Affordability is a huge part of an enjoyable holiday. And since holidays invariably start with a journey, we thought it would be a good idea to look into flying on a budget.
In this blog post we focus on the usual suspects – cheap flights – and how to ensure you’re really flying on a budget. We’ve saved you the leg work and put together some tried and tested tips for keeping travel costs down.
Checking an airline’s website is certainly an important part of finding a well-priced fare, but you can spare yourself some of the effort by starting your search on price-comparison sites. Remember to check more than one – the same rules for shopping around apply here as anywhere else. Some suggestions from us:
- Create price alerts for chosen routes and compare airlines’ luggage and payment fees on Kayak.
- Skyscanner’s ‘Search everywhere’ option shows you available flights to any destination within your date range.
- Fans of Momondo include the CNN and the Daily Telegraph. Worth a try, then.
- Clear your the recent history (cache) of your browser if you are repeatedly checking prices on the same websites because they will be able to tell and have been known to crank up the prices as a result.
Sure, Friday afternoon may be your prime time for idly surfing the net and daydreaming about a trip away. But then so is your colleague, and, indeed, everyone else. So it’s unlikely airlines would be offering their best deals right then.
There isn’t a single perfect day for flight shopping, and days for deals releases vary across airlines. Still, a report by Expedia based on US figures recommends Tuesday as the best day to book and make the most of your pennies, provided you’re booking more than 3 weeks before departure.
Flight-comparison site Skyscanner advocates signing up to bulletins to receive word directly from an airline if and when their prices drop.
Becoming a club member and/or downloading the app could also provide a timely heads-up of discounts and offers. And in this age of fluctuating costs, that could just give you the edge when it comes to flying on a budget.
The pitfalls of travelling budget include costly hold luggage, airport check-in fees and automatic insurance charges. But let me guess – you fancy avoiding these and flying on a budget?
- Take hand luggage only, but measure the size of your preferred carry-on bag, and weigh it once packed, to ensure it meets the airline’s requirements. Here are some tips on travelling with hand-luggage only, courtesy of the Money Saving Expert:
- Check in online, rather than at the airport. Simply tick that ‘web check-in’ option, and save cash as well as time waiting in a check-in queue, breezing straight through to departures with your hand luggage.
- Before you press ‘pay’, make sure you un-tick any insurance charge the airline might have volunteered you for. You’ll still need good cover, of course – head to our insurance blog post for tips on finding affordable protection.
Check if tickets for your EasyJet flight are now being flogged more cheaply than when you bought yours – their price promise means you can claim the difference back as a voucher refund. Or book for the ‘wrong’ date on flexi-fare, then change your date for free – even if fares for the new flight are dearer.
Have a safe – and cheap – flight!
Updated 27 June 2018.