For many people the biggest expense when travelling are the flights to your destination. There are plenty of airlines and travel agencies out there who all claim to offer the “best deal”, but it pays to shop around to get the cheapest fares. With so much choice it can be difficult to get started. In order to help (or confuse matters even more) here is where I go to get my cheap flights:
STA travel is a travel agency that has offices throughout the world. They specialise in student and youth travel, so if you’re at university or under 26 you should definitely check them out. Not only do they have a variety of online deals and regular sales, their staff are knowledgeable and can help you plan your dream trip. As they specialise in the younger traveller they understand that you need budget flights and tours, and from my experience they don’t try to up-sell you.
My first stop when I’m searching for flights. Kayak.com searches a plethora of airline websites and can help you find competitive rates for almost any destination in the world. There are also options to search hotels and rental cars in your destination – not ideally suited to the budget traveller, but still a nice feature to have. There is also an app for Android and iOS which is handy to help plan the next leg of your journey when you’re travelling.
AIR FARE WATCHDOG
Similar to Kayak, Airfarewatchdog.com is worth a look on the off-chance you’ll find a better deal. Note that its searches seem to be slightly less comprehensive (for example, it doesn’t feature fares from Wellington, New Zealand) but this shouldn’t matter if you’re flying between more popular destinations.
Some of the best deals on budget flights are to be had from the airlines themselves. It’s worth investigating local carriers in the countries you want to travel and searching their websites – many of the flights are missed by search engines like Kayak and Airfarewatchdog, and in some cases smaller and regional airlines are excluded from these searches entirely.
There are also great last-minute deals to be found on airline sites, and some have their own budget travel offshoots, such as Air New Zealand’s Grabaseat. If you’re willing to shoot off on an adventure at the last-minute it can be worth signing up to these sites and getting emailed alerts on deals. For example the other week Grabaseat had NZ$480 flights from New Zealand to Tokyo, departing that weekend.
THE KEY TO GETTING CHEAP FLIGHTS…
…and the key to budget travel in general, is to be flexible and shop around. The more legwork you put into hunting cheap airfares the chances are you’ll get a better deal. Be flexible with your travel dates and destination can pay off big time and keep those hard-earned dollars in your bank account for a bit longer.
Are there any sure-fire websites or travel agents that you use to get cheap flights? Leave a comment with your methods and let me know of anything I’ve missed!
Note: I don’t benefit from the above links in any way. I have no affiliate relationship with any of the companies listed above – I mention them because I use them personally and have found them to be good at what they do.
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