How to use Comparison Sites to Save Money and Get Cheap Flights

Author: Category: Travel Date: 3rd August, 2012

Cheap FlightsWe all love to jet off into the sunset and enjoy a nice holiday, but the problem is that flights just seem to be getting more and more expensive! Here’s a series of top tips we’ve put together for you, to help you get cheaper flights using price comparison websites!

  • Always be flexible with your dates where possible – travelling midweek will probably be a lot cheaper than travelling at weekends. Most price comparison websites let you enter a number of days either side of your chosen date on which they will also compare prices. You can save over 50% on ticket prices simply by travelling on a quiet day.
  • Avoid holidays – summer holidays are synonymous with high flight prices because that’s when parents take kids away. If you can possibly avoid school holiday dates then do so – you can save an awful lot of money. Early July and the beginning of September are much cheaper times to go on holiday than the middle of August – and often the flight prices are significantly cheaper.
  • Look at booking hotels if the price comparison website facilitates them. Amazingly it can be cheaper on some occasions to book flights and a hotel – as opposed to just booking flights. It’s crazy, but it’s true!
  • If you’re willing to do some transfers you could get much cheaper flights. Direct flights often cost a premium.
  • Look at the price of flights to your destination from various airports around the UK. Sometimes flights from Manchester airport are significantly cheaper than flights from Heathrow.
  • If you’re only travelling for a couple of days, take only hand luggage. A lot of companies now charge you if you want to check a bag in.
  • Make sure you remove optional extras like meals and travel insurance from the price of the ticket. You can almost always pick up a sandwich in the airport terminal to eat on the flight (which is much, much cheaper), and you can almost always pick up travel insurance cheaper through a different company.
  • Use the right payment card to avoid those high payment fees. Different airlines require different cards – if you get the appropriate card (Visa Electron, for example), you can save up to £12 per booking with companies like Jet2 and RyanAir.
  • Don’t go for priority boarding or pay for extra leg room unless you absolutely must – it costs a small fortune!
  • Avoid check in fees by checking in online – you can then print your boarding card and take it to the airport with you.

Once you’ve found a great deal on a price comparison website don’t forget to try the company’s website directly (ie, if you found a great deal on a price comparison website for a British Airways flight, make sure you go directly to the BA website and put in those same dates). Often you can get flights even cheaper by booking directly through the airline’s website.

If you book flights after going through Topcashback or Quidco you stand to save even more money.

Some price comparison websites don’t let you book online – they ask you to call a number for flight information. Don’t be put off by this; some of the cheapest flights out there can be obtained by calling the designated booking line, just make sure it’s a free phone number!

Other things to consider

Before you travel anywhere make sure you have the appropriate visa. Travelling within Europe is fine if you’re an EU citizen, however if you travel outside that zone you’ll probably need a visa. The USA now requires visitors to have an ESTA.

If you pay by credit card for your flights you’ll be protected if the airline goes bust. Remember to pay the credit card off in full at the end of each month though so you don’t get hit with interest charges!