Most travellers are well practised in the repetitive and tedious searching efforts when trying to book the cheapest flights possible. With loads of flight comparison websites and erratic pricing between each one, the approach to thrifty flight booking is at times exhausting.
Travel to: UK and Great Britain
We’ve got some top tips that will save you time, ease your frustrations and most importantly they will help you save money on booking those cheap flights to London (and everywhere else on your bucket list)!
1. Use the best flight search engines
We know, there’s literally tonnes of flight search website you can use to search for those cheap flights, and there isn’t just one that will always give you the best flight deals available. But, follow our lead and stick to these three websites listed below.
Note: These flight comparison sites don’t always show you most budget airlines. Sometimes it’s worth just doing a little research and searching for local airlines that operate between the two destinations you’re interested in. This may lead you to check out their independent website or direct you to somewhere that you can book their flights for cheap.
2. Search cheap flights in secret
The moment you enter your dates and destinations into a website and hit the search button, the information is being recorded. This function is called ‘tracking your cookies’, and your search data is being fed back to these websites.
They’re notified that you’re checking several sites, searching for cheap flights and they now recognise that you want to fly between, let’s say Melbourne and London on the dates that you’ve entered, and now they hike up the prices.
Somehow, the cheaper flights you’ve seen only hours before, have mysteriously disappeared. You can see the same flights are available, yet the prices have inflated by several hundreds of dollars.
Don’t panic – just get into the habit of searching for cheap flights in secret.
Here’s how: Always search in incognito windows or private browsing windows. This is a super smart tool. Incognito works the same as any other internet page. The difference is that your cookies reset every time you open another private browsing window.
Check out how you do it below:
- In Safari, Chrome or Google, enable incognito by pressing Command, Shift “N”.
- For Internet Explorer or Mozilla Firefox, press Command, Shift “P”.
This opens a brand new browsing window and your data is not traced. Simple as that! Go and start searching for that cheap flight, without having that feeling of being watched and avoid being charged much more than you should be, for the same service.
3. Cheapest days to fly
Your best bet here is to search using Skyscanner’s monthly search tool. This is handy as it gives you prices for a whole month to see what days are cheapest for the route you want to take.
You can view ‘whole month’ or if you are really flexible, simply select ‘cheapest month’.
Watch the website do the work for you as it displays the cheapest flights available and you’re likely to see a pattern here. Try to avoid flying over weekends and rather than search Friday to Friday, perhaps compare the price to fly Tuesday to Tuesday.
4. Find the cheapest airport
We like the Skyscanner website feature for selecting the city you will be flying to (for example, London) and just under this is a button that asks you to ‘add nearby airports’ in the search.
A great tool for searching cheap flights for arrival into, let’s say London, as this city has multiple airports (all with great public transport options to get you into the centre of the city). You may be able to save a heap of cash if you choose to arrive at either Gatwick or Stansted airport, rather than Heathrow airport.
5. Break up the journey (or add a stopover)
You’ve got to think outside the box, be flexible and book separate legs of a journey rather than requesting a price for one through fare to your destination.
For example: If you’re searching a flight from Melbourne to London, perhaps break it down and search one flight from Melbourne to Singapore (perhaps search cheap flights with a budget airline, AirAsia). Then, search a separate flight from Singapore to London with a number of other different airlines.
|Distance from central London||14.6 miles||24.3 miles||31.2 miles||27.4 miles|
|Total passengers in 2016||75.7 millions||43.1 millions||24 millions||14.5 millions|
|Connections to London||Metro, Bus, Train, Cab||Bus, Train, Cab||Bus, Train, Cab||Bus, Train, Cab|
6. Research some budget airlines
Budget airlines can sometimes be the best option available. Sure, you may not get in-flight service and fancy movies, but you can just take your laptop to watch movies in the sky and pack your own lunch to avoid paying high costs of food on board.
Note: Low-cost airlines aren’t always included on the comparison websites, so do your research first to find the cheapest fares.
There are a few things to remember before booking your budget flight:
- Check the airport code and location of where you’ll be arriving (sometimes budget airlines fly to random airports which are located much further from the city than you’d prefer, which is going to make your transfer cost back into the city either difficult or expensive in some cases).
- Pay for any luggage that you may have to check in at the time of buying your ticket. If your bag is larger than carry-on size or weighs more than 7-10kg, they’ll catch you out and make you pay super high costs to check it in at the airport.
- Always read the fine print about check-in times and rules of the airline.
7. Sign up for deals & discounts
There are many budget airlines out there and lots of cash to be saved by booking competitive fares with them rather than the more popular, most expensive carriers. If you’d like to be notified when sale fares are on, just sign up for it.
Subscribe to budget airlines email lists to receive the latest deals and perhaps like their Facebook page too. Consider bookmarking these low-cost carriers: Jetstar, AirAsia, Nok Air, Scoot, EasyJet and Ryanair.
8. Travel in low season
It pays to be flexible with your travel plans. If you can avoid travel during high season to your chosen destination, you’ll be rewarded with some very desirable fares.
How do you search for the best flights? Share in the comments below.