I can’t count the number of buses of we have squished into over the past three years but, I can tell you we’ve flown approximately 11 times and two of those flights were just to leave Australia! Flying is often expensive and we like to do everything as cheap as possible. After all, what is the point in arriving at your destination and not being able to afford a beer??
This post looks at how we find the best deals and some other tips to help you save money on your next adventure.
When to book?
According to statistics, Tuesday afternoons are the best day to reserve your flight and you should start looking around 3 months prior. In saying this, I don't know if we have ever booked on a particular day of the week so I'm not sure how correct this is. We do know that waiting until the last minute is a bad idea.
If you have a preferred airline, sign up to their newsletter to receive special deals and sale times. Research budget airlines that might be available as they often won't appear on comparison searches. Avoid peak season times like school holidays and national festivals which tend to drive the prices up. Try and be flexible.
Where to compare?
There are hundreds of flight comparison websites and some are better than others depending on where you want to go. Despagar.com, for example, is a great tool for booking cheap flights in South America but, not so functional for flights within Australia.
The two main search engines we use to compare different flight prices are Google Flights (https://www.google.com/flights/) and Skyscanner (https://www.skyscanner.net/). They both check the prices across a number of airlines and travel agents to give you all your options in one handy place.
**Regardless of which search engine you decide to use, make sure you use the private browsing or incognito function on your web browser to avoid your searches being tracked.**
Which is best?
If you know where you want to go, Google Flights has good functionality. You can choose from round trip, one way, or multi-city stops. The calendar function also allows you to see when the cheapest flight is available for the month.
If you are somewhat flexible on the date you can fly, you can choose from the cheapest available. When you click on the date of your choice, all your options will be presented in further detail, including the number of stops, travel time, and airline provider.
Select which flight you are interested in to see the complete itinerary. (We have chosen this particular flight regardless of the 13 hour layover because it's cheaper than flying direct and we are super flexible for time.)
Once you have decided on which flight is for you, Google Flights offers to book, track or share the flight.
If you are ready to book, click on the price and it will bring you to a screen that looks like the one below.
*One thing we hate about Google Flights is that clicking the price often redirects you to the airline who doesn't seem to offer the same itinerary and price. We found that by returning to the deal and trying again it would eventually come up. The flights are legitimate and you'll receive confirmation from the airline directly regarding your booking.
Why use skyscanner?
Skyscanner works pretty much the same way as Google Flights but, it has one functionality that we think is a great idea if you have no idea where you want to go. Google Flights also offers this service but, it's not as seamless as Skyscanners function.
You can search 'Everywhere' instead of listing a specific destination, opening up travel possibilities you may not have yet considered.
Skyscanner will also allow you to compare prices across a whole month or, you can choose 'Cheapest Month' to discover the best deal across the upcoming year.
A list of destinations, from cheapest to most expensive will be compiled for you. Internal, domestic flights are often listed first, followed by international options. Of course, unless it's cheaper to fly internationally in which case these flights would be number one.
Select your destination, for this example we've chose the United States, and a secondary list of options in price order, is compiled with the available city airports.
Once you have selected the city you would like to fly into, it's time to be more specific on dates. You will be shown a colour coded calendar with all the best prices for the month. Green are the lowest prices and pink are the most expensive.
Unfortunately, this is where we stop liking Skyscanner. Even after choosing the cheapest flight available from the calendar (in this case the 15 March), the cheapest flight shown after selecting the date is almost $300 more. Instead, we then head back to Google Flights with our destination and dates ready to crosscheck prices and make the reservation.
Some of the other search engines you might like to try include;
To find the national airlines servicing your destination, use Google search, for example; "santiago to buenos aires flight". The number of flights, duration, and brief flight schedule will be displayed for your convenience.
Maybe the next time you book your holiday escape these handy tips will help you save some money - which is always more fun spent on beer anyway :)
Travel safe x
Is there another website you like to use for your flight searches? Please share with us in the comments section below.
Also, a big thank you to our friend Glenn Casey at Case by Case Photography for lending us some airport shots for this post. Other than planes, Glenn is available for weddings and personal portrait shoots. You can find more of Glenn's impressive artwork on his Facebook page; www.facebook.com/casebycasephotography.
I've been wearing the same clothes now for 3 years.
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