Travelling can be quite expensive. Travelling can be quite cheap as well. When it comes to money, less is more so here are some tips that may help you organising cheaper trips. And guess what! Cheap trips can lead to more frequent ones!
Based on my experience of the past 6 years, I have managed to travel at least 8 times per year since 2012 – when , before that, I used to travel only 2-3 times annually- using mainly the tips below! Well… usually more than one every time and I have overused the No. 2 and 4! Not bad, right?
1. Be flexible
I can’t stress this enough. If you are willing to travel only throughout Xmas/ Bank Holiday/ Summer Break etc., yes you have to accept that you will pay very expensive flight tickets. Avoid peak periods and If you can’t , try to be flexible with departing and returning dates – even on a peak period travelling on Friday will be more expensive than on Tuesday and a flight on December 25 will be much cheaper than on 24! Consider what people usually want (not to spend New Year’s Eve at midnight on air for example! But I did it in 2015 when I had neither money nor a cheaper option and I paid nearly half price!) and plan accordingly.
On the other hand, if you are flexible you will end up spending much less! For example, you already know that you are going to have some days off in February but you don’t have set up dates yet. That’s perfect! Browse www.skyscanner.net and search for flights for the ENTIRE month instead of some specific (even flexible) dates. When you notice which dates/ week seem(s) to be the cheapest one(s), open a new tab and search for those dates independently as, sometimes, if you select your flights from the first window the return flight can be more expensive rather than the same flight from the second window! I don’t know why but as it has happened to me few times I don’t risk it anymore! Don’t forget to wide your dates even more if possible (you may come back on March 1st or leave on January 30th?) as you never know which date will be the cheapest. As a general rule, Fridays and Sundays are the most expensive days while Tuesdays and Wednesdays the cheapest ones! Surprisingly, Saturdays fares are not that expensive so don’t skip this option!
2. Choose wisely
The destination is probably the most important decision that you have to make. However try to avoid popular destinations when everyone wants to go at the same time! Why travel to Greece in August when the warm temperatures last for months? If you haven’t any particular destination in mind the best you can do is to hop on www.skyscanner.net again and type Everywhere / Flexible in the destination box! In that way you will see all the available options for your desirable dates of travel starting from the cheapest fares! Amazing, right? Start exploring all the destinations (don’t undervalue anything!) and your next trip may be in an unexpected country or a city that you didn’t know that exists! Using that method, I have travelled to Marrakech, Luxemburg, Pula (Croatia), Basel (Switzerland), Gdansk (Poland) and many other cities and I didn’t regret it! At the end of the day, who can say no to some £20 return flights?
3. Book in advance
…but not too early! While the last minute bookings lead to higher fares and costs, planning too early is not advisable either. 60 days (54 for domestic flights) is the recommended by travel experts time frame for most of the destinations as airlines tend to lower their prices at that point – before they climb up again! Keep in mind that low costs airlines (Ryanair, I am talking to you!) once they go higher it’s extremely unlikely for their prices to go back (unless they run a promotion afterwards) so, if you find a price you are happy with don’t waste time! In general don’t wait too much especially for popular destinations / peak season and don’t rely on clearing browser cookies process to lower the prices for you last minute! Some people really believe that this method offers cheaper results while others doubt if it works at all. I have tried that a few times but I don’t really use it anymore. Last-minute booking may be considered bad option but there are few airlines who offer last minute crazy deals for not fully booked air planes. Last but not least, if you are lucky enough you may even find a mistake fare! Buy it and then pray for not to be refunded by the airline!
4. Look for alternative airports
Are you dreaming of Venice but flight tickets are above the sky? Well, look for alternative airports! Treviso city is very approximate to Venice and has a well-connected airport. The city itself is beautiful anyway and I had the opportunity to explore it when there was no other (cheap!) option to fly back to London from Venice!
Open the Google Maps and look for airports around your destination or use once more the skyscanner and type the whole country as your destination instead of just the city – this also applies for your departure place, play around! Or use the option «Nearby airports». Then use the maps to locate the, sometimes unknown, airports and calculate the distance. Does the flight price difference worth the effort? Usually, yes! Will you be able to wander in that city too? Even better! This is a time consuming process but as it comes with experience after a while it’s not an extra effort ! For example, I flew to Tanzania from Birmingham airport as the flights were about £70 cheaper than from/to London and I already knew from my past trips that it takes approximately the same time to reach the airport in Birmingham from London (depending on your location) and the train tickets can start for as low as £6 each way! You don’t have to start from scratch every time (especially if you live in one place permanently) and you will soon realise that small airports have usually many unexpected connections with low cost airlines ! Too good to be true? Trust me, you will be pleasantly surprised by the amount of airports you had no idea about!
To be continued…