Make the most out of your holiday!
Travelling by air has been made accessible to all budgets now thanks to an evolution is air travel. Since the late 1990's the airlines have introduced a new model of service. They are the low cost airlines, which cut the prices of the tickets in exchange of extra charges when purchasing anything else which is not the basic flight to your destination.
However, not only low cost airlines have reduced their costs. Legacy airlines in a bid to remain competitive have also been offering good fares, hand luggage only fares or other incentives when buying in advance.
Below you will find all the tips and tricks which make travel by air even more reasonable. And now thanks to useful tools not only short haul flights are made more accessible but also long haul. Create your own travel deals by following these simple steps:
Book in advance:
Airlines always offer best deals if you book at least 2 months before your flight. However fares are made available 11 months before, so if you are sure on your plans book as early as possible. Also avoid booking at weekends where prices can be potentially be higher than if you book during the week. These are marketing techniques and tricks used by the airlines.
Travel off peak:
Choose to travel out of the peak season. Summer holidays,Christmas, Easter and mid term breaks are always more expensive. As the demand is higher fares will be more expensive. An added bonus is that when travelling on long haul routes at low season flights will be less busy thus ensuring that extra comfort would be greatly appreciated.
Travel certain times:
Departures on Monday to Thursday or Saturdays are often cheaper because you avoid the weekend get away. Also travelling early in the morning or late at night are often priced better than during the day.
Hand Luggage only fares:
Airlines are offering special fares for hand luggage only, going on a short trip up to a week can easily be achieved by packing light. Some airlines will also allow you to check in your hand luggage at the airport check-in counter if the flight is full.This frees up space in the cabin plus making it easier for you not to carry so much luggage or you can buy things after security.
Attention! In the recent years, low cost airlines are now limiting the size of the carry on baggage to a just a small personal item, like a backpack or small bag. Anything like a trolly bag on wheels, will be subject to additional charges depending on the airline, specially those by low cost airlines. (check before you travel or when you check-in online).
Check your airline policy:
Airlines are very confusing when it comes to policies.They all offer different luggage allowance, size, pieces etc. If you travel light it might be a good ideal to compare airlines to work out what suits you best. For a comparison see table below: (Data correct as of Sept 2017)
Easyjet (UK) has limitless weight on hand luggage provided it fits the size restriction. However it´s strictly limited to one item per person plus a personal item.
Reserving a seat online is common on many airlines. Most are free but some low cost airlines will also charge you for choosing a seat (Ryanair, Easyjet,Wizzair, Iberia Express, etc..) If you don't mind where you are seating get the free random seat allocation and sometimes you might be lucky getting what you want.
Travelling to main airports can be more expensive by the location but when a city has two or more airports it's worth checking the prices as there is a big difference in airport tax, which ultimately passengers pay for in the tickets.
For example London, Frankfurt , Paris, Tokio, Seoul, Buenos Aires, New York, Los Angeles etc have more then one airport.
Booking a combination of flights departing and arriving to different airports are a tax headache for the airlines. Retun tickets are calculated with all taxes being added from the same airports but when you combine different destinations or origins the mathematical equation gets more complicated by fares, taxes and fuel surcharges. Playing around a little and combining different alternative airports and dates can make a huge difference to your final travel costs. This might involve travelling on a single ticket to your first destination but overall the extra time still saves money.
For example a direct flight from London to Kuala Lumpur return can cost £550.
When combining different airports and adding transit stops, airlines will combine lower taxes and often making mistakes on the fare calculation, therefore creating what we know as the "Error-Fares".
When I flew this route I instead opten for departing from Lyon (France), transiting in London and flying home from Singapore instead. Total price was £210 for a retun flight.
If you add the additional flight to Lyon this will only cost an extra £45 making a grand total of £255. Saving an incredible £245!!
Don't miss a sector of your flight itinerary:
When buying an itinerary with an airline containing two or more flights (transits) it's very important not to miss any of them except from the last flight. When this happens the system automatically cancels the rest of the sectors and the flights can be overbooked more easily. To be able to use the ticket the airline has to reissue the ticket for it to be "in sequence " and this might cost the passenger some money, if not a whole new ticket.
For example: Buying a Multi-sector flight Brussels-Madrid-Tokio-Madrid-Frankfurt ; if we miss the first sector and decide we will commence our trip from Madrid. When you will get to the airport they will not find your seservation and the ticket will be invalid because you are trying to make this sector your first one, but in fact it's your second one as per the ticket. Automaticaly your ticket will be cancelled and to reissue will cause a delay and a problem for you financially.
Using Promo Codes:
Airlines, online travel agencies and tourism companies often use promotional discount codes to tempt travellers to book. Keep an eye for them by subscribing to the website or following deal pages. You can often save a 5-20% over the original price.
Other useful tools include getting cash back on your purchases online. Pages like Quidco or Topcashback give you money after you have flown or stayed at hotels.
Drinking and eating on the plane:
Low cost airlines make you pay for food and drink. So why not take your own packed sandwich with you and refill an empty bottle with water after security?
Though the key is to save money, often you feel like you want to treat yourself to an upgrade. Paying online for an upgrade before you fly is worth checking, to see if they have unsold Business Class seats. You might find good deals for the one way trip. Alternatively ask at the airport, airport fees for upgrades are always more expensive than buying a return trip in Business Class.
Other useful tips to take into account:
Additionally from these tips related when buying tickets to travel by air you can also make a note of the following tips to save you money (and often time) when you arrive:
Exchange money prior to arriving at the airport: Airports take away huge commission rates when compared to high street branches.Often there are now coupons and vouchers and can find better deals by submitting online orders. For the best currency exchange rates, buying or selling please follow these links: besforeignexchange and Tui Travel Money.
Research before you arrive: Check local transportation options online before you arrive and plan which mode of transport suits you best. Download maps, enquire how to pay, timetables, routes etc...are available online and can make your arrival a much more stress-free experience if you know what you doing.
Taking money and credit cards: Depending on your own personal budget it's recommended to always take spare cash with you. However this depends on the destination as well and the ease of using plastic money. Never take mone money than your personal daily budget on the street.
Most Hotels offer a safe to leave your belongings but if not leaving your passport and in money in a locked case is highly recommended when you go out.
Travel reviews and opinions: As like with this website where you can find useful information about the destinations you are planning to visit, it's very handy to know others people's opinions and experiences so you can have a basic idea of what to expect. Many tourists travel unaware, and by surprise or by accident they find themselves scammed, overcharged or tricked into believing a locals advice on arrival.
Adapt to the local hour: When travelling long-haul it's very typical to suffer from jet-lag the first few days.It's a natural adaptation of the body to a drastic change in hours,specially when travelling eastwards as the time goes forward. When arriving make the most effort to stay awake and busy during the day till the late evening. So your body can adapt quicker to the time change. Drink plenty of water and refrain from extreme sports or activities during a few days as the body is still adapting.
Well being on board: Travelling many hours on a plane can be very tiring even you are not doing much in fact. Due to the small space (Economy Class), your body accumulates tension, blood pressure is different and it's harder to maintain concentration when writing, reading, watching screens etc. The cabin air is pressurised and this adds a feeling of being tired when travelling. It's advised to drink plenty of liquids (never alcohol) to mitigate this feeling.
Additionally it's recommended to get out of your seat every two hours to stretch your legs and muscles. Using balms, hand creams, and other hydrating products will help you get a rested look as well.
Last but not least it's recommended to do small exercises from your seat, in order to maintain a good blood circulation and avoid cramps and pains. Specifically for older people. You will find these exercise techniques in the airline magazines supplied at your seat pocket or by asking a member of the cabin crew.