Travel on a budget. Freedom... unconstrained by the thickness of one’s wallet or limit of kilometers. Who’s never dreamed about it? See this guide on how to see the world for next to nothing.
Rule 1. Travel off-season!
The most expensive tickets are for:
- summer break (June to August),
- long weekends,
- Christmas and Easter.
Rule 2. Buy tickets off-season!
In less popular periods, air tickets are much cheaper. Whenever possible, consider flying:
- in fall (October – November),
- in spring (February – April),
- in the middle of the week.
When selecting a connection, check a departure date. Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays are the best option for tight budgets. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturday evenings – quite the opposite. Whole airlines math!
Rule 3. Find your destination
The cheapest flights are to the so-called work countries, i.e. Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Great Britainand Belgium. Their prices start from PLN 29. Slightly more expensive are southern destinations. One-way tickets to Spain or Portugal cost from PLN 200 to PLN 300. Everyone without a clear idea of where to go or with no precise expectations may want to choose the first option, direction: North.
Important: search for flights directly on cheap airline websites, such as: Ryanair, Wizzair or EasyJet.
Rule 4. Buy today – price will go up tomorrow
Start looking for the best flight deals 1-3 months – for low cost airlines, and even 3-6 months – for standard airlines, before the planned departure.
Important: the further you fly, the sooner start searching. If your final destination is South America, even a year in advance. Costs of flights are never certain. – a cool part of hunting for cheap flights.
Rule 5. Know when to get to your PC
Flight tickets are usually most expensive when bought on weekends. The reason is simple: weekends are when most people enjoy their days off and have time to plan their travels. The best deals can be found on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
Booking time is also of the essence. Preferably, make your choice before noon (when at work), late at night or early in the morning. This is when a group of Net “surfers” is the smallest.
Important: If you see a promotion that you find interesting, book the flight immediately. Information about such treats spread like wildfire. First-come, first-served.
Rule 6. Subscribe to newsletters
You will then be notified of all the best deals on a carrier’s offer. It is also worth visiting all kinds of websites, forums and blogs with posts about cheap flights and traveling. This is where you can find a whole lot of first-hand information.
Rule 7. Select regional airports
Most travels by low-cost airlines start and end at regional airports, located some 80-90 km from city centers. Good examples are London Stansted – 60 km away from London, Beauvais-Tillé – 85 km from Paris, Sandefjord-Torp – 120 km away from Oslo and Frankfurt–Hahn – 130 km away from Frankfurt. Transport from an airport usually costs around EUR 20-30, not making the whole travel much more expensive. Assuming that a roundtrip flight ticket to Scandinavia costs some PLN 50, it is still affordable to pay extra for transport to and from an airport.
Rule 8. Compare cheap and traditional airlines
Don’t be afraid of traditional airlines (LOT, Lufthansa, Norwegian, British Airways, etc.), which are even more eager to cut their ticket prices. The mechanism is simple and complies with Rule 4. The first few seats are usually offered at the lowest prices. They are usually available a few months before a planned departure date. In the due course, prices in the booking system go up. With many seats still free on a plane, carriers tend to introduce special price deals. For example, the LOT Polish Airlines have two promotional offers: First Minute and “Crazy Wednesdays”.
Rule 9. Combine your flights!
Consider flying to Kraków with Ryanair and returning to Warsaw with Wizzair. Combined flights pay off if you plan a short 3-4 day city break and don’t want to arrive late at night or get up early in the morning. Low-fare carriers fly 6 a.m. to 11 p.m., with peripheral times offered most often. By maneuvering between various airlines and airports, you will be able to better tailor travel time to your needs.
You may also want to consider a flight with a stop, meaning that you choose to make a stop and transfer, and so accept longer total time of travel. Such combinations are exceptionally cost-effective, and worth paying attention to for longer routes, e.g. to Australia or Japan. However, you have bear in mind that for one reason or another you may happen to get stuck in the middle of nowhere. Hence – to be on the safe side – select longer intervals between your flights. Travels in stages (country to country, airport to airport) open a wider range of possibilities. It is not only Europe that is within reach.
Finding a cheap flight is not an easy task. It requires time, patience, quick decision-making and luck – but it’s worth it! Visit remote places and use money you have saved to enjoy your stay. Many successful flight transactions!
Main photo: © Picture-Factory/Fotolia, additional photo: © HappyAlex/Fotolia