Last months I’ve been watching over the prices of tickets and how and when tickets are a best buy. This post is about some hints and tricks one can use when finding cheap online tickets.
To my humble opinion I’d rather use other means of transport which don’t have the annoying security check-ins, the more sense of adventure and of course less polluting. But as we speak flying is the cheapest way of getting somewhere and a lot of times even the only. Compare the lowbudget companies in Europa with train travel and you can save up to eight times the price. Or boating overseas instead of flying ( on a cargo ship you pay around 100 dollars per day and it takes weeks) .
But without further a due, some information:
Be very flexible
Weekends are usually more expensive. Same goes for flights on more convenient times. Also I can wait a week if that saves half of the budget. Tuesday’s is usually the cheapest day of the week to fly
In general it is good to think about how airlines would do it in their pricing. Advertise for low prices at first, then raise prices as the plane fills up. Work this to your advantage.
Compare multiple sites
It’s hard to find good sites on the internet for searching flights. I really like Skyscanner.net. Don’t go for the first discount you see though. Finding the really cheap ones takes some time, internet skill and playing cybersherlock.
I once found a flight via D-reizen ( Dutch travel company ) to Sofia which was actually not available via the carrier. I paid via creditcard and their automatic system processed it, at which point it’s a valid contract between me and the company. They had to offer me a different (non-direct) flight and a 100 euro discount which made it even cheaper ( note this may not always work out and leave you stranded somewhere ).
Usually I start via Skyscanner checking for possible routes since they can list per country, to anywhere for instance ( I’m really flexible ) and per month , then check the sites of the carriers and company’s they list and check their sites. Think at which discount site they also might be selling ( google is your friend here ) and check them.
There are many tactics ( comment if you have a good one! ). One of them also is checking to fly from major hub to major hub ( like London ) and check local company’s to bring you to your destination. For instance it’s cheaper to fly from London to anywhere than from Amsterdam, but you can book a cheap ticket from Eindhoven to London (Ryanair) etc. Think about multiple ways to reach your destination.
Never believe the advertisement
Agency’s always promote ‘from’ prices at their websites. To get a more realistic feeling for the real price start the booking process and see what ‘extra’s’ add up to the price. Usually it’s extra fee for luggage but more and more company’s also add fees for check-in, creditcard payment ( recently 2.5%! ) and everything they can think of. See if the deal is still as attractive as it looked. It’s hard to walk away once lured into the process, but it might be worth it.
Also if you fly single way it might be worth checking out the return flight details, they are usually cheaper per flight and sometimes in total even cheaper than a single ticket. It’s possible to fly to the US for a few hundred euros from Europe, but single way is well over 1500 euros.
Probably there are many more things the creative traveler can do like booking really last second (never did this, experiences are very welcome!). The tricks I wrote about here are pretty straight forward and simple but I noticed that a lot of people don’t know them or use them.