Five totally anecdotal ‘rules’ for finding cheap travel deals
The promise of cheap flights from no-frills, budget airlines has been part of the travel scene in Britain for years now. Yet we often seem to hear grumbles about how these fares aren’t really quite as low as they seem. We all too often wind up spending more than we wanted.
Of course, some of this is thanks to fee-happy airlines for that, charging for all kinds of things we would never have thought of as ‘extras’ (like paying by card, of course).
But as a veteran of booking cheap flights to Europe, I’ve noticed a lot of patterns and picked up a lot of tips from friends that seem to help us track down those elusive fares that are that little bit cheaper.
And if you’re still hoping for a late break at a knock down price, try them – they might work!
‘Rule’ 1: The different computer rule
When you search multiple times for a flight, it seems to me that the price starts to go up. And of course you panic and book it as soon as possible before the low fare disappears. Now, I only have anecdotal evidence for this but I reckon the airline websites are cleverer than we think. They know the psychology of the cheap flight seeker and that appearing to put the price up is a sure fire trigger for us to book. So my tip is this: try switching computers (or deleting the relevant cookies, if you know how) after you’ve done your research, just before you actually want to book. And see what happens to the price. It’s worked for me!
‘Rule’ 2: Look for flash sales
Some low fare airlines have been posting flash sales on their Twitter and Facebook pages, so it can be worth following them and checking regularly what they post. They sell out quickly: jump on any offers while you can.
‘Rule’ 3: Try combining airlines
Not always convenient, but it can certainly be cheaper: now that many flights are sold on one-way tickets, you might find the outbound flight for less with one airline and the onward or return flight is cheapest with another. This can particularly be the case where a city as more than one airport.
‘Rule’ 4: Get up early to search
For some reason I can’t explain, I find that the elusive cheap fares are often there when I’m searching before breakfast, less so when I’m searching in the evening. I suspect they release cheaper fares in tranches throughout the day. Worth trying? Give it a go!
‘Rule’ 5: Sort all the extras well before you go!
Once you’ve got a cheap flight sorted, it’s easy to relax and assume you’ve done the hard work keeping your holiday within budget. But that is exactly the time you should jump on the other things you’ll need and secure the very best deals in advance.
Book your hotel with your flights: you could find it cheaper to book your hotel at the same time as booking flights. See if you can grab a last minute bargain to your dream destination this summer.
Car hire: these rates can vary so widely, it’s an absolute must to conduct comparisons. You can use the SOSwitch service to do this – compare car hire rates for your destination, secure yourself a bargain and avoid overpaying when you arrive.
Travel money: again, it’s all in the rate, and the best deals are usually found online and in advance – certainly not at the airport or once you arrive in a tourist hotspot! You can compare travel money rates online with SOSwitch.
Airport parking: leave this to the last minute and you’ll find reasonable prices in short supply! Fortunately you can also shop around and find the fairest rates as soon as your flight is confirmed. Find your cheap airport parking now.
If there are any other anecdotal tips for finding cheap flights and compiling your best value getaway, please share them in the comments box below!