Budget breaks: booking the best value flights
by Leanne Capuano | Updated 14 March 2019 | Posted in General
The moment you decide to take a holiday is exciting, planning what you’ll want to do and where you’d want to go gives you that fluttery feeling of anticipation in your stomach, but very soon the classic frustrations of booking a flight quickly surface. People start to offer their advice, “book early” vs “wait until the last minute,” while giving their poorly educated opinion based on other people’s advice and myths discovered on the internet, which leads to the million-pound question; “When is the best time to book a flight?” And is there some sort of cheap flight algorithm, which others have cracked and you are left scratching your head? There is a whole wealth of knowledge out there and some of it can be a little confusing. But, never fear, we have scoured the internet to find you the most relevant information, which will help when your booking your 2017 break.
Sometimes one helpful hint is enough to crack a confusing subject, booking flights is no different. These are just some general rules you may not know, but they can help you save money and get you to your dream holiday a little quicker.
- Check for a one-way ticket first
It can be tempting to find something that seems reasonable and suits all your needs after the first try, but sometimes you may need to do things a little differently to save money. So, try searching for a one-way ticket for one person, it’ll take longer but save you more.
- Don’t just consult one comparison site
We all have our trusted sites and this is true when it comes to comparing flights, but don’t always go for the price of one site. Some airlines aren’t checked by certain comparison sites whereas others work on a metasearch basis (like Skyscanner, Momondo etc.) This means airlines use upselling techniques.
- Book on a Tuesday afternoon for cheapest deals.
It is said Tuesday afternoon is the best time to book your flights. Airlines release last-minute tickets for weekend flights and other sites will be posting competing flights, so Tuesday afternoon is the best time to book.
- Stopping over on long-haul flights could save you loads of money
Travelling on a long-distance flight is exhausting, and getting there as soon as possible is the mentality for most of us. But, if you take your time and choose a flight with a stop-over, it could save you hundreds of pounds and give you the chance to see another country.
- Only take hand-luggage
It’s amazing what you can put in one tiny bag. If you pack carefully, you’ll start saving money on checking-in bags. Budget airlines such as Ryanair charge around £20 per bag, during the low season and as much as £30 during peak times. Plus, it means you don’t have to hang around waiting for your luggage after you arrive in the country.
- Watch for hidden extras
Some airlines have been known to sneak in an extra charge or two without you realising. Easyjet can charge between £11.99 and £19.99, depending on the time of year, for allocated seating. So, make sure you check your booking through carefully and when it comes to checking-in don’t add on any extras, regardless of how tempting they sound.
- Your kids can save you money
Not all airlines charge the same for children. British Airways give a discount to children under the age of 12 on certain carriers and some airlines will give families with small children priority boarding, free of charge, making travelling with young children a little less stressful.
The canals of Venice, the Eiffel Tower in Paris, Park Guell in Barcelona, all these sights are a few hours away and it’s never been easier to see them. The key to finding any budget flight to a European country is to book at least five weeks in advance. Although, some countries have the option to book a little later. Spain advises four weeks in advance, but any later and the prices will start to skyrocket.
Asia is famed for its unique culture, from the scintillating delights of Thailand to the technological wonders of Japan. But, exploring this vast and wondrous continent is a costly affair. To really get value for your money, it’s best to book seven months in advance, any later than this and the prices will shoot up and you may not be able to afford to go.
Although the U.S. has received some bad press lately, it’s still a very popular holiday destination and a costly one too. But, if you’re desperate to take your children to Disney world this year then consider booking at least five months in advance for the best price. Although you may consider staying somewhere a little different to Disney world, it could save you a lot of money.