As a travel blogger you can get a few discounts here and there on accommodation, city passes and other great activities, but the one thing that you’re pretty much always going to have to pay full whack for is your flights. Believe me, we’ve all tried to get around it, but there just isn’t the same competition for flights to… let’s say Barcelona, as there is for accommodation in Barcelona.
This means I have to get crafty when booking flights to make sure I can get the best for my money. This is how I find the cheap flights to keep me travelling for as long as possible…
Sites like skyscanner.net, cheapoair.co.uk and flightchecker.moneysavingexpert.com are the best way to compare flight prices in one go to find cheap flight tickets. I used to use travelsupermarket.com, but they don’t include Ryanair in their listings and I ended up paying an unfortunate amount to get to Ibiza one year while my friends checked in on the cheap.
If you do end up having any sort of problem with your flights then you’re entitled to compensation. You can check out myflyright.com for information on flight delays, on flight cancellations and delayed boarding issues too.
Be prepared to stop off
If you’re short on money, but long on time you can often save money by taking an indirect flight. I’m looking at going to Bulgaria in February 2013 and if I go via Istanbul, Milan or Paris I can save up to £60. As I work full time an extra 12 hours for a stopover and having to get back on the plane again hardly seems worth it for £60, but if you’re a long term traveller or really broke it’s a great way to save a few quid.
Fly at dodgy times
You can save a significant amount of money by departing in the early hours. I’ll warn you now though, this can be a false economy. If the public transport options are closed in your departure city and in your arrival city you can easily end up spending more to get to and from the airport than you save on your flight. If you’re going somewhere with 24-hour transport then go ahead and book away. Budget airlines pay less to arrive at the times no one else does and the savings get passed back to you.
Bury your pride
A huge amount of Ryanair slagging goes on on the internet – there’s even a website dedicated to it ihateryanair.com. Mention Ryanair at any travel event and you’re sure to get an opinion from everyone, but, I like them. If you’re paying £25 for a flight that everyone else charges £125 for, you have to stick with the rules. Read the small print, make sure you’ve checked in more than 4 hours in advance and just take your print out – you’ll be fine. Also, eat before you get on the plane, buy a bottle of water from the airport and make sure you have some earphones to block out all the announcements and advertisements.
Budget airlines work in a specific, tricky way. You’re presented with a price, let’s say £40, and by the time you’re on the final screen it’s doubled. The trick to getting over this is to start with a different mindset. If you know you want to check in some luggage before you start, don’t see the £40 as £40, see it as £60 before you’ve started. Also, remember that you will have to pay a credit card fee. Everyone gets upset when you break down the costs for budget airlines, but if you did the same for British Airways, for example, it would be the same. Prices are just presented in a different way and if thinking like Ryanair hurts, just think like British Airways and see it as a whole. Don’t get upset by the breakdown and over analyse and you’ll be fine.
Let me know if you have any more tips for saving money on flights, I’m all ears…