The cost of a flight can have a significant impact upon the overall cost of your holiday, so I am sure that you are keen to get some tips on how to reduce the cost of your flights and airline tickets. Cheaper flights means the opportunity to have either a cheaper holiday, or more spending money for when you do reach your destination. So let us get started with some very handy tips for getting the cheapest possible flights.
Many of you may need only to take full cases one way on a trip such as if you have a holiday home or a permanent caravan in the south of France or somewhere on the Mediterranean. If you are paying for the luggage add-ons to bring the case both ways, there is a way you can actually save a nice chunk of money by only paying for the baggage one-way. This applies only of course to budget airlines such as Eastjey and Ryanair, who charge separately for the baggage needed on each leg of the journey. The way to save is by taking one the pound shop bags and which are known by many names, but in effect are large zipped laundry bags. What many people do not realise is that airlines tend to charge you by weight and not size. This means that any bag which is large, you can simply take as over-sized baggage and then when you come back you can simply either leave the £1 bag at your destination or fold it up and place it in your carry on bag.
Booking early really does produce the very best fares in many instances. The first few seats which are available seem to rarely get beaten, even with sale fares and late fares which can become available later on. Airline pricing strategies are certainly very complex and I will not try and explain them, but one tip is to try and be aware of when each airline releasing its new schedules. One example is Easyjet who release summer schedules normally at the end of October or the start of November. Winter schedules tend to be released around March annually.
Booking a return fare is often considered to be the cheapest way to buy air tickets. This is often though not the truth though and great savings can sometimes be made by booking two individual flights. Many airline booking sites make it easy for you to book individual flights segments and this is worth analysing. Several airlines also give you the chance to do a one week or one month view to see all flight prices at the same time This is a great way to quickly valuate the best dates and prices, for piecing together the best fare (see sample below).
Use the three week or moth view, or even year view to get a better understanding of the prices and options.
An airport such as Luton Airport North of London, can offer much cheaper flights than an airport such as London Gatwick or Heathrow London Luton as it is sometimes marketed even though is not really in London; just the same as Girona airport is marketed as Barcelona when it is not; and Bergamo airport is not really in Milan. All of these out-of-the-way airports though tend to have coaches direct or is connected by train into the main local city It is sometimes in fact not that much harder than getting across a city from the main international airport. Girona to Barcelona Sants for example takes roughly one hour, whilst getting from Barcelona International airport and then across the city in bad traffic can easily still take 45 minutes to one hour.
I know it can be hard for many of you, especially with schools being so tough in not allowing children to be taken out of school for in-term holidays. If there is any way you can, or if you do not have children, or if the children have flown the nest, try and fly outside of school holidays. Travel companies make a lot of their profits during school breaks when they can charge more to meet the supply and demand.
Similarly, where possible, try and travel on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday if you can. Monday mornings and Friday late afternoons can be expensive as people fly to commute at the start of the week, and fly home at the end of the week.
I mentioned baggage (or luggage if you prefer to use that term) is charged separately if you book with an airline such as Easyjet or Ryanair i.e. it is an add-on which you have the choice to pay or not according to if you choose to take hold bags or not. If you can get used to travelling with carry on luggage only, you will not only save money but also the time which you otherwise will spend waiting at the luggage carousel. If you do need to travel with luggage, then the laundry bag idea works well (see our top tip).
This will not help you in the immediate moment but over time, using a credit card which will give you air-miles every time you use your card, means that you can fly for free if you for example, use your own card for business expenses and claim the money back from your business. This of course, is not always possible, not pragmatic but it is worth considering.