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How to Find Cheap Flights

How to Find Cheap Flights

Up in the air: how to save money on flights

In 2016, there were nearly half a million aircraft take-offs and landings from Heathrow alone. That's well over a thousand a day.

Since 2009, the number of flights worldwide has been increasing year-on-year and is showing no sign of letting up.

With such high demand, flying is never going to come cheap. This is especially true if you're planning to travel long-haul. But the good news is that there are steps you can take to reduce the cost of your air travel.

So read on as we take a look at some tips for how to save money on flights.

Book Early

The later you leave it to book your flights, the more likely it is that you're going to end up paying over the odds.

Research has shown that the best time to buy depends on the season. In winter, 62 days before you plan to travel is the optimum time to book. In the spring it's 90 days, 47 days for travel in the summer, and 69 days if you're planning to travel in the autumn.

These aren't hard and fast rules, but if you're looking for the best fares, it pays to start looking a couple of months in advance.

Clear Your Cookies

If you're looking for flights online, you're being watched.

Flight companies, as well as flight comparison sites, will change their prices depending on demand. The more people they know are looking, the higher the prices are going to go. They use cookies to track your search history in order to try and get as much money out of you as possible.

You can fight this, however. Clear your cookies and search history, and they won't be able to see that you've checked their flight page five times in the last week. You could also try browsing in incognito mode, but this isn't always effective.

Don't Stick to One Search Engine

Flight comparison sites still need to make money.

And they usually do this by adding a small premium on to the prices that they advertise. Some sites will add on more than others, so you may be able to find the exact same flights cheaper on another site. It's also worth checking with the airline directly too.

The more sites that you try, the more likely you will be to find the best price for the flights that you want.

Be Flexible

You have no control over when other people fly.

If everyone wants to fly on the same day that you do, the prices are going to rocket up. This is why it pays to be flexible. Rather than have a set date of travel, try searching within a window of a week or two.

You should find that prices for the same routes will vary quite a lot throughout your search window, allowing you to select the cheapest date to travel.

Fly Midweek

By far the most popular days to fly are Fridays and Sundays.

So try searching for flights that are midweek, or on a Saturday. You should find that these flights will have less demand, and so the prices will be lower. The savings can often be significant.

Keep in mind however that if you're flying out before the date that you need to arrive, you'll have to factor in the cost of the additional accommodation.

Fly at Inconvenient Times

Just as flights on Fridays and Sundays will be more popular as they are the most convenient, the same is true of flight times.

Flights that depart in the late mornings or afternoons are by far the most popular. Try looking at flights that depart between 5 and 7 in the morning, or after 8 in the evening, which should be noticeably cheaper.

You may also be able to switch your flight to a more convenient one on the same day without paying any extra.

Travel Outside School Holidays

Taking your family on holiday outside of the school terms can be really expensive.

With so much more demand from families with school-age children during these periods, the airlines take full advantage by putting their prices up. The same flights can increase by as much as £400 during school holidays.

If you're not travelling with children, then try to always book your flights outside of these dates. The savings you can make can be huge. Information about school term dates can be easily found online.

Book Connecting Flights Separately

If there are no direct flights to your destination or connecting routes are cheaper, then there is no reason why you need to book those flights together.

If a carrier offers a connecting route, take a look at how much it will cost you to book those two flights independently. You may find that purchasing the flights separately actually works out cheaper than buying a single connecting flight.

You might also be able to save money by stopping over at the connecting airport for a night or two. The price of the onward flight may be lower if it is not such a convenient connection.

Use Different Airlines

If you're looking at booking your connecting flights independently, there's no reason why you have to book both with the same airline.

Have a look at the most common routes to your destination, and do a search for the individual flights across a range of airlines. You will often be able to make significant savings by splitting the route between different carriers.

Remember however that if your flight are with different airlines, you will be responsible for collecting your luggage at the connecting airport and checking it in again for the second leg of your journey.

You Know How to Save Money on Flights — Now Want to Save More?

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