This is probably one of my most asked questions – how do I travel so much? Well my friends, I like to get a good deal when I can on flights…
While I don’t always get the best deals (bad planning on my part) I always do try my best. Over the last number of years I’ve learnt a lot about how to fly on a budget so let me fill you guys in.
Skyscanner is your friend!
First things first, do your research! I flew separately 15 times last year (and I work full time, more on that in another post!) and I’ll tell you I wouldn’t have been able to afford it, if I hadn’t done my research. I got flights to Brussels, Bratislava, London, Germany, Latvia, Luxembourg and Oslo for under €150 each.
I have a list of places I want to go. I have a general idea of when and what time of the year I’d like to visit but it’s only provisional. I’m always looking for new and fun cities to visit, so if I see a good deal and it hadn’t originally been on the list, you can be sure I check it out – a prime example of this would be Luxembourg! Luxembourg ended up being one of my favourite city destinations last year!
So the next time now is to start looking for flights. More often than not I choose Skyscanner – it’s user friendly and I like the layout. If I’m not having much luck with Skyscanner then I’ll go to Google Flights and have a look, but for the most part it’s Skyscanner. They also allow you to set up alerts, so you can keep tabs on flights you’re interesting and they’ll let you know if the price lowers.
I love how you can filter it and how easy it makes it when everything is laid out in front of you. I enter in my departing Airport and choose “Everywhere” and then “Cheapest Month” and I watch and see how many great deals are on!
The list goes on and on, and as you can see flights are from €24!
Now here comes the planning part. As you can see below, return (weekend) flights to Barcelona will set you back €45 in November. Not high season, but Barcelona is a cool and quirky city with tons to do in Winter. Basically it’s all about forward planning and really making the most of your weekends.
If you’re fussy, but looking to travel often and on a budget I can’t really help you. What I will say is have an open mind and you’ll have fantastic life experiences.
What I like about Skyscanner (and Google Flights) is how easy to see the prices and how the differ from week to week. You can clearly see the cheapest weekend to go is the 22nd – 24th and off you go – you’re off to Barcelona!
With Ryanair’s new baggage rule add an extra €18 for priority boarding – in my opinion it’s 100% worth it. I will say get on the plane early if you want space for your bag. The last few Rynair flights I was on I got on early with priority and was shocked with how little space was left – so just a heads up.
Non Direct Flights:
I recently booked a flight home from Zadar in Croatia to London and then back home to Dublin for under €60 the June Bank Holiday Weekend – so prime time! While there were no direct flight options from Zadar the options both Sky Scanner were giving me were over €250 with TWO STOPS! I booked these on the Ryanair Website, so sometimes it’s cheaper to go directly to the website for the best deal.
So if you’re not going direct always do your own research – one bit of advice is to always allow yourself enough time to get off the plane and recheck in. Don’t forget you’re going to have to go out via baggage claim and go back through security take that into consideration. Standsted is my go to as I know it off my heart at this stage!
Another option would be flying into one city and flying out of another. I decided to visit my cousin in Sweden last Summer, but I also was dying to get to Copenhagen too. With flights notoriously expensive to both Stockholm and Copenhagen (especially in the Summer) I decided to fly into Stockholm (€90), get the train down to Copenhagen (€95) and the fly home from Copenhagen (€100). While just under €300 it was still cheaper than booking two separate trips during the Summer.
Now this won’t be for everyone, but it’s a great way to save some money.
For example Bratislava and Vienna are only within an hour of each other but flights to Vienna can be a lot more expensive than flights to Bratislava. You can get flights to Bratislava for under €40 return. What I will say also factor in additional costs involved such as transport to the train or bus station from the airport and then the fare from the bus station to your destination city.
I’d recommend Flix Bus for this, as you can get fares as lows as €5! They’re comfy buses, just be aware the wifi can be patchy at best. With your ticket you’re allowed to bring on 2 pieces of luggage, so be aware of that too.