Once upon a time, arranging a holiday involved popping into your local high street travel agent and relying on them to find you a suitable package. But while that’s still an option, today there’s a host of online tools enabling you to track down the perfect break any time of day or night.
There are some fantastic tried-and-trusted ways to find yourself a bargain on flights. Like if you’re flexible on dates you can set up alerts to notify you when prices drop; if you’re not sold on a specific destination, you can look out for flash sales and pricing errors. But best of all you don’t need to be a Sherlock Holmes-esque sleuth to track down the best flight deals online - you just need to know what you’re looking for.
With that in mind, the Flexicover team has put together these techie tips to help you find the cheapest flights.
Seek out the cheapest day to fly
There are plenty of urban myths about the best days to fly. While it will generally cost you more to travel from Friday to Sunday, this isn’t always the case. Given that prices fluctuate based on demand, your best strategy to seek out the cheapest prices is to check fares across the whole month. You can do this easily with Skyscanner - simply search for your departure and arrival cities, but select ‘Whole Month’ rather than a specific date. Obviously this requires a little flexibility - if you’re limited to specific dates there’s little point browsing alternatives - but it could save you a lot of money.
Look out for errors on fares
Annoyingly for them but happily for flyers airlines occasionally make mistakes on pricing. Whether this is down to an issue with currency conversions, a technical glitch or simple human error, it can lead to significant discounts on regular prices. Some people dedicate hours of time to scouring the web looking for airline pricing snafus, but the best way to do it is to use a tool like Airfarewatchdog, Secret Flying or Scott’s Cheap Flights. All provide a one-stop shop for heavily reduced ticket prices. Scott’s free service drops emails telling you more about the bargain flight, how much it usually costs and how long he thinks the deal will last.
Use comparison sites rather than going direct to the airline
You might have a favourite airline but your loyalty could be costing you a significant chunk of money. Next time you’re searching for a flight don’t just head straight to the airline’s website - use a comparison site to find you the cheapest possible price. Google Flights and Skyscanner are two of the best known comparison sites, and they largely work in the same way: by aggregating deals from dozens of carriers in a matter of seconds. This allows you to simply scroll through the results and pick the deal that suits you best. Once you’ve made your choice, you’ll be transferred to the airline’s own site to book your tickets.
Set up flight alerts
Don’t fancy spending valuable time revisiting flight booking platforms to find out if prices have come down yet? Let the internet do the hard work for you! Various tools allow you to sign up for alerts that track the fares on a specific route and email you when they drop, allowing you to sit back and wait for the cheapest price to roll in. For instance, Google Flights lets you watch fares on a given route by clicking ‘track prices’. Alternatively, if you enter your home airport and dream destination in Airfarewatchdog, you’ll be presented with the lowest possible ticket available at the time. You can then setup email alerts to keep you posted on future price drops.
There’s plenty of debate about the effectiveness of this method, but we reckon it’s worth persisting with. In case you haven’t heard the theory goes that ticket booking portals use the cookies in your browser to hike up airfares when you search for a particular route or dates repeatedly, signifying you’re keen to fly that route or on those dates. Maybe they’re just responding to demand, maybe they’re trying to scare you into booking now before prices climb higher. Either way, you can get around the issue by using flight search engines in ‘incognito’ or ‘private browser’ mode, as your previous searches won’t be remembered.
Wherever you plan on flying to this year it’s good to know that Flexicover Travel Insurance is committed to providing you with the highest level of protection to ensure you are safe and secure 24 hours a day when away.