How to find cheap flights
As many of you know I love a good bargain and strive to ensure that we get as much value as possible. With overseas trips the flights are one of the biggest expenses so any money saved here can be used to offset against other elements of your trip. We booked our flights to Thailand and Singapore for £450 per adult and £300 per child which given that we are flying over the school summer holidays was a fab price. We have paid similar flight costs for flights to Turkey and Egypt during school holidays so we were really impressed with these flights. So heres how to find cheap flights and ensuring that you are getting value for your money:
I have been trying lots of different price comparison sites for some time and whilst I like features of google flights, skyscanner remains my favourite flight comparison site. There are loads of them out there but for me this one wins hands down every time. I have always found skyscanner to be a great treasure trove and is always my first point of call for flights. When using skyscanner my tips are:
- If you are flexible about the airport you can fly from, you can search flights from the country rather then airport. I.e. UK to Bangkok. This helps to bring the cheapest airports for that flight destination. We are flying from Edinburgh as the flight were over £1500 cheaper from here compared to Manchester.
- I love the fact that you are able to search flights from an airport to everywhere. If you have no definite destination in mind then selecting this option shows you the whole range of possibilities that are out there. Flights that come up show great destinations like Dublin etc for as cheap as £8!
- The good thing about having a long summer holidays is that it gives you plenty of dates to play with and sky scanner lets you able to check the flights for a period of a whole month and shows you the cost on a daily basis. This allows you to optimise your flight date ensuring that you are getting the lowest price.
- Setting up alerts on skyscanner is another great way of knowing that there have been flight price changes. Once you have inputted the flight information of the flights you are looking for into skyscanner on the right hand side there is a button called “Get Price Alerts” and that allows you to set up flights alerts. Above, is a screen shot of the skyscanner page I was using today. This tool means that skyscanner checks your selected flight route every 24 hours to see if there is a change in flight.
Flying from a different country
Now this may sound a little odd and counter intuitive given the additional cost of flying to the second country, but starting your holiday in one of the other airports in Europe can significantly reduce your flight costs. My favourite site for these deals is holidaypirates who come up with some amazing combinations which can save you hundreds. Two of my bucket list countries (well to be honest most of the world is on there ) are Peru and Maldives and I am always checking to see if there are any crazy flight offers. The flights have a tendency to be cheaper from Ireland, Spain, Italy and Germany. The good thing is there are lots of cheap airlines from the UK to all these destinations, so adding that leg doesn’t add a huge amount on to the final flight cost. Now having lots of flights is not for everyone and is not often part of what most would class as child friendly but if you are looking at this option I would recommnd having a few days in the European city before hand and likewise at the end to break up the flights and letting you explore and experience something new.
Flying in and out of different destinations
We love multi-centre trips and it allows you to experience more of a destination and means that you can avoid coming back on yourself if you are travelling to a different part of the country during your trip. We have often flown into one airport and caught the next flight from elsewhere i.e. We flew into Tokyo and out of Osaka and this allowed us to experience both the high tech city of Tokyo, stop on-route in Kyoto and experience a much more traditional Japanese way of life before heading to Osaka to fly home. For our summer holiday, once we found that Edinburgh was the cheapest place to fly to the Far East at the time of booking we then searched on websites such as Netflights (I have always found them to be really good value for money) and found that it was the same cost to fly to Bangkok and then fly out from Singapore. We had wanted to include Singapore as part of a trip and would save us money as we wouldn’t need to book an additional flight back to Bangkok.
There is lots on the internet about the optimum time to book flights dependent on whether its long or short haul but from years of booking flights I have found that if you are booking several seats, you are best to try and book as early as possible. The last 3 overseas holidays we have taken have been with the extended family, twice there were 10 of us and on this trip there are 7, so to ensure we get the flight. Once you check the comparison sites you have a rough figure of the cost and I would recommend you set yourself a price limit and if the flights are in that region to just book it.
Signing up to the newsletters / emails
Lots of the major airlines send out emails of flight sales they are having and often there are some real gems to be found especially if you are looking for a long haul holiday destination, the major ones I sign up to are Emirates, Qatar, Etihad all of which fly to a whole host of international destinations. I also have signed up to emails from the likes of Air Asia as they have amazing flight sales which are always good to know if you are travelling in that part of the world.
Flash flight sales are happening more and more and I have seen them being communicated in lots of different ways. Ryanair often tweet the flight offers that they have on and there have been some good flight offers. Websites such as HotUKDeals have a travel category where people post all the offers that they have found. There are some real gems to be found here and it is where I found our 1p return flights to Oslo.
Flying before your child is 2
I always recommend this to people with a newborn. Make sure you do a flight with a child who is under two as they are practically free as you usually only incur an administrative charge. Flying with babies terrifies most people but here is a post I did about why travelling with babies is fantastic. Don’t waste the chance 🙂
So there you have it, these are the things that I use and would tell others on how to find cheap flights. A cheap flight always feels sweeter and more enjoyable. Have you got any tips to save money on flights? I would love to hear your thoughts, please comment below and I can include them in the post.
This is a brilliant post Nisbah. I live skyscanner but have never tried holiday pirates. I would also never have thought to fly form Edinburgh, london yes but Edinburgh no. Great tip, partic for long haul.
Thanks for reading and glad you found the travel tips useful. Holiday pirates is amazing, the only problem is most tend to be term time and they give you such bad wanderlust, made me contemplate homeschooling at one point! Checking all UK airports is a must to find the cheapest, we flew to KL from Glasgow in 2009 as it was so much cheaper then anywhere else in the country.
These are such great tips Nisbah and it really sounds like you have found yourself some great bargains! I’m saving this for if we ever brave a flight with our three 🙂
Thanks for reading, flight bargains are the best thing and always makes a holiday even sweeter 🙂 You will be flying with your three, they will surprise you and if you ever need any help, let me know.
Cool post. I have been traveling for the last 10 years and really didn’t get great deals. I will try out sky scanner. I have two babies and we have travelled 10 countries but it was not that easy. Sometimes, you travel for long 22h flights with your baby in your laps because they don’t have baby beds for 10 babies. Thanks for sharing.
Some great tips Nisbah – To add to them, I always use loyalty cards to earn points when traveling on any airline. You never know when you’ll have enough points for a free flight.
Also, they say the best day to book flights is a Tuesday.
Sara – http://inafricaandbeyond.com