Travel to the places that are cheapest
Your travel plans should be dictated by where the flights are cheaper – everywhere has something to see or do. I had no idea Bilbao had the first gondola bridge in the world which cost me €1 to ride. I only went there because the flights to Santander were £15. What are your ingredients for a happy holiday? They will be true in a number of places.
Travel midweek to midweek
Wednesday to Wednesday or Thursday to Tuesday gets the good deals. Thursday night to Sunday night is doable too if you go to the less fashionable places.
Consider early morning flights as they will be cheapest
You get a whole day in your destination without paying accommodation costs. I always have alcohol at the airport if it’s an early rise as I get a sleep on the plane. Whatever works for you is good but arriving knackered at your destination because of an early rise cuts down the enjoyment.
Check skyscanner.com at least once a week
I have a saved search – Edinburgh to anywhere, anytime. Use a smartphone as it’s easier to check.
Travel off season – May or October
Southern countries around the Mediterranean have great T-shirt weather and prices at these off-peak times. The first week in December and third week in January are the cheapest times to fly as everyone is broke after Christmas
Do city breaks in the colder months
No-one goes to a city to sunbathe. I travelled to Rome in January for £25 and saw many tourist sites without the hassle of coachloads of other tourists.
Subscribe to budget airline email newsletters
You get advance notices of flight sales and when tickets get released. This is always before Skyscanner.
Book 6 months or 6 weeks in advance
Budget airlines differ in their booking practices. Easyjet release cheap tickets up to 8 months in advance whereas on Ryanair the cheapest tickets can be 6 weeks before a flight.
Use separate computers to get cheap tickets
I sometimes get messages saying “only 2 seats left at this price” or “last room in hotel at this price” Use two computers and book 2 sets of 2 seats or two rooms at this hotel.
Book single flights
Check out single flight costs as they can be cheaper than a return to a destination. Prices can go up for you if the airlines realise you want a return.
Look at paying in Euros
If I pay in Euros you may get the flight cheaper. Budget airlines worked on fixed currency exchange rates which can be higher than if you purchased them. I use a Halifax clarity card which has a really good Euro exchange rate although you have to factor in the charge for uses a credit card.
Pretend you live in the destination country
Use a VPN to pretend you are browsing from another county and login to the budget airline website in that country. (How to do this is explained later). Costs can be cheaper. You need to book single flights in this instance.
Fly somewhere remote and then get local trains.
I flew to Pisa via Nice, saved £120 and I got a free tour of the wonderful countryside on the Italian Riveria by taking local trains along the coast. I had a fish lunch in the alleyways of Genoa and a stop La Sparta on the famous Cinque Terre coast.