We know travel is expensive. It’s also one of the best things to spend your money on. We have compiled a list of tips teaching you exactly how to save money on your flights. Money you can then spend at your destination, to be able to afford that luxury hotel, or to be able to afford to eat in a fancier restaurant than the scruffy pizza place somewhere in the poor area of the city. Let’s see how you can make the best out of your next trip.
Avoid Major Airports
We are based in the Netherlands, giving us quite a few airports to fly out of in a relatively small area. The biggest, well known airport is Amsterdam Schiphol. This is also one of the most expensive airport to fly out of in the entire European continent. Better fares can be found from airports like Rotterdam, Eindhoven or Groningen. If it’s not too much of a detour, consider flying out of smaller airports near you.
Flexible travel dates
This one speaks for itself, but many people don’t use it. Being flexible with your travel dates can save you a big amount of money. Leaving a day later than you would prefer sometimes equals a food budget that increases by €200 – €500. Google Flights shows you this when selecting dates, showing you the best options in green, and the worst options in red.
If you are unable to be flexible on your travel dates, e.g. when you want to go for a specific weekend, make sure you are flexible on your destination. While flights to Frankfurt for your dates might be pricey, a flight to Bucharest could cost as little as €20. We usually browse google flights and momondo to find a cheap flight to a place we have not seen before pops up. After finding the flight, we see if we are able to make it. By using this approach, we find several deals a month costing us €50 round trip or less.
Google Flights has a nifty feature for this, a map showing you prices for all destinations in the area you are looking at. Just enter your home airport, and let google do the rest of the work. You can even do this using “flexible dates”, showing the best prices in a selected time period.
Don’t cling on to your favourite airline
Obviously, your favourite airline will not always be the cheapest option. Breaking your bond with your trusted airline sometimes requires some courage, but once you make the step, you will be glad you did. For example, by opting to fly United instead of KLM, we managed to get tickets to NYC for €299 round-trip, instead of the usual €599 at KLM.
While we have to thank budget airlines for allowing us to travel on the cheap, it has caused traditional carriers to start adopting some of the budget-airline-policies to remain competitive. Almost all airlines advertise low prices (like our €299 flights to NYC). These flights are light fares. Booking these flights removes your right to free checked luggage, cancellation, and other things that were included in the ticket price 5 years ago.
To make the best use of this, travel light. By only bringing a carry-on on your next trip, you can buy that light fare, and pay significantly less.
Compare search engines
Perhaps the best way to find cheaper flights is by comparing search engines. There is no single website able to cough up the lowest price at any given time of the day. We usually start by browsing google flights for dates and destinations, and then move towards Momondo, kayak and Skyscanner to find the best flights for those dates and destination. This usually shaves up additional €€ from the price displayed at google flights.
No, we are not telling you to start loving layovers. We hate them too. Sometimes however, they are worth the sacrifice. A good example of this is my upcoming flight to Los Angeles. By adding a 1.5hr layover in San Francisco on the way, I saved €300!
When looking for flights, do not click that “direct flights only” button. It’s worth the extra few seconds to see the price difference. It is up to you to decide how much of a pain in the ass you are willing to endure in order to save your hard earned cash.
Please do not sign up for marketing mails from every airline in the world. You will never have enough time to even scan all of them. There are a few websites that do this for you. They will only send you emails when they find crazy cheap flights, so signing up and scanning a few extra mails a day is definitely worth the time.
These are our favourites:
- Scotts Cheap Flights
- Secret Flying
Now you know how to get better prices for your flights! Good luck on your treasure hunt, and let us know if you find any crazy deals! 😉