Advice on getting the best price for your flight to your new home can also be important when you are arranging travel back home during your time as a resident abroad. Here are our Top Ten tips for getting the best deal on your flights and hotels:
1. Use an airfare search engine – These sites carry out a search across multiple airlines to find the best fares. There are a number of these:
It is worth checking with more than one to see which provides the best prices. Once you have carried out your search you can generally set up an alert which will send email updates to let you know as prices change. You will not necessarily get the best price by booking as early as possible and price alerts will allow you to take advantage of special offers from different airlines. Skyscanner points out that airfare sales typically only apply to flights over the next few weeks or months.
2. Check airline direct – Remember, however, that not all airlines are included in these search engines and it will be worth checking with the low-cost airlines to see if you can get a lower airfare. Wikipedia has a useful list of low cost airlines.
3. Search for flights midweek – The price of flights fluctuates with demand and airlines launch new prices often offering the lowest prices between Tuesday and Thursday.
4. Search for tickets one at a time – There can be advantages to looking at flights one at a time. Often airlines have only a limited number of tickets available at each price. Where a group of tickets are booked at the same time, if you move into the higher price bracket for one ticket, all will be priced at this level. If you book one by one you may be able to get some at the lower price.
5. Compare return and single flights – It is also worth looking at the price of two singles on the same or different airlines rather than just looking at return fares. The return journey to the same or a nearby airport may be cheaper.
6. Be flexible – Always look at as wide a range of options as possible. Flights can be significantly different for different days of the same week or for one week over another. The nearest airport to your home or your destination may not be the cheapest option and if there are options to travel a little further overland it may make a significant difference to the cost of your airfare.
7. Consider a package – Where you need a hotel, a combined flight and hotel booking can be cheaper as hotels hide aggressive discounting within a package deal.
8. Social media – It is worth keeping an eye on Twitter and Facebook as this may allow you to be the first to be aware of special deals and obtain discount codes. Beware, however, of scams which can also be promoted on social media.
9. Sign up with your favourite airline – Airline newsletters can be a good source of information on upcoming sales and special offers on new routes. Building up points on airline loyalty schemes can provide options for points and cash deals and other benefits. However, you should always check whether the extra price paid is worthwhile and consider taking a cheaper flight on a different airline when appropriate.
10. Take account of all costs – Increasingly, budget airlines charge extra for checked baggage, checking in at the airport instead of online, seat booking, onboard refreshments and other services. Make sure that you do not take up a cheap flight without taking account of the extra costs you are likely to incur.