Flight tickets’ prices are going through the roof, especially during the holiday season. And while you can try to find a budget accommodation, or save yourself the expenses of eating out or buying souvenirs, well, it’s not like you can choose an alternative mode of travel if the airline tickets are too expensive for you. Or can you?
Even though flight tickets are often the greatest expense of your trip, you can still travel on a budget if you’re smart about it and understand how the airline travel works. Prices are determined based on competition, demand and supply, and oil prices and though you can’t do much about these four factors, you can still score cheap flights if you know how to look for them.
The easiest way to travel cheap is by being flexible. As already mentioned, holiday times are usually the most expensive time to travel – this includes winter and summer holidays, school vacations, Easter holiday and more, and sometimes even a day difference can make for huge savings. As a rule of thumb, the days after a major holiday are usually the cheapest, and early morning or late evening flights tend to be more affordable. Additionally, you can save yourself a fortune if you’re also flexible with your destination. There are certain locations which can only be reached by a few flights so airfare is outrageously expensive; moreover, certain destinations might be more affordable during different times of the year.
If you have more time on your hands – and you should, if you want to score the cheapest flights – you can also research budget airlines and alternative routes. There are more than a dozen budget airlines servicing Europe (America, unfortunately, has only a few) and even though these offer fewer perks than the major companies, the low prices are definitely worth it. However, keep in mind that budget airlines usually tend to land in airports which might be further away from the city centre so always check in advance – you’re not really saving much if you have to pay for an one-hour journey by taxi just to get from the airport to the city.
It’s also a good idea to invest some time into scouting alternative routes. If you’re flying from America to Paris, for instance, the direct airfare will probably cost you around $900-1000; if you opt for booking one flight to Dublin, and then choosing a budget airline to transport you to Paris, you can save yourself as much as $300. In most cases, alternative routes will take longer but the savings can be substantial.
Last but not least, always make sure to check multiple sites, or use a site that compares airfares from the most of the airlines from across the world. Websites such as Expedia, for instance, often fail to list budget airlines, and even the best airline search sites might miss a few details.
Clear your cookies before doing your search – there’s still an ongoing debate whether booking sites and airlines actually track your previous searches, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry!
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