Planning a budget vacation?
We share tips on how to score the best deals to keep flight costs to the bare minimum.
For those who prefer flying on a budget, it goes without saying that expensive flights can at times be a deal-breaker.
Airline tickets represent the most important aspect of our trip’s expenses, and therefore finding those ‘off the books’ deals becomes as important as finding the perfect getaway.
Here are some tips to help you save a decent chunk of your holiday budget — and plan another vacation with it!
1. Leave no Tracks
When it comes to looking for deals online, sites tend to use whatever information they can to charge an appropriate price based on your location and search history.
Once they deduce that you are keen on flying on a particular route, they up the prices to lure you into buying tickets immediately.
Play smart by clearing your browsing history and log out of all accounts.
Always go incognito to stand a better chance of saving big.
2. Avoid the Crowds
Since most of us prefer travelling on the weekend, airlines step up profits by hiking fares, especially on Fridays and Sundays.
As fares usually plummet Monday afternoon onwards, choose to travel on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Saturday.
However, check the prices for the whole month to see the cheapest options available.
Dodge ridiculously high fares by flying red-eye: the cheapest flights are usually those between 5 am and 7 am or post 9 pm.
3. Be more Flexible
To bag some of the best airline deals, you need to be flexible and adaptable. You could start with being fluid about your destination, and also the airport you’re flying from.
Try Skycanner’s ‘everywhere’ destination option to find the cheapest options.
Kayak offers the ‘explore’ option, allowing you to see a map with all the flights to destinations under a set budget.
You can also sign up for free alerts from Google Flights or AirfareWatchdog.com and be notified when there’s a price drop.
4. Always Compare
Compare deals and fares with other sites before clicking on the ‘confirm booking’ option.
Explore sites like Expedia, MakeMyTrip and Yatra, etc. for the best deals.
You wouldn’t want to lose out on a huge deal owning to your loyalty towards a favourite website or app.
You may even get lucky at times as you could get a cheaper or better deal on the airline’s website than on comparison sites or apps.
5. Book Ahead
A study conducted in 2012 by Airlines Reporting Corp, a US-based company that provides data about passenger air travel, found that passengers paid the lowest price when they booked six weeks in advance.
The study found that ticket fares shoot up dramatically, about a week leading up to the day of travel, and can rise nearly 40 per cent above the average price if the ticket is bought on the day.
Before booking those early-bird tickets, check the cancellation policies to see if you’re eligible for a transfer or a refund.