After my previous post, a few of you guys asked me some advice on how to find cheap travel deals online. After traveling across 5 continents in 40 countries I can give you a few tips and sites that I use to find some good deals.
Why travel fares can be so expensive?
As our old economic books would say, it is a matter of demand and supply. Less competition means an increase in prices. Most of the major airlines merged together like for example in Europe, KLM and Air France are today one company and Lufthansa owns many small airlines also. Sure it is cheap to travel within Europe, but as soon as you wish to travel outside, the prices start rising.
But there are other factors to take into consideration to determine the airfare cost such as the price of airline fuel that has decreased since last year but cost about 1.55€/litre today and the airline taxes and security fees that mostly depend on the country of your destination.
Also, to save on their expenses, airline companies fly on fuller planes as it brings more passenger revenue. You add up all of these factors and you obtain a formula that airlines use to setup their fares.
According to Rick Seaney of Farecompare.com, “Before 2008, things were in the favor of the passengers. After the 2009 crisis, the scale of justice tipped towards the airlines.”
Where can we find some good deals online?
In order to find some good deals, you will need to be flexible as airlines change their prices constantly depending on the traffic. When the demand is low, the prices will be low as well.
My advice to travel within Europe is to use websites such as Groupon, Expedia, Lastminute, or low cost airlines like Ryanair or even Easyjet. They often offer some travel deals in Europe and North Africa for a week getaway at a very competitive cost. Sign up to their newsletters in order to be one of the first to enjoy their offers.
However, when it comes to travelling outside of Europe, it can become a bit trickier to find some good deals. Like I said it is a matter of flexibility. Here are my top 5 tips I can give you.
1. Compare, compare, compare!
One site that I use a lot is skyscanner. It is a big search engine that compares the cost of flight tickets from a range of different airlines. From here you can select where you wish to travel, select the whole year and hit search.
This magic trick will allow you to find a graph chart on the next page that displays when is the best time to travel and don't spend all your holiday money on the tickets cost. For example here, I selected Los Angeles as a destination, travelling from Dublin. And I wanted to see when would be the best time this summer to travel for cheap.
You can see in green the dates I selected that are the cheapest for this period and also are direct flights which sometimes can be very handy as I have had bad experiences while taking connection flights in the past.
In total the price per adult for a return ticket is 589€ compare to other dates that would cost me up to nearly 900€, That's about 300€ in savings here!
That's one search engine among many others like Momondo, ebookers or ITAsoftware that was recently acquired by Google. But I must admit that skyscanner is the one that I used the most often to find some good deals. However, do not forget that some of them are own by airline companies, so the more choices you have, better it is to get some good deals.
2. Be flexible
I think by now, you understand the need to be flexible. Sometimes that can mean that it is cheaper to travel from a different airport, or fly in the middle of the week on early or late flights and of course off holiday periods.
But it can also be cheaper to travel from point A to point B stopping by point C or even D on the way. Depending on your flight connection time, that can allow you to visit a city in a country you never expected to go.
3. Book early
The best period to book your flight is 6-8 weeks before departure day and 3 months before if it is during holiday season. Fares will keep on increasing but it might come a time when airline companies will adjust their prices as it mostly depends on demand. So, sign up for their newsletters and setup an alert on their travel search engine to receive a notification when there is a change in the ticket fares.
4. Use social media
If you are part of the generation Y also known as Millennials, social media must play a big role in your life on daily basis. And Lately, more and more companies, including airline companies, started using social media as an information channel to target this niche and offer last minute travel deals. So, follow your top 3 airline companies online and be on the lookout for their special sales announcement. First come, first served!
5. Be a Frequent traveler
If you plan several trips during the year, why not sign up for a frequent flyer membership or use credit cards linked to airlines. Most airlines will offer you some rewards once you will collect a certain amount of points, that can be redeemed and allow you to receive a discount on a flight cost or other travel deals. That's still a good way to save some money.
And that's it! I hope these advices will help you schedule your future trips at a cheaper price that would match your budget. These tips are the ones that I use but there are many others that you can get from frequent budget travelers online.
What about you? Maybe you have some great tips to share on how to find cheap airfares online. Do not hesitate to share them in the comment section below.
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