FINDING CHEAP FLIGHTS
Kathmandu, Nepal edited with the Selene Mobile Lightroom Collection
The most important aspect to searching for cheap flights is to be flexible. You'll rarely find your dream flight that arrives in Singapore on the 23rd of August at 8:08pm, it just doesn't work that way. Being able to adjust your plans in order to score the best deal is important and while it can be annoying, it could save you hundreds. If you can base your plans around a time of year or a month instead of specific dates, you will have a lot more leeway to finding cheap flights. If you can avoid peak season, travelling during shoulder and off seasons is another factor that can significantly reduce your costs when booking flights.
The important things to note while you're researching;
1. BE FLEXIBLE
Like stated before, learn how to be flexible. How?
Think about things like your dates, be flexible with when you're leaving. Typically Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays are the cheapest days to fly out (as well as the cheapest days to book) so aim for leaving on those days. When looking for flights look at the whole month instead of specific dates/one week. If you look at the whole month you'll get a better perspective on what a cheap flight is and whether you're paying too much for a flight - depending on the destination departing a week earlier or later could save you a lot of money.
YOUR DEPARTURE AIRPORT
You're probably thinking, what? How am I going to get to a different airport. Well, think about it, perhaps you live in London and you live closest to Heathrow, yes, it would be ideal to fly out of there, but maybe the prices of flying out of another London airport such as Gatwick or Stansted would be much cheaper, so consider catching the bus or getting a train and flying out of there instead. For those without the luxury of having 4 airports within a relatively close proximity of each other, no fear. Sometimes it can even be cheaper flying domestically or internationally first, then taking your long haul flight. Want to get to Athens from Brisbane? Fly to Sydney first and save some cash, learn to be imaginative with where you leave from (even if you have to get a 10 hour bus ride from your city to somewhere else it can still end up being far more cost effective).
YOUR ARRIVAL AIRPORT
As well as being able to be flexible with where you're leaving from, where you're flying to could also be a lifesaver when it comes to cutting costs. If you're flying from London and you want to get to Goa (India) perhaps it will be cheaper to fly into Delhi then hopping on a domestic AirAsia flight from Delhi to Goa. Doing this may not be the quickest way to travel, but if it can save you some money I think it's worth it and it can be an excuse to stop off in a new city for a night or two.
2. KNOW YOUR AIRLINES
The next step in researching is to know your airlines. Obviously it's easy just to search up something like British Airways, Virgin or Emirates and look for flights on there because they are established, well known companies, however those are the big money businesses whom are going to charge you and arm and a leg. While they are luxurious as anything, sometimes saving some money trumps comfort. Try looking at Thai Airways, India Airways, Ryanair, Easy jet, Wizzair, Qantas, Turkish Airways, those are the airlines that are going to charge less for the same destinations (luckily flight search engines will look through all these airlines for you).
3. CHECK THE DEALS AND SIGN UP FOR FLIGHT ALERTS
Airlines are always having sales and incentives on to get you buy their tickets, and flight search engines are always offering killer deals. If your heart is set on hitting the beaches in Bali, consider going with the killer deal for £300 to Thailand instead, then finding an alternative way to Bali. Another alternative is signing up for flight subscriptions to hear when companies are releasing their new offers is a great way to be in there first, because tickets can sell out fast. They can be annoying, but if you're on the hunt there is no better way to know. There are also bloggers such as Jack's Flight Club and NomadicMatt who email out the best deals to people (Jack's Flight Club sent out an email the other week for £300 return to South Africa).
3. KNOW YOUR FLIGHT SEARCH ENGINES
A guilty pleasure of mine is spending hours looking through flight comparison websites and they will quickly become your best friends when you're looking for cheap flights. It takes mere seconds to search the entire web for a range of different companies looking to fly to your destination on your desired date. The top three comparison sites you need to be looking out for are;
These high flyers are guaranteed to find you really great prices for your destination, as well as filling your wanderlust with their dreamy deals like £12 to Germany. My personal favourite is Skyscanner and I find a good deal every single time I use it. It also gives you the option to get email alerts if your desired route is going up or down in price so you can make an executive decision to book now or wait based on airline prices. Another amazing feature is Skyscanner's 'everywhere' tool, which will allow you to go through a list of destinations from your chosen airport in order from cheapest to most expensive. For the cheapest flights make sure you are searching for flights per month for the best deals and cheapest days!
SIDE NOTE; Be aware of cookies!
HOW TO GO INCOGNITO; For macs just click command+Shift+N to open a new incognito tab and for pc's control+Shift+N.
*Skyscanner makes their money off commission from the airlines, meaning you don't need to worry about getting ripped off on your end*
4. THE ONE WAY METHOD
I owe this method a large majority of my success in finding cheap flights over the years and for me it makes up a big portion of the adventure when I travel. A common occurrence that happens with budget airlines is the initial flight to a country will be ridiculously cheap, however flying home will be three times the price. To avoid this when I'm searching for flights and I can't find a cheap round deal, I will use the 'everywhere' tool and look at one way flights. Once I find a flight which looks cheap and exciting, I will open a new tab and will type the country of the flight that I'm thinking of going to - for example say you find a cheap flight to Split, Croatia but the return flight is £150. In Skyscanner type 'Croatia' in the from section and then select your desired airport in the 'to' section, more often than not there will be a cheaper flight leaving from a different airport within the country, meaning you can get a cheap bus (for Europe I use Flixbus or Eurolines) and then fly out of that airport instead.
If you're feeling adventurous you can also book a one way ticket to a country then book a return flight from another country, giving yourself the freedom to travel, as you please within the two dates!
5. KNOW WHEN TO BOOK
There are three prime times to book flights, either incredibly early in advance (around a year before departure), eight - six weeks before departure or you can sometimes find cheap deals one - two weeks before departure. In saying the latter however, any later than three weeks before leaving is really pushing it, and you may find yourself having to pay a lot more so planning in advance is advised. Like previously stated booking on a Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday are the best times to score a deal and booking a flight which leaves on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday means no excessive 'Weekend Pricetags' being added on to your checkout.
6. BOOK CONNECTING FLIGHTS YOURSELF
Say you're flying from London to Auckland stopping off in Dubai and Brisbane, instead of booking the direct route through an airline, look at flying from London to Brisbane and then finding a seperate flight from Brisbane to Auckland. Often longhaul flights work out much cheaper, especially if you can depart from major airports.