The most expensive part of the trip is usually the plane ticket, it can even double the price of your trip. So, we’ve conjured up our best tips that we always use to find the best deals possible!
Be Flexible With Dates and Destination
If you have a rough idea of when you want to travel, then use that to your advantage! It’s often cheaper to fly certain routes on random days of the week- and a lot of comparison sites will show you the price comparisons for each day. This also has a flip option, if your dates are fixed- don’t be fixed on the destination. Skyscanner is great for this- select the dates you are available to fly on, then choose “everywhere” as the destination. It then sorts by cheapest to more expensive counties from your departure point. We’ve used this multiple times for trips including- Latvia, Milan and more recently Saxony in Germany. This can add an extra thrill to your trip, as it might bring up options you’d never normally consider or even know about! Be spontaneous.
That brings us nicely onto the next massive tip…
Use Comparison Sites !!
As always with any sort of travel- compare! Difference here is, we usually book direct after comparing. Unlike a lot of the hotel comparison sites which have amazing functionality, flight ones struggle or have a lot of steps if an issue arises (examples to follow…). Sites like Skyscanner, Expedia, Opodo all do a decent job at comparing- even Google has a flight section where you can zoom around on a map and see prices for each destination. We typically use Skyscanner though for its ability to search everywhere, and show prices before committing to a date. Once you have your destination and airline chosen, it then lists all the different sites and how much it costs on them. This is where you’ll encounter random sites like trip.com, mytrip and of course direct with the airline (which is always worth a double check). Be flexible with using different airlines, modern day airports and airlines are very efficient and safe, don’t feel the need to stick to companies you know. If in doubt, check reviews on their websites .
Exception to the rule- Edreams/Opodo Prime. This is a subscription based deal with either Edreams or Opodo. For £60 a year it unlocks discounts on all flights- but it doesn’t seem to be great. However, do take advantage of the 30 day free trial- we’ve done this a few times as you can get some really good deals on short haul flights. Last year we managed to get return flights to Milan for the two of us for £38 total instead of £68. (That’s dinner sorted…) London to Cologne for £41 for two instead of £70 (ice cream and activity covered). If you’re doing a multi flight trip, or planning on booking a few flights in that 30 day period- definitely make the most of it. It does save a lot of money.
Although, we have had an issue or two with Edreams- you need to use a credit card to sign up to the trial, and so it takes a while to receive any refunds if the flight was cancelled (as you’re not dealing with the airline directly). Most recently we had to pay a verification fee to access our booking on Ryanair as it knew it had been booked via third party. This fee was literally only 50p, but an annoying verification process. Edreams can definitely have its benefits, see if it works for you- it’s worth a look at least. If you’ve got any questions about this, drop us a message on the website, on instagram or by email and we’ll happily explain it in more detail!
When Should I Book my Flights?
It all depends what you’re planning. A short haul flight that you’ve seen for £15 is unlikely to get any cheaper these days so snap it up asap before it goes up in price. For a long haul flight that you think could be a better price? Have a look around, give it a week- you might be able to spot some trends or see a sale coming up soon. However, generally prices only go up massively the nearer to the departure date you are, not down. Make sure to clear your cookies/cache when you search too! Some airlines and sites inflate the price after you’ve been browsing to panic you into buying on the spot, when actually the price hasn’t changed. The dates you fly can also make a difference, typically midweek departures and arrivals are much cheaper (Tuesday-Thursday), but a highly used commuter route might be cheaper at weekends, or superstitions like Friday the 13th as people are actually put off flying that day!! We flew to San Francisco on Friday 13th for a much lower price compared to the days surrounding it.
What Extras Do I Need on my Flight?
As we know, any short haul flight these days doesn’t include luggage other than a small under the seat bag. Remember this when browsing, as your £15 flight could very easily double if you want a bigger bag (more often than not it costs us more to bring a large carry on bag than ourselves). If you’re only going away for two nights though, do you need that extra bag? If you’re smart in what you pack and the bag you take, a small carry on might be just right so no extra cost needed! (Look at our how to pack smart page for tips… 🙂 ) We often take a small rucksack each for a few nights and have had no issues. We’ve also never had our bags measured/checked in the boxes as they’re on our backs and don’t look excessively large. Be mindful though, take a bag that can be squished a bit. If you’ve got a hard case and it’s too big, it’s too big, whereas a soft bag can be forced to size. Make sure you’re confident that what you’ve taken is what;s included in your ticket- the fees at the gate are huge if your bag is too big, too heavy or you have an extra bag.
How important is it that you sit together? Certain airlines allocate you next to each other for free at check in (EasyJet typically are good at this), whereas some purposefully split you up (Ryanair, Wizz) to make you pay extra. This is purely a personal preference, we don’t sit together (for short hauls) and enjoy the fun of where we’ll be randomly sat. However if you’re an anxious flyer or you want to sit together then go for it! When you book it’ll show you a seat map and how expensive each seat is so just choose the cheaper ones. Just note you could easily be looking at £50 each, after an extra bag and seat for what was initially a £15 flight, so bare all of this in mind. If you are going with random seats, we tend to check in towards the end of the allowed time, as the system tends to give away bad seats to those checking in first- so we regularly get extra leg room or seats near the front of the plane without paying.
What Airline Should I Fly With?
We tend to fly Ryanair- not because they’re our favourites, they just happen to be the cheapest. In the last year we’ve been on about 20 Ryanair flights, and only ever had one delay of 2 hours. All the other flights have been on time with zero problems. Every airline has to meet the same safety standards and for a 2 hour flight, is it worth paying £100 when you can do it at a fraction of that? To us, no. For such short haul flights, it feels like a coach ride rather than a plane journey anyway.
That’s all out tips for now, but we’re still learning! All of our hacks above do take a little bit of time and some thinking, but it really is worth it in the end. If you do have any questions at all do let us know!
Lauren & Adam 🙂