How To Book The Cheapest Flight or Holiday: 10 Tips To Help You Find The Best Deal
- Consider flights out of regional airports. Big hubs usually incur more expensive fees for the operator which often get passed down to the customer.
- Fly out of another country if you don’t mind a longer journey time e.g. If you live in the UK and want to fly to the USA, book your flight to depart from Dublin or Amsterdam. You will have to buy a separate return ticket to the UK but often this works out cheaper than an originating ticket from the UK. For example, if you live near London and want to travel to Florida, book a flight from Dublin to Orlando. (This is usually routed DUB-LHR-ORL and then return ORL- LHR-DUB) and then a separate ticket from LHR to Dublin return. N.B Remember to turn up to the flight segment in Dublin, even though the plane goes via LHR. Otherwise you will be noted as a ‘no-show’ and will not be able to board the flight. The notable downside is a longer trip so you will have to weigh the pros and cons of this when travelling with children.
- Book on a Tuesday or a Sunday and fly on a Tuesday or Wednesday. Traditionally these are the quietest flight times, hence the lower prices. Remember when researching a flight, the cookies on your search engine remember you and prices do go up, especially if you keep researching the same route. To find cheap flights, search for prices in ‘incognito’ mode. Try GoEuro travel search engine for deals by air, train and coach.
- Book flights earlier rather later. Last minute flights are not generally cheaper and once you get beyond the 3 week window prices seem to climb. Research from CheapAir in 2015 shows statistically 54 days before travel is the best time to book a cheap flight for domestic USA flights. Whereas SkyScanner revealed in January 2016 that seven weeks is the optimum time to book cheaper flights from the UK.
- Be flexible with dates and use the +/- 3 days option on booking forms to compare prices. If you can be flexible with your holiday and are prepared to wait last minute, you could find a real bargain through a tour operator. According to Money Saving Expert, booking ‘late’ ( between 8-10 weeks) is the best time to secure a cheaper package deal. Be wary though as if certain features are important to you like a kids’ club, babysitting etc, these places may already be booked up.
- Check what is included in your flight. The cheapest flight won’t necessarily be the best value if you have to add lots of extras. Research what the baggage allowance is and whether you have to pay for it and also check if free food and drink is provided. These costs all add up and you may find a better deal with larger carriers rather than a budget airline.
- Look out for flash sales and shop around for deals. Haggle with travel agents if you have seen the same holiday cheaper elsewhere, and see if any extras can be added.
- Research whether you can save by going all-inclusive or whether the same hotel or similar is cheaper self catering. Remember all the little incidentals like ice-creams and drinks soon add up.
- An obvious tip, but fly out of the school holidays if you can. Remember different area authorities may have different term dates; alternatively look for package holiday towards the end of a school holiday where you might find some better deals.
- Pay by debit card, as they do not usually incur a booking fee whereas credit cards often do.
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