How I Find Really Cheap Flights

A frequent flyer's tips for finding really cheap flights, beyond just using Skyscanner.

How to find cheap flights

Flying for less

People are often surprised to hear that I’ve been on yet another long weekend away, and wonder how I can afford it. The thing is, travelling doesn’t have to be expensive! Staying in London, doing a bit of online shopping and going out for a few meals and drinks can often be just as expensive as going abroad.

I do have a few tricks that help me find cheaper airfares and go away without blowing all my savings. They take some extra effort and research but I think it’s all worth it because I get to travel so much more. Hopefully they can help you to plan your next trip too!

 

Compare, compare, compare

Compare the comparison sites! I used to be a loyal Skyscanner user, but more recently I’ve started using Momondo or Kayak to double check that I’m getting the absolute best deal. I’ve found that sometimes one website will have a slightly better price for the exact same flights. It’s always a good idea to check what fare the airline is offering on its own website.

 

skyscanner

How about a weekend in Norway?

 

Keep an open mind

The best way to get cheap flights is to be really flexible, both with your dates and your destination. Try searching for “everywhere” on Skyscanner or “take me anywhere” on Momondo to find the cheapest destinations for your chosen dates. This is how Chris and I ended up going to Stockholm for £50 return. We didn’t have a set destination in mind but Stockholm came up so we booked it. Also great is Momondo’s little calendar above your search results, showing you if you could get a cheaper fare on a different day.

 

momondo calendar - how to find cheap flights

Leaving on Sunday could save you a lot of £€$!

 

Good timing

Timing is everything! Fares fluctuate a lot depending not only on when you fly but also on how far ahead you’re booking. Momondo has this cool feature called ‘flight insight’: it tells you all sorts of things like how many days ahead of flying you should book and what the seasonality is for your destination.

If you’re not ready to book straight away, you can also set up a fare alert so you get an email when the price changes for your chosen route.

 

fare seasonality

November is looking good!

 

Look out for error fares

This is how I booked return flights to Tokyo for £245! Normally I would have had to spend £500+ to get myself over to Japan so when I saw this fare I jumped on it. You have to be very lucky, quick, and flexible to make the most of error fares, but they can save you a lot of money. Sign up to Jack’s Flight Club and you will get great deals emailed to you. Websites worth checking include Cheap Flights Lab, Flynous, Secret Flying, and Fly4free.

 

Consider buying a package

Sometimes you can make great savings when you buy your flights and your hotel as a package. EasyJet Holidays are great! If you find the same flight and hotel for less elsewhere, they will match it and even give you an extra £10 off. Chris and I have bought holidays from them twice (skiing in France and a long weekend in sunny Croatia) and saved money this way. Kayak lets you compare holiday packages from different providers, so it’s worth checking there before booking.

 

Happy flying!

Let me know if you found this useful or if you have any other tips.

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  • Great post! These are such a good selection of tips.
    I’ve never used Momondo before but seeings how I have NZ flights to book that tool may be extremely useful!
    Thanks for sharing 🙂

    Starlight & Stitches

    • Thanks Rachel! I’m so glad you found it helpful. Definitely play around with different flight search engines to make sure you get the best deal – Skyscanner sometimes misses out on some cheap options!

  • Really helpful tips Anne-Sophie, I agree with being flexible to get to the best deals and shop around. I use Sky Scanner too, I can’t get over how cheap your Japan trip was! Ours worked out quite pricey as it’s over Easter but in the future I’m going to be more flexible with time that I travel.

    Hanh | hanhabelle

    • I went over Easter/cherry blossom season last year too and it was much more expensive – but so worth it. At least we can try skiing in Japan this time! I can’t wait to relax in an onsen!

  • There are some awesome tips in here! Something tells me I’m going to spend hours browsing these sites for the next few weeks in search of a student-budget friendly holiday!

    Lucy x
    http://www.lucytregidon.com

    • Thanks Lucy! Definitely use the “everywhere” option in Skyscanner to find really cheap destinations 🙂
      I miss my student days, I could be so much more flexible back then! x

  • These are such great tips! Since I freelance now, I have a much more flexible travel schedule, so I’ve gotten super into travel hacking. LOVE Secret Flying and get emails daily for random deals from Philadelphia, and Skyscanner always seems to be my first stop! That 245 GBP flight to Japan is such a steal!

    • Ooh you’re so lucky that you can be so flexible! I always need to check with my boss before I book anything (or just risk it haha). Secret Flying is a good tip, I need to check it out!

  • Claudia Padgett

    I still cant believe you flew from London to Tokyo for 245 GBP! I had to read that sentence like 3 times just to make sure I had read it correctly haha! One of the tips that I love and something that we do aswell is chose destinations based on prices! Thats how we ended up in Stockholm too!

    • Haha isn’t it amazing?! It just shows how we could travel really cheaply if we could be super flexible all the time.
      Stockholm is such a nice break isn’t it? I want to do Copenhagen next, waiting for Skyscanner to suggest it haha 🙂

  • Wee Gypsy Girl

    245 quid to Tokyo AND BACK! That’s amazing- I thought I was good finding a 190 quid flight (one-way) from Seoul to Heathrow but that’s something else. I’ve gotten big into Kiwi recently. I love the to “everywhere” option on skyscanner but Kiwi also has the “everywhere” to option, so I sometimes do a radius search of all of Europe to see which country is the cheapest to fly from. I managed to grab a really cheap flight to Havana from Cologne (such a random airport I would never have flown from) thanks to that. I’ll be visiting my dad in Amsterdam anyway so it’s no bother for me to take a couple of hour long train journey to get to the airport. Thanks for sharing your tips! I love finding bargains 😀

    • I know it was such a bargain, I still can’t believe it! Ooh I’ve never used Kiwi before but that everywhere function sounds really good! Thanks for the tip. The flight to Tokyo is actually departing from Rome (and returning to London) so we still need to get another flight but now we have an excuse to visit Rome heheh 😀

  • Awesome tips! I always compare the comparison sites too. Error fares are unreal sometimes, but you have to be sooo lucky to get them!!

    • That’s true! I’ve signed up to the premium version of Jack’s Flight Club now and it’s amazing to see all the deals you can get!
      You also have to be careful with error fares and not book your hotels too quickly because airlines can cancel within a couple of weeks.