeks later. You have to book 120 days in advance and not all flights are available for Flexifare. All of these need to be thoroughly checked before purchasing.
3. Sign up for price alerts
An easy but important tip.
Flight prices are known to fluctuate dramatically. Hopper, Flyr and Skycanner apps can alert you when fare’s fall. A savvy traveller can then snap these up on the cheap.
Google Flights will even notify when the the current fare for a flight will expire soon and the new fare will likely cost more.
4. Browse privately
Browsing privately isn’t just for when you’re on Facebook at work when you shouldn’t be. Sneaky travel agents put their prices up when you revisit their site becuase they drop a cookie and know that you’re interested. It’s true – you weren’t being paranoid.
By turning on your private browser you can stop this from happening. We don’t think travellers should have to do this. More transparency we say!
5. Split your ticket
Splitting your flights between different airlines there and back or from different airports as 2 single tickets can save you money. You don’t see these prices instantly on search engines as it’s not in airlines interest to show the prices of their competitors so it will take a little digging.
Using Skyscanner’s ‘flexible’ search tool makes splitting tickets easy.
6. Code sharing
Some airlines, not all, team up to sell seats on each other’s airlines for return flights. They often take a little commission “tip” for themselves.
However, if you search for the tickets directly through the partner’s website you can often find them cheaper, saving on that commission cost.
This works best for long-haul flights, most noticeably to Australia.
7. Go to a quieter airport
It may take a little longer but a lot of money can be saved by flying to a less popular airport and either renting a car or taking a bus the rest of the way.
This is particularly true in America and also in Europe. For example, for Amsterdam it may be cheaper to fly to Rotterdam and take a 40-minute train the rest of the way. You’ve even got a new place to explore if you fancy it.
Let us know if you have any more nifty tricks to help fellow travellers get cheaper flights. Put them in the Comments section below and we’ll add them to the blog. In the meantime, good luck.
And to save money when you’re actually on holiday, sign up for a WeSwap prepaid travel money card. We’re up to 90% cheaper than competitors on the high-street and our app makes managing your money when you’re away easy as pie.