More often than not, the price of a return airfare takes up the largest slice of any travel budget. Depending on your destination, it could costs thousands just to get from A to B and back again. Luckily for all us, there are ways around such high upfront costs, whether your destination is near or far.
1. Discount Flights
Entire businesses exist on the premise of offering you cheaper, discounted flights. Skyscanner, for example, searches thousands of routes and providers, to find a suitable match for you and your budget. To make the most of them though, you’ll need to be crafty. Always search for flights online in your web browser’s private mode – companies can and will raise prices the more often you visit a certain page via cookies. Next, make sure you give yourself a wide range of dates on which you’re available to fly. There can be a hundred pounds’ difference between the 5th of May and the 10th. Skyscanner has a ‘cheapest month’ function if you’re really not picky. Finally, if you’re a frequent or company flier, travel for free or at massive discounts with reward points from places like Virgin.
A discount rate ticket is just as good as regular one. You’ll be subject to the same protections and regulations as everyone else. Really, there’s no downside to shopping around if you have the time. And if things do go wrong – for example, a delay or a cancellation – it’s easy enough to get things sorted. Air passenger rights hub Flightright lists your rights across individual popular airline companies like British Airways, according to EU law. Their site has a thorough breakdown of possible compensation depending on your specific circumstances, from minor hold ups to total cancellations. Input your flight details into their free live search tool and you’ll know what you’re owed – and how to get it, up to six years after the date of the journey.
2. Packing Light
It’s becoming increasingly common for cheaper airlines to charge their passengers per item of hold luggage storage – a free bag isn’t always guaranteed. To save yourself a potential extra cost, be sure to do your research before buying an airline ticket.
You’d be surprised how much you can fit in a carry-on if you’re efficient about it and you’ll save yourself the hassle of baggage claim when touching down. Files by Google is a free and convenient app that’ll store all your travel insurance, hotel bookings etc. in one handy digital place. No bulky folders needed. Meanwhile, Thrillist has a great army-style packing tutorial for folding your clothes, so you can pack as much in as possible. The only downside is that you may have to skimp out on the hair straighteners.
3. Airline Food
Tightened airport security over the years has severely limited the kinds of foods and snacks one can bring through security today, but it’s not a total ban. In fact, most things without high liquid content are game according to Gatwick security, from packed lunch sandwiches to crisps.
It may be that your airfare includes the cost of a lunch or breakfast on the flight, but not always – especially for shorter journeys. Rather than splash out on an expensive terminal restaurant or in-flight bacon sandwich (likely microwaved), do yourself a favour and save some pounds by bringing your own. This might seem like a small thing at first, but if you’re a large family airport food costs could reach as high as forty or fifty pounds all-in-all.
Every little bit adds up. Tickets are expensive, yes, but they can be made cheaper in lots of little ways if you’re willing to cut back. Travel savvy!