Ultimate Guide to Cheap Flights

Ultimate Guide to Cheap Flights

Where to find Cheap Flights to anywhere

The way we buy our cheap flights these days has change beyond all recognition from barely a decade ago. The days of popping into your high street or mall travel agency are long gone, although they still exist, somehow!

Online and apps is where it’s at these days for finding cheaper flights. Most people will use an app or online tool like Skyscanner or Kiwi and then pretty much book from there. This is fine of course but it really is doing just the bare minimum. There are many other things you can do in order to save big on flights.

In our ultimate cheap flights guide >

  • When to fly, and where to for cheaper fares
  • Secrets to finding cheap flights
  • Best sites for booking cheap flights

where can I find cheap flights

When are flights cheap?

Flights are generally cheaper if you avoid the weekends. What about specific destinations though?

When are flights cheap to Europe?

The European holiday season is usually from late June to the end of August. Flying anywhere in or to Europe during this period will be expensive, particularly from North America and Asia.

Christmas vacation period is also and expensive time of year too, as is Easter. Ideally you should fly around September thru November and January thru May. Bear in mind that January to April may also be expensive if you plan to fly anywhere that’s near a ski resort.

cheap flights to sydney

When are flights cheap to Australia and New Zealand?

Australia is a pretty long way from anywhere and not the cheapest destination in the world! Luckily it is possible to find cheap flights to Sydney, Melbourne and other main centers. The main period to avoid is the summer, from December thru March, particularly in the south of Australia, e.g. Victoria, NSW and South Australia.

It’s worth noting that the North of Australia, e.g. Queensland and The Tropical North, have their high season during the dry period, roughly from May thru October. The best times to fly to Australia would be April, May and November. New Zealand would be similar to Sydney, e.g. avoid flying December thru March. NZ does have a ski season too, so flights to Queenstown from Sydney might be more during July and August.

When are flights cheap Japan?

Japan can be an expensive destination anytime of the year, but you will pay much more during the peak holiday periods of summer vacations and Christmas too.

Other cheap flight destinations

Cheap flights to South Africa – Fly between April and November
Cheap flights to Bali – Fly November thru May, but avoid Christmas!
Cheap flights to the USA – Fly October thru April, but also avoid Christmas
Cheap flights to South America – Fly March through November in the south, avoid July and August to Peru


Secrets to finding cheaper flights

So here is a list of things we suggest you do in order to find bargain, low cost flights.

1. Keep your searches ‘cookie free’ to ensure the price doesn’t increase

This idea was first suggested a few years ago that the more you search for a particular flight, the more expensive it will become. This has neither been fully proved or disproved. In order to be safe you should always try and search for flights using an incognito browser session.

Either that or always ensure you clear your cookies before starting a new search.

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Always, always book your ticket as soon as possible

If you are booking many months in advance then you can probably relax a little but if you are only one month away or less then you book that ticket as soon as you can!

The reason is that flights almost always go up in price the nearer to the date of take off. If you turn up at the airport on the day of the flight and try and book then be prepared to part with a lot of money.

This is one thing that can hit those travellers who may have missed their flight and need to travel on that same day. You can guarantee that your rebooked flight is going to be many more times expensive than the one you missed.

If you looking a flights over 6 months away then there is always a chance the price might come down. Airlines have sales and you might get a cheaper flight during the sale period compared to booking before.

Hidden city tickets for cheaper flights

This is slightly controversial and you do this at your own risk because many airlines are angry about this.

We recently looked for a flight from Frankfurt to Lisbon. The cheapest flight was a direct flight with TAP and cam in around EUR 180.

We noticed that flights to Porto were considerably less, at around EUR 70. So where are we going with this?

The fare from Frankfurt to Porto was not  direct flight. You had to fly to Lisbon and connect onto another carrier. The flight to Lisbon was the same one that cost EUR 180! This is of course makes no sense.

Now if you were travelling with only hand luggage you could simply miss your connecting flight at Lisbon and exit the airport. There is little the airline can do about this. Of course if you have checked baggage then this won’t work.

But sometimes it will work with checked luggage.

We looked at flights from Bangkok to London with BA. Flights were around £500 but a flight to Barcelona from Bangkok (via London) was only £350.

The Bangkok to London sector flew into Heathrow and the connecting flight was from Gatwick, which is a long way from Heathrow! This distance means that travellers are forced to ‘self-transfer’ and take their own luggage across London.

There would be nothing stopping you missing the onward fight to Barcelona. You could even complain to the airline that you missed your onward flight due to the self transfer being unreasonable!

Having said all that be careful. If the airlines get a whiff of you planning this they may kick you off the flight!

hidden city cheap flights

Booking your own connecting flights

If you are flying long haul, let’s say from the USA to Thailand then it might be better to book your own connecting flights. There are a couple of reasons why this could be a better option.

Firstly, instead of putting yourself through two back to back long flights then why not have a day or longer at your connecting city. You could fly from Los Angeles and have a stopover in Europe before flying on to Asia. This seems a much more enticing option rather than flying into London and having barely enough time to stretch your legs before having to board another flight.

The second reason why we are suggesting this is that is could well be cheaper. Booking your own connecting flight might enable you to have a broader range of airlines to choose from, some of which might be budget carriers.

Just remember that to give yourself plenty of time for your connecting flight. If you miss your onward flight then you will have to pay for it out of your own pocket. If you miss a connecting flight when you have one whole booking then usually the airline will sort out another flight for you, assuming it was their fault of course!

Paying in different currencies from your own

This is worth looking at. Some airlines will allow you to pay in other currencies and it’s always worth doing a quick comparison. Of course this can work really well if you have access to other currencies otherwise make sure your card won’t charge you if you pay in another currency.

how to find cheap flights online


How to find cheap flights online?

There are many flight booking wesbites, in fact there might be too many! It’s amazing how much of your time can be consumed by searching for cheap flights on the various price comparison sites.

Here is the solo travel recommended route to find the best price for flights online…

Start with Google Flights

Google flights is a good place to start your search for that bargain flight! It is a very powerful search engine for cheap flights and most airlines are covered by them. We particularly like the fact that you can view a whole continent to see the cheapest destinations on any given day.

Make a note of the cheapest flight then go to a price comparison site

There are a number of price comparison sites for cheap flights.

Here is a list of the most useful ones..

Kiwi.com

Kiwi consistently comes up with fares that are even cheaper than what Google suggests or the actual airline website.

Skyscanner.com

Skyscanner is probably more like Google Flights in terms of you flight search but can produce even cheaper fares. they will often show the price from the airline direct, which is great for comparison.

Expedia.com

Expedia is always worth checking out because they usually offer ‘Expedia Only’ deals on some flights. These specials usually come with restrictions though, so you might not be able to change any dates. Expedia.com (the US site) also allows full refunds within 24 hours of purchasing.

The last step before you purchase that cheap flight!

Always check direct with the airline on their website. It could even be cheaper this way. If the flight cost is similar then we’d always recommend booking direct with the airline, as there are always some advantages.

  • Some flight booking websites and agencies will display a certain fare and then not be able to honor it. That’s because they are quoting previous cheap flights and will often book for you after you have paid them. Sometimes prices can jump as much as double. On rare occasions the agent might even demand more money and not give you any refund.
  • Booking direct with the airline means you can select your own seats. Some booking agencies will do this for you, but it’s always better to do it yourself.
  • Booking direct will also ensure you get any frequent flier points too.

It just remains for us to wish you good luck in finding your flight and we hope you’ve gained something from this guide.