A lot of people regularly ask me how I always seem to find the cheapest flights to the places I plan on traveling to, so I thought I would write a quick post about one of my favourite booking websites – Skyscanner.
Looking for tips on surviving a long flight – check out The Savvy Globetrotters Ultimate Guide.
Here is my quick guide on How To Book Cheap Flights using Skyscanner.
Tip 1 – Search regularly
I browse Skyscanner as often as most internet addicts browse Reddit or 9Gag…let’s just say I spend an obscene amount of time on the site and am always ready to grab any cheap deals which interest me. In fact, my addiction to skyscanner and browsing flights to exotic destinations at bizarre times throughout the night recently led me to booking a flight in my sleep! When I woke up in the morning I had an email confirmation from Skyscanner with a booking reference number for a 1 way flight to Thailand! Turns out I must have half woken in the middle of the night and found a flight from Seoul, Korea to Bangkok for less than 100 euro – a bargain, in my sleepy trance, that I simply could not refuse!
Searching for flights on a regular basis would probably be my first tip to those looking for flights – always be on the look-out. Many budget airlines like Air Asia and Ryanair hold last-minute sales that are only available for 48 hours so if you don’t always have one eye on the prize, you will risk missing out.
Tip 2 – Delete those cookies!
Did you know many popular booking websites will increase the price of the flights if they know the specific flights you are looking for. Every time you refresh, you may notice the flight price sky-rocketing. You may think, “Oh Crap – If I had booked 10 minutes ago I would have got that deal” or “Damn, someone booked the flight I wanted and now only the expensive seats are left!”. Wong, wrong, wrong. Often times, the airline knows what you want, knows the days you want to fly and each search you type in is being saved and used against you.
Each time you log on to SkyScanner, make sure to delete the cookies on your computer. I have recently been informed that Skyscanner do not increase the price of flights at all as they have no control over flight price. As a search engine, they simply show the flight and price details from data they pull from airline websites. So it seems deleting your cookies is more relevant when it comes to using an airline website than Skyscanner.
Tip 3 – Carefully consider what day you book
I’m not talking about the day you FLY, I’m talking about the day you actually sit in front of the computer and SEARCH for your flight. Did you know that the cheapest days to book flights are Tuesdays and Thursdays? The airlines release new seats on these days and often there are lots of great bargains to be found. The most expensive time to look for flights is at the weekends because that is when most people have free time and start to plan vacations. Airlines know this and thus hike the price of flights at the weekends. Goodness, they’re a sneaky lot. (Note: this doesn’t ALWAYS apply, see example below, so make sure to play around with your days and dates to find the best option for you).
Tip 4 – Be Flexible
Similar to tip number 3, there are also cheaper days and cheaper dates to fly. Some of these are obvious such as flying on September 11th, Christmas Day or New Years Eve, three days that most people in the Western world really, really, REALLY don’t want to travel on. That being said, a recent look at Skyscanner data proves that flying on Christmas day is actually more expensive, except if flying to the USA.
Skyscanner Travel Editor, Catherine McGloin, says:
“It’s a long held belief that you’ll be guaranteed to bag a bargain by flying on Christmas Day but as our data clearly shows, that is not always the case. The best way to find the cheapest deal is to be flexible on your travel dates, using our browse by month tool shows the cheapest flights available and setting up price alerts so you’ll get alerted as soon as the price drops (or rises) will also save some of that all-important Christmas cash.”
Other cheap days to fly, especially within Europe, include Tuesdays and Wednesdays. This mainly due to budget airlines such as Ryanair dropping there prices midweek. I mean, nobody really wants to leave for a vacation on a Tuesday, do they? If you are willing to fly on these unpopular days, you are guaranteed to find much cheaper flights. On Skyscanner, there is an option to click WHOLE MONTH when choosing the dates you wish to fly. When you pick this option, the website will tell you the cheapest dates to fly.
Tip 5: Go EVERYWHERE
Not fussed where you go, as long as you get out of your home country for a few days? Skyscanner will be your new best friend. Whenever I want to go away for a long weekend in Korea, I click the option from Seoul to EVERYWHERE. This means that SkyScanner will tell you the cheapest cities and countries to fly to on the specific dates you are free. Using this great feature has landed me in the Philippines earlier this year and on a solo trip to Japan in October last year. Use this feature, and use it often, and soon you will be traveling to more countries than you ever dreamed possible!
Tip 6 – Switch Browsers
I was told recently that flight prices can increase or decrease depending on the browser you are using. Apparently the browser you use can be linked to the computer you own and this can be linked to what kind of income you earn/your social class. For example, if you search for flights using Safari, then you must be a Mac user and are deemed to have more money than someone using Firefox or Chrome. I just did a search using both Safari and Chome, at the exact same time, to test out this method and sadly it did not seem to make a difference. That said, you never know, so no harm in trying, eh?