Be travel savvy with Skyscanner’s top tips for slashing the price of your holiday.
1. Be flexible
The price of flights can vary considerably depending on the month, day and even time you travel, so do your research and be prepared to be flexible. Skyscanner lets you compare flight prices across a whole month so you can see the cheapest days to fly. Try comparing travel from a Wednesday to Wednesday with a Friday to Friday to see how much cheaper flights can be when you avoid flying at the weekend – you’ll be pleasantly surprised!
2. Broaden your travel horizon
Don’t mind where you go as long as you can get there cheaply? Skyscanner’s ‘search everywhere’ option lists the cheapest flights from your local airport in price order. You could end up with a bargain and you might discover a real hidden gem. Or check out the Skyscanner flights comparison map for an ‘at a glance’ look at which destinations are the cheapest to fly to.
3. Travel in low season
If you have the luxury of being able to avoid peak season travel, grab it! Prices jump up considerably during the school holidays. And it’s not just the summer you should avoid – don’t forget that Easter, Christmas and the two half term holidays are also likely to be more expensive. Travelling out of season will mean cheaper flights and less busy destinations – a win-win situation!
4. Be creative
If you’re not in a rush to reach your destination, consider a flight with a stopover. Skyscanner allows you to search for indirect routes (as well as direct) that are often a cheaper option. You can also save money by flying out and back with different airlines or from different airports. Even though there may be an airport on your doorstep, don’t rule out the possibility that it may be cheaper to fly from one slightly further away, even when you factor in the cost of a train or bus ticket to reach the airport. Skyscanner’s ‘flexible’ search tool allows you to mix and match your airlines to find the cheapest price, or you can use Skyscanner’s ‘nearby airports’ search feature to see how much it costs to fly from various airports.
5. Pre-book airport parking
If you need to leave your car at the airport, be sure to book your parking well in advance. And check out all your options – valet parking might sound like an expensive choice but could work out cheaper than a short stay car park, especially if booked in advance.
6. Let the train take the strain
Avoid traffic jams and rising petrol costs by taking the train. The Skyscanner app lets you search and buy train tickets for any UK route and will highlight the cheapest tickets and shortest journey times.
No, not all the way there but once you’ve arrived in a city. There’s no better way to see a place than to stroll around, taking in the architecture and looking up at those exciting new skies. But if you’re too tired to walk, then work out the metro asap before you’re tempted to jump in a cab.
8. Bring your own food on board
Don’t pay through the nose for a stale ham sandwich on your flight – save money by packing your own snacks. As long as the foods aren’t liquid (soup, humous, yoghurt), it’s fine to bring them on board. Prices are often hiked up at airport restaurants too, so if you have a long wait for your flight make sure you stock up on nibbles.
9. Beat the baggage fees
If you want to travel light, why not wear your extra items instead of cramming them into your case? A luggage jacket combined with a good hand luggage bag will make sure you get the absolute maximum amount you can on the plane. Don’t know where to start? Here’s our guide to wearable luggage. You can also avoid having to pay unexpected excess baggage charges at the airport by weighing your luggage before you leave home.
View carry-on and check baggage restrictions for UK airlines.
10. Pack smart
Don’t waste your money on expensive mini toiletries that you’ll just throw away once they run out. Instead, buy yourself a set of small refillable plastic bottles and fill them up each time you go away.
11. Don’t stay in the city centre
If your hotel room has a view of the Eiffel Tower chances are it’s going to be tiny and very over priced. Instead of blowing all your money on a city centre location, opt for a hotel outside the city limits where you can still enjoy all the attractions during the day but get to retreat to a quieter (and cheaper) location to rest your head at night. Use Skyscanner’s hotel search to find the best deals. For more thrifty travel inspiration, check out our budget city guides for destinations like New York.
12. Don’t worry be ‘appy
In the era of technology and gadgets, your smartphone can be a handy money-saving travel buddy. There are apps on the market for everything, including travel guides, maps, phrasebooks and even torches! Download these and you’ll save not only a wad of cash but also a lot of space in your case. Remember to download the free Skyscanner app.
13. Seek out free Wifi…
… in libraries and cafés, so you don’t hammer your data. And if you’re phoning home to find out if it’s still raining there, don’t forget to use free services such as Skype or Google +.
14. Eat like a local
Not only is experiencing new cuisines part of the joy of travelling, but you’re likely to eat far better, as well as save money, when you eat like a local. From $1 bowls of noodles in Vietnam to backstreet French bistros, produce is usually locally sourced and tastier. To save on expensive café snacks, if your hotel lays on a lavish buffet breakfast, stock up on goodies or pick up a picnic lunch from your local supermarket. Find street food to savour, no matter where you’re off to, with this guide to the world’s best cheap street eats.
15. And shop like a local
Give those touristy souvenir shops a wide berth (especially at the airport), and seek out markets and off-high-street stores that are actually patronised by the people who live there. Try bargaining if the culture allows, but don’t push it too far.
16. Save on foreign currency exchange
Withdrawing money abroad can cost a lot in charges. Although using a debit card can be cheaper than a credit card, be aware most banks will charge for each cash withdrawal on top of a commission fee. To avoid this, take out larger sums so you’re charged less frequently. Keep an eye on the fluctuating exchange rates before you travel and order your currency in advance to get the best deal. This way you’ll also avoid the high commission at the airport exchange desk. Look out for Travelex’s Happy Hours when they offer discounted rates when ordering money online. For more money saving tips, here’s our guide to everything you need to know about getting the best deal on foreign currency.
17. Develop an interest in financial headlines
Seek out countries where the currency has recently dropped against sterling. Check out the newspapers before you book as currency stories change all the time. For instance, formerly pricey Sweden is now a financially viable option as the Swedish krona has dropped to its lowest level since 2011.
18. Go abroad. Get paid
If you’re looking for more than two weeks in the sun, it’s possible to fund your trip and even come home with some extra cash in your pocket by working as you travel. From grape picking to English teaching, there’s a whole host of options available.
19. Cheap ski holidays
Love skiing but get nervous about the mounting costs? Fear not, there are lots of ways to cut the costs of a snow trip. Avoid the glitzy slopes of France and Italy and choose somewhere different – Bulgaria, Slovenia and Austria offer great skiing at a fraction of the price of their more expensive neighbours. Get more tips on DIY and cheap(er) skiing holidays here, and use this handy flight finder tool to bag a cheap flight to the snow.
20. Get cheaper travel insurance
Taking out an annual multi-trip travel insurance policy is cheaper than buying on the spot insurance for a single trip. And, once you get a good deal on travel insurance, don’t go voiding your cover by making any silly mistakes.
Here are some of the cheapest destinations you can travel to around the world: