I make no secret of it that I love scouring the internet for cheap last-minute getaways to head off for a little bit of Vitamin Sea and a lot of cocktails. I’ve found that both Ice Lolly and Holiday Pirates have proved very bountiful in the last minute getaway stakes. But what about those holidays that you want to book in advance. Perhaps it’s to coincide with a special date such as a birthday, anniversary or another special occasion? How do you get the best deals and the cheapest flights for holidays you’re booking in advance? Here at The Social Media Virgin are our top 5 tips.
1. Go incognito
That’s right, keep your searches private. Flight prices change after you’ve searched it a few times in your browser. This is due to cookies, and I’m not talking delicious freshly baked ones from the boulangerie on your next escape to France! I’m talking about cookies that store data about your web activity and send them back to the websites you’re searching on. They really do increase when a route is in greater demand. This is clever marketing tactics to scare you into purchasing your flight.
Top tip: always search for flights in private/incognito mode for the lowest prices.
Mozilla Firefox or Internet Explorer – Command (or “Control” if using a PC), Shift, “P”.
In Google Chrome or Safari – Command (or “Control” if using PC), Shift, “N”.
A new window will open (it’s usually black or grey) this is where your information is not tracked. Meaning prices won’t inflate as you search. The cookies in incognito are reset each time you re-open a private window. Each time you search a new flight remember to close your private window and reopen a fresh one.
2. Work out the cheapest day
This is a huge tip for saving. If you can work out the cheapest date to fly you’re going to save yourself some money. Of course, weekends are more expensive than weekdays as the demand is naturally greater. Notoriously Tuesdays have been claimed to be the lowest priced day of the week to fly this is not strictly true. The easiest way to determine the lowest priced day to fly is to look at the prices for the entire month and then go from there.
Top tip: be flexible with your dates and look at a month view for prices
- Head to the SkyScanner site
- Enter your departure & arrival airports
- Ensure you only are selecting “one-way” (even for a round trip. We are just finding the lowest priced days to fly out first)
- Click “Depart”. Instead of entering any dates make sure you select “Whole Month”, and then “Cheapest Month” so you can browse all of the flights with ease.
- Finally, select “Search flights” to easily see which date is the cheapest.
3. Use the best flight search sites
Airline search engine sites are a great way to compare lots of different airlines all at once. It is, however, worth noting that the way these companies make their money is through slightly inflating costs to take their cut, some more than others.
Top tip: Use a combination of travel comparison sites to get the best deals
These are our tried and tested top websites we recommend searching and booking through.
- Skyscanner – the best value and our first choice
- CheapOair – has flights operated by different airways for a lower cost
- Kiwi.com – we’ll discuss this in the following tip, it does, however, combine all airlines to find routes that are lower cost than using a single airline.
- Momondo – sometimes this shows lower prices than Skyscanner
- Google Flights – not the cheapest but great to compare flights quickly
- AirFare Watchdog – use this to find sale and error fares
Of course, search engines are just for guidance and it’s often worthwhile using these search engines and then going directly to the websites to check the difference. Do make sure you stay incognito though!
4. Fly to the lowest priced places
Sometimes you may not know where you want to fly to and are looking for a surprise (or the lowest priced country to fly into). Searching in Kiwi.com is one of our favourite sites to enter your departure airport and rough dates to fly, you’ll see a map appear with average costs placed over a huge selection of cities from your departure airport. The list is sorted departure city lowest to highest which enables you to shop the low-cost destinations first.
While booking a whole trip with different airlines would be seen as pretty risky. Let’s just say your first flight was with Ryanair and it was delayed. You missed your second flight which was with British Airways due to your delayed first flight. As the airlines have no ties with each other then BA has no obligation to reschedule your flight. Instead, you’d lose your money. However, booking with Kiwi.com they offer their own guarantee which covers schedule changes, flight delays and any cancellations. You do have to contact Kiwi.com immediately when you’re made aware of the delay so they are able to put you on a different connecting flight or offer a discretionary full refund.
A travel hack with a guarantee worth looking into for the next time you travel.
5. Search for airline errors and sales
If you’re on WhatsApp then you need to subscribe to the Ice Lolly and Holiday Pirates holiday offers. As often airlines make mistakes when publishing fares they can often lead to seriously low price flights. I once saw a flight to Canada for £84 return on Holiday Pirates and we travelled to Ibiza for £111 each flight and accommodation for four nights on a Holiday Pirates deal.
There are a few possible explanations for these errors; technical glitches, currency conversion mishaps and even human errors. If you are aware of how to find these error fares you can save yourself some serious cash.
Check Skyscanner for full month rates as this often shows great deals and errors. We’ve managed to grab a few bargain holidays this way. AirFare Watchdogand Secret Flying are some of my favourite sites to frequently visit to find mistakes and sales prices. They work by pulling all the slashed deals into one single place.
So there you have it, our top 5 tips on how to get cheap flights and holiday deals. Have you used any of these tips before or do you know any other tips that you can share with our Social Media Virgin Tribe? Drop them below in the comments
As always please pin me for later.