If you’re travelling abroad your for holiday in 2016 then the flights are a significant part of your budget. Even destinations closer to home, such as Ibiza or Paris, see flight prices shoot up now that we are into the summer months. However, it’s still possible to pay less for your holiday this year by working out how to find the most cheap flights online. Here are a few tips:
Switch your dates
We all know that flight prices shoot up around peak times and can be double – or even triple – the cost as at a different time of year. One clever trick that often works is to book a flight for a non-peak time and then amend your booking after the event. You need to book a flexible fare for this kind of switch and be warned that it doesn’t always work. However, if you manage it successfully then you’ll have paid only the date change fee, rather than the difference between the full price peak fare and the out of season fare.
How much do you know?
If you’ve already decided where you want to go – and when – then the best way to find cheap flights is to use a price comparison site (e.g. Skyscanner or Expedia) as this will show you who is offering the lowest cost flights to your chosen destination on your chosen dates. If, on the other hand, you are not tied down to a specific date and you’re happy to be more flexible about destination then you can search with individual travel companies or airlines and just look for their cheapest deals.
Book flights and hotels together
The more of your holiday that you’re willing to book in one place, the more likely you are to be offered a discount from the business you book with. Booking cheap flights and accommodation separately is always more expensive than combining the two and you will have more protection too – ATOL protects flight and accommodation bookings made with the same company on the same day, even if the booking is not a package deal.
Take a stopover
If you’re going long haul for your holiday this year then consider adding a little extra travelling time to bring prices right down. Most of us will automatically select ‘direct route only’ when we’re booking airfares, particularly if we’re already looking at a substantial travel time. However, you could slash a third off the cost of your airfare – perhaps more – by taking a stopover instead. This could add as little as an hour to the duration of your flight but will considerably reduce the cost. If you’re travelling with children then a longer itinerary may seen a bit intimidating but remember that long haul cheap flights these days have a lot of inbuilt entertainment, as well as kids meals and flight packs.
Be a real last minute booker
If you have the freedom to travel at the last minute and you’re super flexible about your holiday then some of the best deals are available on the day of travel – or the day before. Browse the options for flights leaving within half a day or so and simply choose the cheapest one. At this time of year when much of Europe is hot and sunny there’s a very broad range of choice available and you’ll be able to find a sun holiday at a rock bottom price if you pick up a seat at the last minute.
Keep a close eye on social media
Summer is the time for sales and airlines are no different. Many travel businesses have started to use their social media accounts to promote seasonal discount sales so follow and like all those that may come in useful and then keep an eye on your feed. Look out for last minute flight sales that offer flights within the month – airlines use these to shift seats they don’t believe will sell and so there are some fantastic discounts.
Go for the red eye
The overnight flight remains the cheapest, whether you’re going to New York or the heart of Europe. If you’re willing to fly at antisocial hours then you can slash the cost of your travel – just make sure that you can get to the airport in time to make it through security and onto your flight. It’s worth remembering that public transport stops in the early hours and the cost of a taxi could amount to the same that you save on the fare so be sure to check this in advance.
For more money saving top tips take a look at our website.
Oliver Jones has written for Solution Loans since 2015. His passion for personal finance comes through in the 150+ blog posts he's written since that time. His talent for explaining all things money means he's covered topics as diverse as...Read more about Oliver Jones