These tips could save you money for more sangria on the beach
If another grey February day has you dreaming of warmer shores, now could be the best time to book a bargain flight to the sunshine.
Online travel agent Skyscanner has analysed their data to help savvy travellers find the cheapest times and dates to book their next flight. The money-saving hacks reveal that we could all keep a few more pennies in our pockets when booking flights with some of the UK’s top airlines including easyJet, Ryanair, Tui, Jet2 and even British Airways.
By carefully choosing when to fly and where you are headed you could be enjoying yourself somewhere far from home for less in 2024.
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Many passengers may not be aware that certain flights can be more expensive to book on some days than others.
Skyscanner says “Looking at last year’s data, we found that travellers who bought their tickets on a Wednesday paid on average 4% more than those who booked on a Sunday. On a £500 flight, that’s £25. While it might not make a huge difference for the cheapest fares (after all, how much lower can a £9.99 flight go?), for group trips or pricey flights, it could be worth the wait.”
While diarising the best date to book your flight is a smart move to help save cash, choosing the day you depart could save you even more.
According to the data from Skyscanner, the cheapest day to fly from the UK is typically a Friday, while the most expensive time to fly is on a Sunday. The online travel agent concluded that “flying out on a Friday instead of a Sunday saw an average saving of an impressive 21%. On pricier flights, that could easily pay for an extra night in a hotel.”
When you book and when you fly can make a big difference to the price of your ticket. To save even more money though, keep the following in mind:
Choose the time you fly
While early-morning flights and late-night departures might have the cheapest ticket prices on paper, anti-social hours could end up costing you more if you need public transport to get to the airport.
If a daytime flight is only a few pounds more, it might make sense to pay more for your ticket and save on getting to the airport.
Book your ticket in advance
While everyone loves a last-minute bargain, the truth is that the best prices on airfares are usually found many months in advance.
The cheapest time to book your flight from the UK is around six months before departure, with some destinations such as New York, Orlando and some European holiday hotspots being at their lowest as much as 12 months in advance.
If you have left it to the last minute, or can’t bear the thought of waiting that long to get away, sites such as Lastminute.com, Expedia and Skyscanner will search down the back of the internet to give the cheapest late deals they can find.
Be flexible about your arrival
Many big cities have more than one airport, with smaller more regional landing strips often being cheaper. London, for example, is well known for Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted but both London Luton and London Southend have great transport links to the city centre and more importantly, often offer cheaper flights.
When searching for flights on comparison sites, choose a location instead of a named airport and you could make big savings on your airfare for just the price of a train or bus journey.
Spilt up your journey
If you are flying long haul you may find that it’s cheaper to book two connecting flights than one direct one. Breaking up your journey with a layover could help to keep costs down even if you have to include a hotel stay.
When looking for your flights online, make sure you have unchecked the “direct flights only” option to give you all the best routes and connections available to save money on longer journeys.
Be aware of hidden extras and additional fees
Some flight prices look too good to be true and in many cases, that’s because they are.
Budget airlines like Ryanair, for example, have flights available for as little as £12.99 one way, but most passengers will end up paying a lot more.
With airlines charging extra for cabin luggage, hold luggage, food on board and even seat options, try these tips to keep your flight price as low cost as it looks online:
- Travel light – don’t pay for extra baggage by using a compact Ryanair-size cabin bag.
- Sit anywhere – save money by using the seat map when you book or skip the seat selection page and you should find that you are given a middle seat for free.
- Need checked baggage? Some airlines charge a small fortune to add a suitcase to your booking. Check how much other airlines charge for seats that include hold luggage and you could find that a more upmarket airline like British Airways works out cheaper.
- Bring your snacks – grab something from Pret a Manger, Boots, WH Smith at the airport as their food and drink will be cheaper than on the aeroplane.
Finally, choosing a cheap package holiday or weekend break is a great way to save money on both flights and hotels. Wowcher has lots of great getaways to choose from with prices starting from as little as £69 per person.