Read part 1
5. Add an extra destination
A direct flight to Boston from Europe can cost around £550 when a stopover for 10-20 hours at Reykjavik can reduce the price at £400 or even less! More and more people in nowadays consider the stopover option as they can save money (or, at least, do not spend more) and explore one more city at the price of one! Be aware of visa restrictions (if applied) but some cities offer visa-free for hours or even days under certain circumstances (Beijing, Saint-Petersburg etc.) so why not to take advantage of it? Take into account the extra costs for accommodation (if staying overnight), the meals and the transportation from/to the airport and voila! Two cities (or even two countries!) are waiting for you!
If you are up for a stopover but for fewer hours (without leaving the airport) ensure that the second flight departs from the same airport (London has 6 airports for example!) and that you have plenty of time to transfer between the terminals (if more than 1)- the airports websites usually have set up minimum times for such transfers. Please don’t forget that if you miss your self-connecting flight it is your responsibility to buy a new ticket – airlines have to refund/ offer a new ticket only if the two flights are bought under the same ticket.
This method requires time-consuming research regarding the cities that are connected with your final destination, the airlines that operate these routes, the dates and times that work for you etc. However, I definitely recommend this kind of travelling as I have saved hundreds (if not thousand!) of pounds/ euros since I moved to London – have you ever tried to travel to/from Athens in August or in December? Well, think twice if so! I have been to different cities in Turkey, Hungary, Germany, Italy, Denmark, Belgium, Poland etc. thanks to this addictive procedure!
Half-price ticket from Greece to UK through Denmark and enough time to visit the aquarium in Copenhagen, Den Blå Planet!
6. Where to look for tickets
Everyone who hasn’t quit this long post yet should have realised that I love Skyscanner! I consider it one of the most reliable search machines with amazing options (some of them have been already described at Part 1 ) and I always search on that first. However, as it comes with some cons, you should not rely on that only. For example, you cannot find EVERY airline there -especially the low-cost or the small domestic ones- so you have to be careful and look for flights on other platforms too.
Momondo is an other major flight searcher similar to Skyscanner but once more, if you wish to travel in a country for the very first time, do your research online for every airline operating in that country and then visit their websites too. Sometimes the best deals come directly from the airlines as there is no middleman to grab a commission but that’s not always the case. Google flights is also a good tool, Kayak is very popular with many affiliate smaller websites and the App Hopper has been proved useful too – even if it’s not the common flight search machine. Last but not least, the seasonal deals are always welcome – I have subscribed to many airlines newsletter so far, thirsty for their next offer! Why don’t you do the same?
One more tip here : The offers from the airlines tend to follow the retail market rules- for example Black Friday Deals, Mid-season Offers, Flash Sales, January Clearance etc. So, when your favourite store marks everything down, check the airlines websites too!
7. Time for Mile
Every airline (apart from some low-cost or small ones) has a loyalty members program for their clients and it offers points / miles etc. that can be spent on flights and products afterwards. Even if you don’t travel often you should have at least one account – collecting is actually free money! It’s not that difficult to collect points- in fact, many companies offer this option not only from flights but from products and other services too – you can even have a partnered credit card to collect double points from products you would buy anyway! In my case, I have about 5 accounts from major airlines that accumulate points from manyyyy different airlines worldwide and a Nectar card (UK) which is very useful as you can collect points from nearly everything (gas, Argos, eBay, super markets etc. ) and then spend them on holiday deals!
My shoes ready to travel abroad!
8. Currency can be your friend
Being in Poland in 2015 with no return flight was such a pain (for my pocket!) but as I was unsure if I would have to go back to London or to Athens (being a freelance footwear designer can be quite unpredictable!) I had to book a flight very last minute. I was so desperate for the cheapest option for Athens that I was looking even on Polish websites that I didn’t know their existence before – and believe me I don’t speak a word in Polish!! Soon after, I realised that the same flights were slightly cheaper on the Polish websites even after the currency exchange and the bank fee! Finally, I booked the flight about £20 cheaper and since then, I have been checking websites with different currencies than Euro or GBP. For flights that are anyway cheap enough the difference after the fees is not worth the effort but for international and long-distance ones please consider this option too!
Goodbye Poland! You’ve been so kind to me!