We all love a bargain, and unless you’re travelling to Ibiza by private Jet this year, you’re bound to appreciate some of our top tips to finding the cheapest flight possible.
Among them is the cheap school holiday flights trick that could save a family hundreds of pounds in air fares.
Worried your bruised and battered Pound might not buy you quite as many Cocktails as it used to? We’ll do our best to show you how to make up the difference before you even leave the comfort of your armchair. Thank us when you get here, first round is on you.
Cheapest Day – Sunday
It has long been held that the cheapest day to book airline tickets was a Tuesday. However, according to a new report by travel giant Expedia, a shift in booking patterns over recent years now leaves Sunday as the best day to nab a cheap flight.
Cheapest Timescale – 47 days
So much for last minute bookings. Travel Insider are convinced that waiting until the last minute is totally the wrong thing to do. They say that the optimum flight prices for holidays will be obtained between 21 and 100 days ahead of travel.
Their research shows that for summer holidays the best price will be obtained 47 days ahead of travel. Out of season it increases to 69 days ahead.
A huge study by CheapAir.com, based on 8,000 markets and 917 million air fares reinforced the travel insider view. They say that the optimum window is between three weeks and four months before your trip. This is when fares dip the lowest, and also when you’ll see the most consistently cheap fares without price spikes
How To Book – Portals
Martin’s money saving maniacs reckon that the portals are definitely cheaper overall. And they come with great pedigree, seriously, they are obsessed with getting the very best deal on everything.
Their top picks are Kayak and then Skyscanner.
They argue Kayak’s virtues as allowing the option to search with options such as baggage included from the outset. That is a great plus as it is annoying to find a cheap flight only to find out later in the booking process that their add on prices for baggage, nominated seats etc are excessive.
They say that Skyscanner is still the best if your focus is absolutely on the bottom line price, and commend its feature of showing the prices for flights days either side.
So far we’ve given useful information, which will vary between ‘already knew that’ to being ‘a revelation’ depending on how often you book flights, and how often you read articles about how to do it cheaply.
Now onto the good stuff – the insider tips and tricks to beat the system and feel the love, the joy of beating a system that often feels it is set up to beat you.
Custom Email Alert
This one I can vouch for myself. I’ve used this to take our family on European round trips for 99p each for three separate trips. It is not so much about the deal, as ensuring you know it is available immediately.
Most of the low cost airlines have at least one big annual flight sale. Ryanair, for all we complain about them, are excellent for these insane flight deals.
But the important thing is to make sure you are quick enough to take advantage, the very best prices go very quickly. By default most mail clients consider promotional emails of lesser importance. How do you deal with your mail? Most people might not see a promo email until many hours after it is issued, by which time all the best deals are gone.
Create an account on the airline websites, and select to receive marketing information.
You will not have to wait long until you receive your first promotional email. All main email apps will have a similar function, but in Gmail desktop it goes like this.
Create a new label, ‘cheap flights’ or some such. Set your notifications of that label to something unique that you can’t miss, a special notification sound or whatever.
From the promo email select ‘filter messages like these’. Mark as ‘important’, ‘never send to spam’, and ‘always send to primary’. Assign the label ‘cheap flights’.
Now you can be sure that when that 99p flight sale is announced you are first on the booking site.
After time you can refine the filters too, to only be bothered with these absolute killer deals. Add subject line options such as *£0.99* or *99p* or *fiver*.
It works, and there is a certain pleasure in getting those 99p deals.
Jack’s Flight Club
Similar to the above, but not likely to include the 99p sales. Companies such as Jack’s Flight Club monitor prices and offer to email you bargain flight info on any given route.
Ryanair (and others) Baggage Buster
Baggage is often the killer as far as pricing goes. You can’t manage a weekend break with the meagre allowance Ryanair are now offering, but nor do you need a suitcase each. And an Ibiza tip – however much clobber you think you’ll need, you don’t need anything like that much. Share a suitcase – that’s 70€ or so which is a good few cocktails.
So book separately, one booking with baggage, one without. It used to make sense to all book on one transaction as you’d be sat together. But with Ryanair doing their best to ensure people on the same booking are not together, there is no longer any benefit in doing so.
And if you do want to pay to sit together you can still do that from your individual bookings.
Easyjet School Holiday Supersaver
We love this one, genius by Martin’s mad money-saving lot. It is all based on purposefully booking the wrong date.
Every parent knows that school holiday flights, hotels and everything else are way more expensive. We’ve all considered the huge amount to be saved by being one of those parents who take the kids out of school two weeks early. Well now you can get the saving withing the feeling of being a scumbag.
First check there is a reasonable amount of availability on the route you want with Easyjet in the school holidays. Then book a flight using their ‘flexifare’ option but outside of the school holidays. Chances are the flight that will be a whole lot cheaper, probably hundreds of pounds cheaper.
After 24 hours you are allowed to change the flights within a certain number of days of the original flights, and to do so at no extra cost – hence saving a packet.
Of course there are risks involved. If the school holiday flights have suddenly sold out you are left in a pickle with only the scumbag option to get you out of it. But the good people at Martins MSE say it’s a winner, and if they say so it probably is.
Sleep With A Superstar DJ
If all else fails, and for a totally free ride to the white island, we recommend a relationship with one of the world’s top DJs. This will hopefully get you a seat on their private jet. Well, it’s worth a go.