From carefully choosing your destination to packing light, shipping your bags ahead or going out of season, there are lots of ways you can save money on your holiday and make it more enjoyable. But when it comes to travelling, your airline tickets can be one of the most expensive parts of your trip – especially if you’re flying long haul.
And this still applies even when you’re going to a destination that is otherwise understood to be budget-friendly. Just because food and accommodation might be cheap there, you still need to get to your chosen destination without breaking the bank.
The good news is that we have lots of handy tips and tricks you can use to help you save money on your flights – and you can check these out below.
1. Use comparison websites
Flight aggregators like Skyscanner or Momondo can be an easy and effective way to find the cheapest deals for your long haul flights. These sites will search through dozens of other airlines and marketplaces, comparing the cost of different flights and presenting you with the best results.
Not only this, but these sites will also offer suggestions for the cheapest months, days and times to fly. This can be very helpful, even if you don’t find the right flight using their website. You’ll see why next.
2. Fly at cheaper times
Following on from the above, having a better understanding of the cheapest times to fly can really help you to save money. If you are able to be flexible with your flight times, you stand a better chance of bagging a bargain.
For example, weekdays are often cheaper than weekends; in particular, Tuesday is recognised as one of the cheapest days to fly. Equally, flying in months like November and January can also save you money.
So, wherever you can, it’s a good idea to be a bit flexible about when you fly and deliberately target the quieter and cheaper times.
3. Don’t be afraid of stopovers
Often it’s tempting to look for direct flights only to avoid the hassle of having to take a break mid-flight and have to take off, land and the plane board twice. However, because they are more convenient, direct flights are often a lot more expensive.
If you’re serious about saving money on your flights, don’t be afraid of stopovers, particularly if these are longer breaks. It might feel a little inconvenient, but try to look at it as another part of your trip. Plus, you’ll feel good in the knowledge that you’ve saved yourself some money.
And hey, if your stopover is long enough, you might even have time to leave the airport and explore new places while you wait for your connecting flight.
4. Think about where you fly from and too
When we’ve decided on a destination for a trip, we typically start by searching for flights from our nearest airport to our chosen destination. However, you might not know that travelling a little further afield can save you a lot of money.
If you’re staying in a big city, consider flying to smaller airports outside of the city and travelling in instead. For example, if you’re flying to or from London, flying to Stansted rather than Gatwick can reduce the cost of your flights.
5. Split your ticket fares
Believe it or not, breaking your journey down into smaller legs can actually save you money. If you’re flying halfway around the world, think about a logical place you could stop in between, perhaps even two or three stops and then add up the overall cost of these multiple tickets. You can then compare the split fares to a direct ticket and see if you can save money.
The only downside with this approach is that if your first or even second flight is delayed, you could end up missing your next flight. This means you could end up forfeiting your other tickets entirely. So if you’re going to take this approach, be sure to leave enough time between each flight just in case of delays or issues.
6. Take the ‘hidden city’ approach
There is something called the ‘hidden city’ approach, which is a bit of a loophole when it comes to booking tickets. This is something that airlines obviously don’t like people to do, but essentially, this is the practice of finding a cheaper flight with a layover in your chosen destination.
An example might be, you want to travel to Singapore, but flights are too expensive. However, you find a cheaper ticket to Australia with a layover in Singapore. So you buy the ticket to Australia, stopover in Singapore and just don’t catch your connecting flight.
7. Clear the cookies on your computer
It might seem crazy, but there are lots of hidden factors that can influence the price of flights. If you’re frequently looking online at tickets to Mexico, airlines or travel websites can keep track of your cookies. From this, they can learn that you are planning on buying tickets to Mexico, and they will inevitably up their prices.
By simply clearing your cache and the cookies on your computer, you’ll be surprised how much you can reduce the cost of a flight. Either that or use incognito/private mode or turn on a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to protect your data. This can be all it takes for you to see a reduction in the prices of long haul flights.
8. Collect rewards elsewhere
Finally, there are lots of ways you can collect rewards that help you save money on flights. For example, there are lots of credit cards that offer travel rewards on larger purchases. So if you use your credit card regularly for other things, you could be racking up flyer miles or money to spend with selected travel companies.
Not only this, but if you fly a lot, whether that’s for business or pleasure, some airlines will allow you to build up flyer miles which you can then use to get cheaper flights. If you’ve got enough points, you might even be able to bag a flight for free!