Whether it’s a romantic city break with your partner or a family getaway to a beach resort, holidays can be a huge expense. Some of us save up for years to reach our longed-for destination, as the cost of the week away tends to add up rapidly. Many people pay more than they have to through rushing the process or missing out on opportunities to grab a better deal. Airline flights are a great example of a big expense that can be slashed substantially by following some simple tips.
Just like you’d use a comparison site to find the best insurance quotes or utilities packages, you can use the net to save money on your plane tickets. Rather than going straight to the airline’s page and typing in a date, use an airline comparison site to find the cheapest tickets for your journey. For a quick search and cheap results you can try Skyscanner, but don’t limit yourself to one site. Travelsupermarket, Expedia and Kayak also come up with good results, and the more sites you search, the more options you’ll have to choose from. Hopefully one of these will come up with a flight that suits your budget.
Although for mini-breaks and certain trips it’s usually cheaper to find your cheapest flight and then book a discounted hotel separately through flight and hotel comparison sites, it may sometimes be cheaper to use package deals. If you’re flying to an especially popular destination for a particular length of time, consider taking a look at the package holidays on offer that combine your hotel and flight and often include food and entertainment. These can be particularly handy for family holidays, and have the added benefit of including protection if something goes wrong or the company goes under unexpectedly. You can also ensure that you’ll be protected by booking your flight and hotel together through a travel broker; this usually offers the same insurance as a package holiday deal. Check that you’re getting the best deal by comparing the prices of package holidays with the cost of the cheapest flights available and separate hotel deals. Some travel agents also offer special guarantees: the travel agent STA Travel has an offer in place that guarantees it will beat the price of any scheduled flight if you can find it cheaper elsewhere. You may think of STA being specifically for students and young people, but this price guarantee offer is available to any customer, regardless of age.
If you are considering flying to America, perhaps to play the casinos in Las Vegas, you'll pay considerably less in January or February - although you'd save yourself the entire cost of a flight by playing casino games online instead at somewhere like ParrotCasino.co.uk. Other destinations have periods of the year when flights are cheaper, typically when the weather is cooler and it isn't school holidays.
One way of nabbing free flights that many people aren’t aware of is through credit card freebie deals. Many airlines have their own credit cards on the market, and if you successfully apply you can get special deals and freebies on flights. For example, Flybe’s credit card comes with a free return flight on its European routes. If your application is successful, all you have to do is spend the trigger amount, which with the Flybe card is an incredibly low 1p. You do have to pay the taxes so the flight won’t be entirely free, but it’ll certainly be a substantial discount. The key is to repay the amount you spend on the card in full so you don’t end up with any unwanted debt as a result. Ryanair have a similar deal, offering a European flight when you’ve spent £100 on their credit card, and further travel rewards for higher spending. This also includes taxes and any of the usual extra Ryanair charges, but could be handy if you fly to Europe frequently and feel confident that you could use the card responsibly and pay back in full on time. As with any credit card, make sure you read all the small print and don’t commit to anything you can’t really afford.