Many people spend their entire lives dreaming about travelling around the world and seeing new places. But when they get a chance to do it, they don’t quite realise just how much everything will cost!
Airline prices have jumped up dramatically over the past few years because of the high demand for fuel due to global climate change, so if you want your dream vacation or business trip to happen this year but don’t want to break your budget, then follow the tips and tricks I’ve picked up over the years below:
Book Your Tickets In Advance
Book your tickets as far in advance as possible. Airlines know that people are willing to pay more for last minute tickets, so the earlier you book, the better deal you’ll get.
According to CheapAir, international flights:
“ …stay fairly flat for a few months, then start to creep up slowly, until about 90 days before departure when the place of increase starts to accelerate.”
Be Flexible With Your Dates And Times
Sometimes choosing to fly a day earlier or later can save you hundreds, so consider exploring all options within the time frame you’re available. If you’re not too picky about when you travel, you may also want to consider travelling during the off-season as flights are usually much cheaper then.
Personally, I tend to travel off-season only, as the difference in flight prices are HUGE. This means July and August are usually travel-free months for me.
Make Sure You’re Comparing Prices Between Different Airlines
Compare prices between different airlines. Sometimes one airline will be cheaper than another even if they’re flying to the same destination, so it’s definitely worth shopping around. You may actually be surprised at what you can find!
Save a Bundle By Flying On Weekdays Or During Unsociable Hours
Save a bundle by flying on weekdays. Planes are less full, and you’re more likely to get assigned an empty middle seat that no one else wants if you fly during the workweek rather than at rush hour on Friday or Sunday evening. Alternatively, flying at unsociable hours is also a great way to save money. No one wants to land at 3 am in the morning when their check-in isn’t until 10 am, right?
Buy Tickets As Part Of A Package Deal Or With A Tour
Another way to save money on flights is to buy tickets as part of a package deal or with a tour. This can be especially helpful if you’re travelling to a destination where airfare is much more expensive, like the USA, Asia or Australia.
If you’re planning an all-inclusive holiday, your flights will be included in the total cost so this is also something else you could consider.
Use Aggregate Flight Sites To Book Your Flights
Another way to save money on flights is to use aggregate flight sites. Search engines will compare different websites for you and come up with the best deals at that time so it’s an easy option when searching online.
Look Out For Extra Charges & Fees When You Book Flights Online
Look out for extra charges and fees when you book flights online. These can quickly add up and eat into your budget, so it’s important to be aware of them before you book. Some airlines now charge for check-in bags, priority boarding and even seat selection so make sure you know what these will cost you and decide whether or not they’re essential for your trip.
Consider Flying Carry-on Only To Save Money
Consider flying carry-on only to save money. This can be a great option if you don’t have too much luggage or if your trip is relatively short. Most airlines now offer a generous weight allowance for hand luggage, so it’s worth checking the restrictions before you pack.
For tips and tricks when it comes to packing carry-on only, I’ve shared my best tips in this handy guide.
Look At Alternative Routes Or Airports To Save Money
If you’re flexible with your travel dates and don’t mind a bit of extra travelling, then it’s worth looking at alternative routes or airports. Sometimes, flying from a different airport can save you quite a bit of money.
I’ve found that the aggregator flight sites (like Skyscanner) are really good for finding alternative airports to fly from and Rome2Rio is great for finding out how long it will take you to get to your final destination.
If you’ve never used it before, Rome2Rio is also a great way to find out if flying is actually the best option. Often, you may find yourself looking at flights when really, a train or coach would get you there much cheaper. Thankfully, Rome2Rio also shares how long each journey takes, so you can way up your options based on time, cost and even eco-friendliness!
Be Flexible On Destination To Save Money
If you’re flexible with your destination, then it’s worth checking out cheap flights that go via a different city or country. For example, if you normally fly direct but can change destinations for a small fee, make the most of these routes and save yourself some money.
Similarly, if you have no destination in mind, consider using ‘anywhere, anytime’ filters on aggregate sites to find out where the cheapest places to fly are AND the cheapest months. I have found lots of flights for around £5-10 using this trick and honestly, they’ve been some of the best trips I’ve been on. Poland, I’m looking at you.
Sign-up For Flight Alerts and Newsletters
Another way to save money on your flights is to sign up for newsletters and alerts from airlines, travel agents or websites. This way, you’ll be the first to know about any special offers or discounts that are available. My favourite, along with many of my friends, is Jacks Flight Club. They send regular newsletters with cheap flights and occasional error fares, so if you regularly book flights or you love a spontaneous trip (like me) then it’s a great way to find awesome deals.
Book flights with a layover
Another way to save money on your next flight is to book one that has a stop. This can be done at any point during the booking process and doesn’t cost anything extra (although it could mean an overnight stay). For example, if you booked a flight from London to Sydney with a stopover in Bangkok, you would save money on the overall flight price.
Become a frequent flyer
Finally, one of the best ways to get cheaper flights is to become a frequent flyer member with the airline. This usually means signing up for their loyalty programme and then collecting points each time you fly.
These points can then be redeemed for free flights, upgrades or other perks. So, if you’re planning on taking a lot of trips in the next year or two, it’s worth signing up for as many loyalty programmes as possible.
If you want to stick to just one loyalty programme, finding one that has multiple airlines in which you can redeem points is your best bet. There’s more info on this over at The Points Guy, as I am most certainly not an expert in this area! I’ve only just recently signed up for a rewards programme, oops.
Wait For The Sales
Although it might be a little bit more inconvenient, waiting for the sales to fly can save you a lot of money. Most airlines have sales at least once a year, and some have them multiple times throughout the year. By waiting until these sales come around, you can snag yourself a ticket for way less than if you’d booked it at full price.
I know lots of people that only ever book their travel during ‘Black Friday’ or ‘New Year’ sales, so it’s definitely worth considering if you know where you’re thinking of going in 2022.
What are your top money-saving tips when it comes to booking flights? Let me know if I am missing anything!