Published on July 22nd, 2015 | by Tom Wake1
7 ways to instantly save money booking flights online
By following these simple steps you can make huge savings on domestic, European and long haul international flights in just minutes.
1) Set up ‘price drop’ email alerts on your desired routes – Go to Trip Advisor flight search. Just before you search for a flight look for the little tick box which says: “Get an alert when prices drop”. Click this, enter your email and hit ‘search’. From now on it will email you whenever there’s been a significant price drop on that particular route. You can store up to 10 of these.
This is perfect if you know you want to make a trip to a specific destination at some point (for example if you have family or friends abroad) but aren’t tied to a specific date and are happy to wait until the prices go down.
2) Taking a domestic or short haul flight? Take a look at this fantastic flight checking tool. It’s called the ‘Budget Airline Flight Checker’.
It compares flights on all the cheapest ‘no frills’ airlines (such as Ryan Air and Easyjet) for you on specific or open-ended dates. If you just fancy getting away somewhere, anywhere, you can even select the ‘I’ll go anywhere’ option for the very best deals.
3) Going long haul? Make sure you check prices on more than one flight comparison website. I’m sure you’ve used flight comparison websites before, but some really are better than others.
It pays to check prices on at least 3 or 4 before of these if you want to find the best deals as prices vary according to the destination and time of year.
Note: Kayak have a clever little price calendar that appears when you start entering your flight details which can help you identify the cheapest dates at a glance. This doesn’t work on all routes and dates but can be a useful guide.
4) Check the prices flying out on different days – In the past flying midweek was often seen as the cheapest option but this is no longer a given and on long haul you need to check different combinations of days. Contrary to popular belief on some routes Saturday’s will be cheapest – it all depends on the destination and time of year.
With that said for European and domestic flights 9 times out of 10 you’ll still find travelling outside of the ‘weekend zone’ is cheapest – so Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays are best with some good deals to be picked up early on Fridays and on non bank holiday Mondays. Make sure you book as far in advance as possible as the best deals will be found on flights that still have plenty of seats available.
Note: You’ll almost always pay more to get away during school holidays. Obviously if you’ve got a young family this will be unavoidable. However if can be flexible about when you fly, make sure you book your flights outside of half term breaks and school holidays. In some cases you’ll pay as much as 50% – 60% less.
5) Get cashback on your flights – I’ve mentioned it several times before but if you haven’t already signed up with Top Cash Back or Quidco do it right away. These sites give you cashback on virtually any product you can think of including a number of flight comparison websites, airlines, travel operators – even travel insurance.
Here’s what to do. After you’ve found the best deal on step 3 or 4 log on to Top Cash Back or Quidco and see if the company are on there. (For example, lastminute.com, ebookers, expedia, opodo, Thomson, Ryan Air to name just a few are). If you find the one you’re after click through to their site using the your unique cashback link. Some offer more than others but even if you only get 1% cashback that could be another £50 off a group of long haul tickets for the family.
6) Watch out for hidden charges – I normally recommend paying for flights on Credit Card because it offers you added payment protection should something go wrong (for example if flight operator goes into liquidation). However, some operators will levy an additional charge for paying on credit card and you’ll get the best deals paying by debit card.
If you’re doing a short hop with one of the big airlines like Easyjet or Ryan Air you should be pretty safe paying by debit card, but do use your common sense. Also make sure you read you’re clear on extra charges airlines like to try and add on before checkout for luggage and insurance offers. If you’re paying by credit card make sure you pay off your balance each month in full so you don’t get hit by interest charges.
7) Use a card that offers airmiles on purchases – There are several credit cards that offer this facility (that’s a whole article in itself!) On the whole AMEX cards will offer the best airmile deals here but shop around.
The interest rates in these will be significantly higher so it’s doubly important to ensure you’re able to pay off these cards in full each month.
If you enjoyed this article or if you’ve come across any money saving travel tips please leave a comment below.