GUIDE TO BOOK THE BEST FLIGHTS
Book your seat
Deciding and booking onto the right flight can be daunting.
Choosing to book your flight is a HUGE step when planning your dream trip, but with my advice I can make this process simple and stress free.
I have every faith you will be able to find the cheapest flights for your adventure on your own after reading this page. Let me help you find the best flights and build your confidence on knowing you're booking the right flight for you.
Below I've described simply everything you should know.
My Personal Guide on Finding the Best Flight
My General Rules when Booking Flights
Ultimately, How to Find Cheap Flights
Plus, Important Basics to Remember
MY 7 STEP GUIDE ON
BOOKING THE BEST FLIGHTS
These are the steps I take every time I need to book a flight.
#1 SET UP PRIVATE BROWSING ON YOUR COMPUTER
If you're using your computer to search for flight deals, learn how to change the settings to Private Browsing. This allows you to look freely without leaving a trail other travel sites could find. If they know which flight you're checking up on, they could increase their prices.
#2 HEAD TO SKYSCANNER
This is my favourite flight comparison site and where you should turn to first before anywhere else. You will be shown the cheapest deals quickly, given the choice from countless airlines including all budget airlines. This makes it perfect when looking for any kind of flight ---- short, long, International or Domestic. I find this the easiest site to navigate and I use it before and during all of my trips.
#3 TRY CHANGING DATES, LOCATION, ROUTES
Basically you have to be flexible. You need to make sure you've researched all of your options, this will save you money. Experiment by looking up flights on different days and at various times. Try flying to a different destination first to make your route more cost effective or fly to a neighbouring country if it's cheaper and enter your desired location by another mode of transport. Split up your route by having an overnight stay or fly from a different city within your country of origin. Any one of these changes could reduce the price dramatically.
#4 SET PRICE ALERT
This is easily done on Skyscanner. Once you have found the flight right for you then simply set an alert to it. This means, the site will contact you when the price increases or decreases. It will save you time and handy to do if you want to keep an eye on the flight for a while.
#5 GO ONTO THE AIRLINES ACTUAL SITE
When you have found the flight you're looking for on a comparison site, check the airlines website to look up the price of the flight on there. I like to do this because if the flight is the same price or there's hardly any difference, I prefer to book directly through them than a travel website. I usually sign up as a member in the hope of getting an upgrade at the airport!
#6 CHECK FLIGHTS AGAIN OVER THE PERIOD OF A WEEK OR 2
I like to wait for a week or two before booking a long haul flight. During this time I repeat my searches of different destinations and dates just in case anything dramatically changes. Make sure to look up prices midweek (Tuesdays, Wednesdays) because from my experience, these days produce the cheapest flight deals.
#7 BEFORE FINALISING YOUR BOOKING, DOUBLE CHECK THE IMPORTANT BITS
Recheck (more than once) your luggage allowance, personal details and dates thoroughly! Mistakes are so easily made when completing your booking and guidelines can be missed. Don't let something so little cost you a fortune when you reach the airport!
MY GENERAL RULES WHEN
When you've saved enough money for your long haul flight - BOOK IT!
Don't wait months with just a date in mind! I never wait around because time runs away with us, know your dates for sure and be organised. This will force you to Save Money, Plan the Rest of your Trip and Board the Plane. It's a lot harder to back out of plans once a flight has been booked.
Domestic / Short flights should be researched and price checked beforehand but most of the time booked last minute.
There's no point booking every flight you will be taking during your trip before you actually start it because all that does is limit you. Plans change so quickly on the road! It's better to travel without a schedule and to be completely free.
If your trip is going to be more than 4 months, book a one way ticket.
Again don't limit yourself. You could end up in a completely different place at the end of your trip than originally planned or you may even choose not to return home.
If your trip is going to be 2 months or less, book a return ticket.
It will be cheaper and easier in the long run to book a return at the time of booking. Your time will be precious so worrying about finding a ticket home will be the last thing on your mind.
Especially for solo female travellers - check the local time of arrival before booking.
Travelling to a new place on your own should really be carried out in daytime hours. Make sure your flight doesn't arrive late so you don't have to find your hostel in the dark.
HOW TO FIND CHEAP FLIGHTS
Lets look further at finding cheap airfare. Below I've listed how to save money on flights and helpful advice you can carry out easily on your own!
Round the World Flights
A Round the World Ticket (RTW) is a package of long haul / international flights to different destinations pre-booked before your trip. You will be flying with the same airline including any of their partner airlines. Many different routes can be priced and you can choose as many stops as you would like with a RTW flight builder site (The last stop must be back to the country you started in)
An example: LONDON - BANGKOK - KUALA LUMPUR - BALI - SINGAPORE - AUSTRALIA - NEW ZEALAND - LONDON
It costs less than booking each flight individually and everywhere is already booked and paid for before your flight - you know where you're going and when!
Head to http://www.roundtheworldflights.com/ to get started.
The downside? Your RTW ticket must be completed within a year. Of course there's nothing stopping you missing your flight home and staying at the last destination longer and booking a return flight later! Also, everything is planned. It's best to travel without a plan.
By this I don't mean splitting the cost with someone else!
Split the flight up by stopping overnight at your connection, a longer connection could mean a cheaper ticket. Flying direct is more convenient but much more expensive. Tickets can be cheaper if there is more than one stop over.
By this I mean search for tickets going to your desired destination but from the cheapest city --- then make your own way to said city through a budget airline (or other means of transport)
Your route could consist of multiple tickets booked with different airlines but if planned correctly, it can be carried out successfully at a very effective cost!
This is perfectly easy to search for through Skyscanner by typing in the country's name you will be flying from. The site will list how much it will cost to fly from each city within your chosen country to your desired destination. Then -- in a different search, look up the cheapest way to get to the city it's cheapest to fly from. It lets you search prices from various cities in the United Kingdom, United States, Australia or New Zealand, to name a few!
Collect Reward Points & Air Miles
Once you start travelling and seeing the world --- chances are you will become addicted (like me) and never stop! Which means you're going to be taking a lot of flights and staying in a lot of hotels. So you should really prepare yourself now and begin collecting points and miles from the first chance you get.
It means at some point along your journey, you could have accumulated enough for free flights and hotel rooms!
Air miles can be collected by signing up for credit cards that lets you earn miles while you spend. Also earn by signing up for the frequent flyer miles programs offered by different airlines. Sign up to multiple airlines to take advantage of this bonus.
Create accounts with hotel chains and hotel comparison sites to collect points every time you use them.
During my first backpacking trip, I only ever used Agoda to book accommodation. I had earned so much points with them that the cost of accommodation during my following trip to India could have been completely paid for. However, I didn't realise I had to use the points by a certain date and lost them all! Don't make the same mistake I did. While collecting both hotel points and air miles --- read the small print!
Be Flexible with Dates and Times.
While searching for flights, you must explore all options. Check out the same flight but days, weeks and months before or after the original date in your mind. See for yourself how the price differs. On Skyscanner, there is an option to look up a flight price by the month. It will create an average price for every month and show you simultaneously so you can compare and really see the difference.
Every country has a high season where the flights are increased so dramatically. Try checking for flights during their shoulder or low season to save £££'s. If your trip has to take place during high season, booking in advance makes a huge difference. You shouldn't wait to book these particular long haul flights completely last minute, usually around 2 months prior is a good cut off point.
Plus flying at weekends is going to cost you more than flying during the week.
You may notice while searching, especially with budget airlines, flying early in the morning or really late at night is a lot cheaper than flying during other times of the day. This is because these are the flights hardest to fill as people don't want to travel at inconvenient times. Save money by getting up early and catching that first flight!
If you're about to set off backpacking -- chances are you have time to play with and won't have planned your trip to an inch of it's life. This means you can be very flexible with dates!
Check Flights to Neighbouring Countries / Cities
While we're being flexible with times and dates ---- being flexible with the destination helps too!
If the destination you're heading to is looking expensive then check out flights to countries or cities nearby and make your own way there!
For example, flights to Thailand could be cheaper than flights to Cambodia. Or flying to Mexico could be cheaper than flying to Belize --- depending on where you're flying from! Be creative with your searches and cut down the price by thinking ahead. Make your own way to your desired location in your own time by flying budget or entering through the border.
Use Flight Comparison Sites
You will find the cheapest deals fast by comparing flights with the likes of Skyscanner and Kayak.
These sites are designed for you to save money, so there is no better place to start your search. With functions such as fly 'Everywhere' carried out easily on the site, the choices are endless.
Check Flight Prices Mid Week
I tend to research flight deals over the period of a week or two before making my final booking on a long haul flight.
Be sure to be flexible with different dates, times and destinations on each of your searches throughout this time!
Instead of searching on the weekend, make sure to look up prices midweek (Tuesdays, Wednesdays) because from my experience, these days produce the cheapest flight deals.
Follow Budget Airline Deals
While on the road, flying budget is sometimes the cheapest way to get around.
Sign up to be notified by airlines like Air Asia, Scoot, Jetstar, Easyjet and Ryanair. These are all top budget airlines that offer cheap short and long haul flights. Follow them and catch a bargain!
They advertise shockingly cheap deals throughout the year. (if you book and fly by a certain date)
Remember to read the guidelines on luggage allowance and checking in. These are the parts that will sting you if a mistake has been made.
Fly with Hand Luggage Only
Flying budget usually means paying extra to add on a checked bag. If the original found price of the ticket is too good to miss, then think about travelling with only hand luggage.
While I was backpacking Asia, a flight to Japan and then another to visit the Philippines, were going to cost excessively more if I included baggage. Both times I was returning to Bangkok (where I was flying from) Instead of paying to check my bag in, I kept it in storage for 10baht a day (24p) in Bangkok near Khao San Road and only took hand luggage. It worked out much cheaper for me!
Join Airline Memberships
Being a member of an airline means you could earn air miles, enjoy upgrades, be sent deals and get access to airport lounges.
When I find a cheap flight on a comparison site, I head to the airlines website to check the flight price on there too. If the price is the same or similar I will book it through the actual site of the airline rather than a travel site. This way I can sign up or use an existing membership to collect rewards.
Package Holidays / All inclusive Hotels have Cheap Flights included
While backpacking, I price everything separate because 9 times out of 10 it's cheaper.
If you're heading on holiday or a weekend away then sometimes the cheaper option is to book it as an all inclusive package. Head to https://www.holidaypirates.com/ to check out the cheapest deals!
Hey Everyone! I'm Emma from Scotland & this is my new Travel Blog to inspire YOU through my experiences. I believe everyone should live their own dreams & love life to the fullest. I want to show how easy it is to travel & help you plan your ultimate trip step by step. Explore my personal guide to see how.
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Pay for Flights by Credit Card
Not only will you earn points by using a credit card but you will also protect your purchase. Credit Card companies will recover the cost of what you paid for a ticket if the airline goes bust.
Search for Airport Lounges
When you're at the airport, use the travel app LoungeBuddy to search for lounge access available to you at a small fee. Pay for it through the app, turn up and enjoy during your time at the airport. This is such a good idea if you have a long connection!
Check if you need Onward Travel
Before booking a one way ticket, you need to check if the country you are heading to asks for proof of onward travel. Basically they want evidence you're leaving the country when you say you are (this doesn't mean a flight home). Have a return or onward travel ticket booked before you turn up at the airport or you could be refused entry of the flight. If you don't know where you're heading to next, just book the cheapest flight out of the country you can find and then decide where to go and how to get there during your stay.