Booking flights can be a daunting prospect. Especially when you have saved for months and you are suddenly faced with a flight, which cuts deep into your travel budget. We want to help you with some cheats, hints and tips we have picked up on our way.
♦ TOP TIP – Be flexible on dates. Being flexible on dates can be a little annoying, especially when you want to leave on a weekend so that your family and friends and give you a good ‘bon voyage’. But sometimes being flexible in this way could save you a couple $100, which may be the difference between diving in the Great Barrier Reef and sitting on the sideline. Using websites like Skyscanner are great for these types of searches. You just need to enter the month that you’d like to go and it will bring up a table of flights for that month along with their price comparison.
♦ Best day to book. Most people book flights at their leisure from Friday evening through to Sunday, potentially having a think over night and making the booking Monday. With this in mind keep your eyes pealed for Tuesday afternoons! At this point in the week most airlines know if their flights are full and if there are many spare seats still available you could grab yourself a bargain. It’s a good idea to sign up for airline news letters if you are not too worried about junk mail, because this is where you will find the best deals rather than rummaging through several sites.
♦ Best day to fly. As we’ve mentioned earlier you can save heaps by just being flexible on the day you fly. We have found that Thursdays are a great day to go, the price difference seems significantly cheaper compared to any other day. But don’t just take our word for it, have a good look. On the week you want to depart, do a flight search for each day that week to be sure you are getting the best deal.
♦ Flying at unsocial hours. Its a bit of a given but less people want to fly at anti-social hours, which is great news for us travellers with plenty of time on our hands. Picking a late night or early hours flight allows for a higher chance of spare seats on the plane… which means one thing – cheaper flights for us!
♦ Clear your cookies! This is a little way to cheat the system and grab yourself a cheaper ticket. You see, the more you refresh your browser the more the price of your flight may rise as it changes constantly based on demand. By clearing your cookies, the travel website will not be able to use your search history against you. Click here for an article on cookies and how to clear them by Business Insider Australia.
♦ Booking last minute or several weeks in advance? Booking last minute (when it works) can be great. We once booked a return flight from NZ to the UK within 24hrs of flying and saved heaps, it cost roughly $1000 NZD (£557). But this was a lucky day for us, as we tried it again and unfortunately it went the other way. We would recommend not taking the risk, book your flight in advance – its not worth the stress.
♦ Always check the price. Especially on comparison sites – we have been caught out once or twice before by not reading through our booking thoroughly before paying. Be aware that some sites change currencies as you move through the site – this cheeky trip set us back $200NZD when booking a flight with Virgin Australia through Cheapflights.
Another thing to note is that sometimes results tables have not updated throughout the day or the price shown is just an estimate, so its always worth a check.
We have found baggage charges to be the biggest culprit for hidden costs! When going on a multi-stop trip you may end up flying with two different airlines. Be sure to check that your baggage is covered for the entirety of your journey – it can be painful and costly to sort out later.
♦ Make multiple-stops. Its not always fun but being a backpacker with unlimited time and a restrictive budget, its the best way to save those extra pennies. Josh had a great long stop-over in Kuala – Lumpur which makes for a great story. If you ever come across us be sure to ask about it!
Got any tips we’ve missed? We’d love to hear from you!