How to save money when buying Airline tickets
Travelling, even just for a couple days in another city or town can be expensive. I know how it feels when you get that compelling sense of wanderlust to travel and experience somewhere new but money is short and you just can’t afford the luxury. Or so you thought. What if I told you how you could save money buying airline tickets and make that dream trip more of a reality? In the last couple of years, I’ve been lucky enough to travel a lot. Bali, Thailand (on multiple occasions), Singapore, Portugal, Rome, New York. I’ve built up quite the repertoire of tips and tricks to saving money to travel. Particularly where expensive airline tickets are concerned. I don’t have rich parents. I don’t have a well-paid job (which I’m leaving in March to travel). And up until last September, I was pretty damn poo at saving money. So in the past few years, I’ve learnt a thing or two about buying plane tickets on a budget!
See Also: How I saved £5,000 in 6 months to travel
USE A PRIVATE SEARCH BROWSER
When you visit a website, your browser stores cookies and information based on websites you’ve visited previously. New websites can access this information to learn about your browsing patterns. What you’ve searched for recently.
In short, if you’re searching for hotels in Prague and then head to the British Airways website, BA can use the information stored in your cookies as an indicator that you’re interested in flights to Prague. It is possible for them to increase the price of flights in an attempt to improve their profits. It’s unlikely that this will happen from just your search alone, however if multiple people are doing the same thing, BA would be silly not to act on this.
Using a Private Browser on Safari or going Incognito on Chrome, stops your browser from storing your search information, meaning you can guarantee the the prices you see on screen are true examples of prices for everyone!
BE CONSIDERATE ABOUT WHEN YOU TRAVEL
Flying at times that would be inconvenient to the less flexible traveller will save you money.
Parents with children going on holiday are more likely to fly at the weekends, outside of work and school obligations. Whereas, Business men and women are likely to fly earlier in the week and in the mornings. Flight tickets for days and times less desirable to family’s and business’ tend to have smaller price tags. Like a red-eye flight or flight that lands at a inconvenient time of the day.
DO YOU REALLY NEED HOLD BAGGAGE?
This goes without saying, but unless you’re flying halfway across the world, chances are your airline, especially budget airlines like Easyjet, will charge you more for hold luggage. On some airlines, you can save up to £50 for flying with just hand luggage!
DON’T PRE-BOOK YOUR SEATS!
Budget airlines make their money from looking cheap on the outside but adding additional fee’s as you proceed with your booking. Such as charging up to £20 per person to pre-book seats.
If you can, consider not securing seats until you check in. Most airlines allow you to check-in 24 hours in advance and if you’re quick on the mark, you shouldn’t have a problem getting seats with at least one of your travel partners if you check-in online!
I’ve never done this before, my anxiety would never allow for such a thing. But I know people who have and for some, this is the only way they fly! You turn up at the airport, purchase a ticket for some of the cheapest prices and get to board on the next available plane with spare seats to your destination! It couldn’t be easier.
Standby fairs are based on no-show’s. When someone doesn’t show up for their flight, their seat is auctioned off at a fraction of the price. It sounds like a great deal and is a great deal, as long as you don’t mind waiting around. It’s definitely an option for the more easy going, budget traveller.
WHEN TO BUY
There’s a lot of myth that buying flight tickets months and months in advance will get you the best deals. But in actual fact, prices tend to be highest when they go on sale because airlines still have a lot of time to shift their empty seats! In contrary to that however, buying flights last minute won’t save you much buck either because even though flight companies want to fill their seats, they’ll most likely have already made enough money to profit on that flight. So last minute fairs are just brucy bonus.
The best time to book is actually 6 weeks before departure.
BE ON THE LOOK OUT FOR SALES
Just like the best deals and bargains in your local shopping mall are found around Boxing Day, there are particular times of the year to search for flights too. January will see to a whole host of travel deals, especially because airlines know people want something warm to look forward to once during the colder Winter months. Another great time to book flights and holidays is in the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales. Even though they are ‘events’ unique to the United States, British companies have capitalised on the benefit of sales and some of the best deals I’ve had have been around Thanks Giving. We’re talking £99 for three nights in Prague, flights, 3* hotel and breakfast included!
Another no brainer. Obviously, the first search you do isn’t going to be the best. Using websites like Sky Scanner and Kayak are great ways to compare lots of flights from different sources all at once. Google flights always pulls up some interesting fairs. And STA is another good one, particularly if you’re under the age of 25.
Once I’ve found a good price, I tend to shop the airline website too. So if I’ve found a Virgin flight to New York for £310, i’ll check if there is a similar price direct with Virgin. If not, giving them a ring and explaining that you’ve found a good deal but would prefer to shop direct normally works to secure a good deal. And you always get good customer points shopping directly.
BUY A GIFT? GROUPON?
Whilst discount websites seem like you’re falling into a trap of no return, reputable sites such as Buy A Gift and Groupon are great for finding Black Friday-like prices all year round! However, always be sure to read the T&C’s and be comfortable with the company your buying through.
KNOW YOUR DESTINATION
This sounds silly, but knowing when the low and high seasons are at your destination could save you a lot of buck too. As much as not travelling in the School holidays will save you money in Europe. Destinations further afield might be your go to at this time of year. Countries in the East suffer from typhoons and monsoons, the Phuket rainy season runs from June – September so travelling at this time will be much cheaper. Monsoon season doesn’t mean it’s going to be raining 24/7 so it’s a risk worth taking.
SEE ALSO: How to plan a round-the-world trip
So, still awake? This was a long one, but I really wanted to get in as much information as possible. These tips and tricks have kept me travelling around the world on a budget for the past 3 years and hopefully continue to do so this year! If you have any tips I haven’t mentioned, I’d be very intrigued to hear all about them in the comments below.