How to get the cheapest flights for your next holiday

Don't pay a fortune for your next holiday. Here's a handy guide to getting a cheaper flight...

You’ve only been back at work for two days, but already you’re planning your next holiday.

Whether it’s a family getaway, a couples holiday or a solo city break, make sure you’re not paying through the nose for expensive flights, when you could be spending less. The first thing to know is that it's important to plan ahead! Try and get an idea of where you'd like to go a few months in advance, so you can be prepared to get the best deals on your flights.

The cheapest day to book your flight is...

Tuesday, at 3pm, according to this study.

Book flights well in advance

A study by Expedia found that you could save on domestic flights if you book 56 days in advance and international flights if you book 171 days in advance. Find out more in this study here.

If it's an option, consider which airport you're flying into

Budget airlines are no big secret, but you could fly into destinations perfect for a girls’ weekend or a family beach trip for a fraction of the cost if you’re willing for your transfer from the airport to the hotel to be a little longer.

For example, Ryanair flights to Stockholm Vasteras and Stockholm Skavsta airports are often cheaper than non-budget airline flights to Stockholm’s closest airport, Arlanda. However, the transfer from Skavsta to central Stockholm only takes about an hour by coach.

Consider the time of year for your holiday

If you’re flying to Rome in July, chances are it’s going to cost more than if you’re flying to Rome in January. Even if you’re bound by the school holidays for a family trip, booking for a late August/early September holiday could be much cheaper than a mid July/early August getaway.

Be open to new destinations

If you don't have a set destination in mind, consider something off-the-beaten-track or less well-known. Not only will you have a unique holiday experience, you’ll also be avoiding high prices for well-known destinations.

If you’re set on a popular family holiday destination, a cheap package holiday might be your best option (and you can still try to negotiate the price)

Money Saving Expert recommends booking your package holiday either eight weeks before you go or as early as nine months in advance to get the best deal. Don’t be afraid to ring numerous travel agents to try and get the cheapest price.

Find out when budget airlines are releasing new flights and pounce fast

The cheapest seats are usually the first to go (within a few days), so make sure you know when the next set of flights are being released for your chosen airline.

Go incognito to book cheap flights

Turn on 'icogntio mode' on your browser, so if you revisit the same web page more than once, sneaky airlines can't raise the prices of the flights you've been searching.

Get the difference back if your flight price drops after you’ve booked

Money Saving Expert advises that if you’ve booked with EasyJet, you can take advantage of their lower price guarantee. If a flight you’ve booked has suddenly become cheaper, you can get the difference back in vouchers. It’s also worth seeing if any other airlines have similar offers.

Don’t just use one flight comparison site

Use several to ensure you’re getting the best deal.

Check flight comparison sites frequently – up to three times a day

Regularly check your chosen sites and one day you might just see your desired flights have reduced their prices.

The Google ITA Matrix could be your new best friend

Expert travellers swear by Google’s ITA Matrix. This clever flight-shopping engine looks simple, but you can secure the best deals when you know how to work it. Note that it may not include budget airline prices. There’s a great guide to understanding how to get the most from it here.

There’s one tiny catch. You can’t use the ITA Matrix to book flights. You can, however, give the details of your chosen itinerary to a site like Hipmunk, use the information to hunt down the flights offered elsewhere on the web or give the flight details to a travel agent to book for you.

You might not be able to find the exact price quoted, but you may be able to find it cheaper than before!

Got an amazing money-saving holiday tip? We'd love to hear it! Let us know on Facebook and Twitter

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