Everyone loves to travel and as Singaporeans, finding ways to save as much money as possible when we fly is natural. However it can be difficult, thanks to limited days off and prices going sky-high crazy during public holidays. But even if flights can be expensive, there are plenty of ways to save a little cash. Next time you book a flight use these little hacks, and you’ll have more money to spend on your holiday.
1. Use a comparison site
Your first stop for cheaper flights should be a comparison site like Skyscanner, or Expedia. This will give you a good indication of which dates, destinations, and airlines are offering the best deals for your trip.
2. Know when to buy
You’ve probably heard that Tuesday evenings are the best time to book your flights, but that’s not necessarily true. Flight prices are very sensitive, and dependent on a variety of factors. Weekdays are definitely best, though, and booking three-to-six months in advance will ensure the best price.
3. Pick the right airport
Sometimes, your departure/destination city will only have one airport so you won’t be able to use this hack. But if a city has multiple airports – or other airports in the vicinity – you might be able to save some money by skipping the obvious choice. In London, for example, Gatwick is usually cheaper than Heathrow. Just don’t forget to factor in the cost and convenience of travelling from this different airport to your ultimate destination. If you’re game, Skyscanner makes this hack easy with its “add nearest airports” function.
4. Return vs. one-way
Buying a return flight isn’t always the best way to go, so price some comparisons. Often, it’s actually cheaper to buy two one-way tickets on different airlines instead of getting a return flight on one airline. Again, a quick look on Skyscanner will give you a good indication of this, since it will always show the cheapest flight combinations.
5. Be patient
If you’re willing to take a bit of a gamble – and have some time before you plan to travel – it can pay to wait before booking your flights. Many comparison sites allow users to set up alerts so they can be notified when prices for their flights drop.
6. Book a package
If you’re going to be booking a hotel at your destination, consider booking a flight-and-hotel package through an airline. Singapore Airlines, British Airways, and Cathay Pacific, for example, all offer combos that can be significantly cheaper than booking flights and hotels separately.
7. Choose the right dates (and destinations)
If you’re flexible about when and where you travel, you can save a lot of money on flights by allowing prices to plan your trip. Many flight-booking sites allow you to view prices across different dates and destinations, so if you don’t have to travel on a certain date or to a particular place, you could choose whatever’s cheapest. Think of this as travel roulette, and use Google Flights’ destination options or Skyscanner’s calendar search to spin the wheel.
8. Clear your history
Your browsing history could be driving up your flight prices. Since internet cookies retain your information, you could see increasing prices if you visit the same website several times while searching. Use a VPN or browse incognito to avoid this.
9. Avoid surcharges
To keep prices down, airlines have begun charging for practically everything. On most major carriers, you might still have one piece of check-in luggage and on-board meals included in the price of your ticket – though you may need to watch out for surcharges for extra baggage and seat selection. On low-cost carriers, though, anything goes. You could be slugged with charges for everything from luggage and meals to seat selection, counter check-ins or boarding passes. Know your airline’s rules to make sure you’re not hit with unnecessary charges.
10. Check your country settings
All airline websites automatically detect your location and send you to their local site. But if you’re buying flights for a different country, you could save money by changing your country setting. For example, if you’re buying flight from London to New York on British Airways, make sure you’re using the airline’s UK site for the best price. This strategy also applies to internal flights – if you’re buying flights between Paris and Nice on Air France, make sure you’re using the French site.
11. Take the layover
If it’s possible, don’t fly direct to your destination. Often, flights with layovers end up being cheaper – sometimes significantly – because you’ll go through the ‘inconvenience’ of passing through the airline’s home country. Take these flights, though, and you might save a few bucks, andeven get to visit another country!
12. Subscribe to airline emails
The easiest way to save money on your next flight is to subscribe to emails from your favourite airlines. That way, you’ll always know when they’re having sales or special offers and can jump on the best price.