One of the largest expenses and biggest headaches for any family thinking of travelling abroad is the cost of the flight. Despite all the websites offering the alleged best deal, no matter how hard you look you just can’t find a good deal! The magic $500 flight to Singapore never materialises. Instead you find yourself with a ticket that costs four times as much.
After travelling the world for years on a tight budget I’ve learnt a thing or two about saving money. So here’s how I go about finding plane tickets for myself.
1. Rules of the Road
There are some general rules you need to follow if you want to get the best prices for a ticket. This includes what day of the week you travel on and how far in advance to buy tickets.
Generally the most expensive days of the week to travel on are Thursday, Friday and Saturday. The cheapest days are Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.
When buying tickets in advance you should do so at least six weeks for domestic flights. For international flights book two to three months before you travel. This will also give you the chance to reserve seats with extra legroom if you have small children.
If you’re going to be taking an international flight then certain airlines are more likely to offer you better deals than others. Forget British Airways, look to the Middle East for the best offers. With all of that oil wealth, Middle Eastern carriers have the best planes on the market and as a result offer the most competitive deals out there.
2. Price Comparison
When I’m searching for a good deal the first place I start with are the price comparison websites. There is a range of price comparison websites to choose from. Although price comparison websites rarely offer you the best deal, they do give you an idea of the median price.
3. Sale Time
This is really an obvious one. Every year airline companies will hold sales where they are looking to offload cheap tickets. For Middle Eastern airlines this will normally happen around Eid. European Airlines prefer to hold their sales at the start of autumn or the end of the year.
4. Low Cost Carriers
Budget airlines get you where you need to go and do it cheaply. If you’re on a tight budget, or a short haul flight, I’d recommend them, but for anything over three hours flight time consider changing to a national airline. This is especially important if you have young children. Extra legroom and an entertainment system can be a lifesaver on a long haul flight.
5. Visit the Websites
At the beginning I said that price comparison websites are the place to start, and they are! However, this does not mean they always give you the best price. A lot of the time carriers hold back their best ticket prices for their own customers, not third parties. People using price comparison websites have no loyalty to an airline and the carriers know this. So take the time to look at their websites. The difference in the price of a ticket can be a few hundred dollars.