Booking Flights

How many hours have you spent scouring the web for cheap flights? There are so many websites offering the ‘best’ deal and we’ve all fallen victim to a good bit of marketing. Then two weeks later you’ll find them £297.30 cheaper on a different site. Nightmare. It can sometimes feel like you’re in a web of prices and destinations when all you wanted was a cheap flight to Benidorm.

Learn from our mistakes, we’ve made a few, by having a read over our top tips for booking flights.

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1. Start early and set price alerts

The longer you have to find flights the cheaper it will work out for you. As a rule of thumb, we try and book our flights either well in advance or what we (serial planners) would class as last minute. If you are thinking about being spontaneous, try and book at least three-four weeks in advance. According to MSE the sweet spot is around 60 days in advance, but these can change day to day.

With all these price changes, if you know you’re looking for a specific flight sign up to price alerts through email or app notifications. It’s worth noting that some of the best alerts go off in the middle of the night, so keep your phone on loud and be ready to book mid-sleep!

You can also use tools like Google flights for checking flight price trends. While these might not be 100% accurate, they usually paint a pretty good picture of when’s best to buy. According to trend tools like this, Tuesday is the day to buy flights, Mondays and Thursdays are not. Who knew there was such a science behind it?

2. Look out for sales and discount days

Budget travellers rejoice, large airline companies tend to have regular discount periods. Look out for them in their email campaigns or homepages – they usually call them jazzy names like ‘Friday Frenzy’ (Jetstar) or ‘Happy Hour’ (Virgin), so you can use the money saved on a few more happy hours.

3. Claim back with cashback

Similar to the point we mentioned in our booking accommodation page, getting cashback on the essential things like booking flights is an added bonus. We recommend Quidco (UK) and TopCashback (some international sites) as it’s not uncommon to see cashback rates around 10% or higher. More often than not, we use Quidco. They make the whole process so easy.

  1. Sign up through this link for a £10 cashback bonus*,
  2. Search their extensive database for the company you are making the purchase through or for the best cashback rate,
  3. Choose the company that’s right for you and click the link through Quidco
  4. Complete you booking as normal and Quidco does the rest!

*You will receive a £10 cashback bonus when you complete your first purchase in their travel category. Sign up through this link. That’s a £10 bonus on top of any cashback you earn.

Some of the big names in Quidco’s travel category include:

  • Expedia
  • TUI
  • Icelolly
  • Easyjet Holidays
  • Jet2 Holidays
  • Secret Escapes
  • STA Travel
  • Virgin Holidays
  • Loads more!

If you’re booking a holiday, this is the easiest way to get some money back!

4. Take advantage of price guarantees

Some big-name companies boast the price match guarantee. Jetstar and STA Travel both advertise this. If you find a flight cheaper elsewhere, they’ll try and beat it and give you an added bonus. This is where you can combine offers like this and cashback sites to become a super savvy traveller!

5. Use comparisons but always check direct

It’s always best to check all bases. On the odd occasion, we’ve found that booking directly with the airline can be cheaper than booking through a comparison site.

Plus, not to sound like a stuck record, but check which can earn you the most cashback at the same time, this may seem like a job for an excel whiz (i.e. Dan) but it’s worth it in the long run. The money saved here can be spent in duty-free!

Here’s our process when booking flights:

  1. Check Skyscanner and set price alerts
  2. Check and set price alerts
  3. Compare best prices to airlines direct website
  4. Go to STA Travel and price check
  5. Head to Quidco and work out the best deals including cashback rates
  6. Start a bidding war via the price beat guarentees
  7. Fly for cheaper

Something else you may enjoy reading:

Take a look at our Cheap Travel Tips for more general money-saving ideas and advice to save you some money when travelling around!

*** Never leave for a holiday without travel insurance! ***

We all think it’s common sense to not fall from your hang glider or go swimming with sharks, but unfortunately accidents happen and it’s best to be prepared. Since we discovered Alpha Travel Insurance a few years back, we haven’t shopped elsewhere. Their activity packs make it easy to add on what you actually need and their flexible excess options are fantastic. Check them out.