Travel Tips

How to find cheap flights

One thing that stops many of us visiting certain places, or just going anywhere at all, is the cost of getting there. But flight tickets don’t need to cost the earth – there are several tricks for finding bargains. Here are a few:

Use price comparison websites
Rather than going straight to the airline websites that you know, try a fare comparison site like Skyscanner or Kayak. These sites search all of the airline sites on the web to find the cheapest routes. They don’t always suggest return flights with the same airline both ways – don’t assume that flying on a return ticket with one airline is cheapest. It might mean making separate bookings for your outward and return flights, or even for two legs of the same journey, but it can be worth it for the savings.

Try to find cheaper stopovers
Sometimes, splitting a longer journey up into two flights, or just finding a cheaper stopover than the common routes, can save a lot of money. With Skyscanner, using the ‘everywhere’ option in the destination box can give an idea of what might be a cheaper stopover. It takes a bit of research, but could save you hundreds of pounds.

Try other nearby airports
Sometimes, flying to or from an alternative airport can work out much cheaper. Low cost airlines in particular will often fly to smaller airports a bit further from the city than the main airport, as taxes can be lower, in turn meaning lower fares for us. It may mean having to catch a bus or a train into the centre, which is an additional cost (and a bit of a pain), but again, it can save a fair bit of cash overall.

Some airline websites have cheap fare finders
The Ryanair website, for example, has a ‘Fare Finder’ page, where you can see the airline’s cheapest flights currently on sale. You can choose to enter dates, so if you have a few free days and want to get away, you can see where is cheapest to fly to on those days. There are often last minute deals for as little as £5.99 one way between some European cities (but not on weekends!). Similarly, easyJet has an ‘Inspire Me’ page, which has a map showing of all of the airline’s cheapest fares. British Airways also has a ‘Find our cheapest fares’ page, which tells you in which month of the year it is cheapest to buy a return flight to the airline’s long haul destinations. Go to an airline’s main website to see if it has a similar page.

Avoid flying at peak times
At peak times, which can mean during peak holiday times or just on certain days of the week, flights can be far more expensive. For short haul flights, avoid flying at peak weekend times like Friday or Sunday evenings; flights are usually cheaper mid-week and around the middle of the day. For long haul flights, if you are able to be flexible then try to fly during a less popular month. Flight prices are generally booted up during the summer months from June to September, so if you’re flexible, organise your trip for a different time of year. Skyscanner has a ‘whole month’ search option, allowing you see on which day of the month it’s cheapest to fly.

Not all of these suggestions are fool-proof, but hopefully they’ll help you on your way to that dream destination!


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