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Cheap flights to Europe
Backpacking Europe » Before You Go
So you saved your pennies, but you don’t want to blow them all on the first part of your trip. Well, lucky for you we’ve booked thousands, and we’re going to show you how to do it.
The first thing you should understand is there is no golden recipe to follow that will guarantee you the cheapest flight every time. But if you use these tips, you’ll undoubtedly save heaps of cash and be able to significantly stretch out that holiday.
Know your resources
Thanks to the beauty of technology, the internet is saturated with information to help us pinch pennies, but the problem is a lot of it is total trash. So first up, it’s important to know which search engines will yield you the best results. When it comes to searching for cheap flights, the following are diamonds in the rough of search engines.
Google Flights and Skyscanner. The first thing we do when looking for flights is search using Google Flights. There are so many different ways you can search and though it doesn’t include rates for every single airline out there, both search engines have pretty comprehensive lists, with Google Flights typically being the cheapest. You can use the calendar to see the different prices for every day of the year or include nearby airports to see even more possibly cheaper alternatives. And if you don’t have a specific destination in mind, you can also use the Explore feature to see what it costs to fly from any single location to destinations all around the world. Even if you’re not ready to commit, you can save your searches for Google to monitor and you’ll receive notifications when prices drop or increase. Here’s another article with some hot cheap flight tips.
Hopper. Speaking of monitoring, there’s a new player on the scene, an app called Hopper. If you’re unlike me and actually plan your holiday well in advance, Hopper is a great tool that can help you plan the best time to fly and the best time to book your flights. And like Google Flights, you can choose flights to watch and Hopper will keep you updated with current prices, but unlike Google, Hopper is psychic and offers future price predictions.
Momondo. Momondo is great because it searches both budget airlines and major ones, with a much more comprehensive database than Google Flights. Momondo also has several different search methods and an explore feature to assist the undecided.
The most effective way to ensure you get the best deal and save the most cash is to be flexible – in mind, body and spirit. Just kidding! Think flexible schedules and even better, adjustable destinations. Flights during the holidays and in summer are the most expensive, so you’re best off flying during the “shoulder seasons” (Spring [except during spring break] and Autumn). Avoid flying during the weekend as much as possible, as weekends are busiest and thus most expensive. Along the same lines, flights in the early morning or late at night are cheapest for the same reasons. So if you just have to take that summer backpacking eurotrip, bro, you can still save some dinero by making those little sacrifices with dates and times.
When it comes to destinations, if you start or finish your trip in countries where low cost carriers (budget airlines) fly the most routes, such as the UK, Ireland, Germany, or France, not only will your initial flight be much cheaper, but you can then fly on a budget airline to other destinations or even take a train, and maximize those savings.
Fly budget airlines
Once you get to Europe, there are budget airlines galore. But outside of Europe, the options are much more limited. However, there are some current options depending on where in the world you’re traveling from and as the demand continues to grow more airlines and routes are continuing to expand in the budget arena. With limited destinations around the world, these budget airlines are definitely worth looking into, as their routes are constantly expanding – Wow Air, Level, and Norwegian Airlines. It’s worth noting that budget airlines don’t offer as many perks, can sometimes have hidden fees, and certain limitations (such as restricted baggage allowances) so definitely do your research and calculate if the savings are worth it (they often are for the budget conscious gallivanter).
Let the pros bring the deals to you
Two great sources for ultimate discounts minus all the legwork, especially for the spontaneous last minute travellers, are Secret Flying and Travel Pirates. Both sites are treasure troves of current deals, error fares, and other helpful flight info. For maximum benefits, follow their Facebook pages, as they often post about last minute specials and error fares, which require immediate action.
“Clear your cache or search in Incognito mode to prevent getting robbed of your precious pennies. If you’re continuously searching the same flight routes over an extended period of time, the magic bots recognize this and will jack the prices up. I’ve once had a price jump $200 in a matter of minutes. I panicked for a bit, but decided to hold off for a day and try again. Sure enough after I cleared my cache and searched again the next day, the price dropped back down and my bank account did the happy dance.” – Angel, Marketing, 21, USA
Booking the flight is often the hardest part, mostly because it’s the most expensive! But now that you’re armed with all the tips and tricks, you can rest easy and take that celebratory shot ‘cause you’re going on holiday!