How To Hunt For A Bargain Flight
After two years of being couped up at home, we’d be forgiven for hopping on a plane pronto to satisfy our wanderlust. Paying for flights to get to our destination of choice, however, can be one of the pricier aspects of the trip, often trumping accommodation and spending money in value. But it needn’t be that way.
With a little know-how and a pinch of effort, you can cut down on costs and find bargain tickets for a fraction of the full price. Here are our top tips on finding the best deals this year.
Cross-check comparison sites
There are scores of flight comparison websites out there churning out rundowns of the cheapest tickets, but each site is different. Many of the more famous sites won’t list the cheaper airlines because they work on booking commission for the advertising space. Some refuse to list booking sites that aren’t directly translated into English. To get the most out of them, it is best to use more than one and cross-check the results with your dates and destinations. Particular favourites of ours include Google Flights, Skyscanner and Momondo.
Make a stop or two
Willing to sacrifice a little convenience for great savings? Think outside the box and consider flying with a stop or two along the way. Flying to the Caribbean, for example, might work out to be cheaper if you stop off in the US and change to a budget carrier for the rest of the journey. Google Flights may well be your best friend when it comes to trying this travel-hacking tip.
Or cross-check prices at nearby airports – it could well be that using the train or coach for the final part of the journey will give you a better deal, and show you a little more of your destination than you might have seen otherwise.
Stay in the know
Create an email folder specifically for flight deals, sign up to a bunch of airline mailing lists and travel booking newsletters, and stay on top of the latest offers. The more flexible you can be about destinations and dates, the more useful you’ll find this method – especially if you can make a last-minute bargain work for you. If your dream destination is more specific, it’s still worth the effort of looking for newsletters that cater for that region. It takes a little time to research and some self-motivation to keep reading, but it’s one of the best ways to make sure you don’t miss out on any amazing offers.
Sign up for rewards
Make sure you remember to sign up for travel rewards cards, which are one of the best ways to cut the cost of your holiday, especially for frequent travellers and bookers. By doing this, you can earn free flights, hotel stays and enjoy other perks like flight upgrades, access to plush airport lounges and even tickets to free events. Don’t be put off if you fly only very occasionally – there are still miles to be earned and bonus rewards to be gifted. Do a thorough sweep of offers available with any airline you book with, as well as booking sites, and get applying.
Check out other currencies
Much like you would check exchange rates before taking out cash in a different currency for a trip overseas, be sure to consider the rate of the local currency of your destination. If it’s much weaker than the pound, searching airfares in those countries can produce cheaper flight alternatives. For example, booking under the Thai version of an airline rather than the UK version could save you enough to splash more cash when you get there. Just remember to use a no-foreign-transaction-fee card when you’re booking to avoid getting stung by surcharges.
Finally, lest we forget, flights vary a great deal in price depending on what day of the week you travel, what time of year, and whether it coincides with holidays like Christmas, New Year, or national holidays at your destination – so find these out in advance.
It’s also worth being flexible about where you are travelling. Europe is a popular continent for family trips in August, for example, when children are on their summer holidays. Choose a country less travelled than Spain, Greece or France, or head further afield to take advantage of travel opportunities elsewhere.
Wherever you’re planning on flying to this year make sure to pack a Switched On travel insurance policy for total peace of mind, including automatic cover for a range of COVID-19 related issues. Plus for added protection if you’re flying to Europe take a look at Switched On’s COVID-19 PROTECT add on. You can find out more here.
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