Fair Fares

By | Category: Travel tips & opinions

Looking to escape to sunnier climes without forking out a fortune? If you want to get more than you paid for, you need to do your homework. Paris Hilton travel at Paris Travelodge prices? Here’s how…

Book in advance
It’s easy and obvious, so why do so few of us do it?! With a bit of forward planning, substantial savings can be made. Travel consultants advise booking up to nine months in advance in order to obtain the lowest fare possible. Booked one month ahead, a flight from London to Cape Town at Crimbo will set you back in excess of a whopping £1,000. Book that flight eight months earlier and you could find a fare for half of that…

A hot Christmas will cost you

A hot Christmas will cost you

Timely matters

Cash conscious travellers take to the skies when everyone is staying put. See how high that ceiling is? If you insist on going away at Christmas, New Year and Easter, you will pay prices to match. Other times to avoid are half term and, as a rule, any school holiday. June and September can also be quite pricey as people who want to catch the  last of the sun’s rays without having to witness little Johnny’s temper tantrums, tend to travel during this period. For the best possible price, think about travelling during the months of October, November, February and March.

Flexibility pays

If you’re not adverse to early mornings or late nights and are flexible with regards to airports, there are some rich pickings to be had. Avoid flying out on Friday nights or at week-ends as this is prime – and therefore pricey – travel time. As an example, a one way flight from London Gatwick to Barcelona on Friday August 1st starts at around the 90 pound mark. Fly out a few days later on Monday August 4th or Tuesday 5th and you’ll find a flight for 60 quid. Now do you see what we are talking about?

Charter Flights

Charter flights can often be cheaper than scheduled flights; check out prices at www.flymonarch.com  – the UK’s leading provider of chartered flights. But bear in mind that the rules for charter flights are very strict. Once booked, flights can’t be amended or cancelled without a charge/ cancellation charge of up to 100 per cent.

Non Direct Flights

Consider taking a non direct route to your destination. It might be more time consuming, but it pays in the long run.  Last year the CD Traveller team bagged a bargain break in Vegas by plumping for a flight that involved a six hour stop off in Minneapolis (although admittedly any bucks saved on flights, ended up being blown on Abercrombie and Fitch gear in Minneapolis’ mega Mall of America).

Second hand tickets

If you’re a spontaneous type, try snapping up standby flights which can cost as little as one third of the original price. Simply show up at the airport of your choice and if a seat is free, it’s yours for a snip of the real retail price. Result! Alternatively try shopping for second hand flight tickets on everyone’s friend- eBay (www.ebay.co.uk.) The savvy traveller will find that occasionally people are no longer able to travel and want to recoup some of their initial outlay. For a small fee, companies like easyjet and Ryanair allow passengers to change the name on the ticket.

Easyjet specialise in affordable flights

Easyjet specialise in affordable flights

Stay on the beaten track

Contrary to popular belief, flights to popular destinations such as Barcelona, Berlin, Paris, Prague et al are affordable.  Prices can be competitive due to the sheer number of airlines competing for your custom. Conversely, venturing off the well worn path is likely to cost you a fair whack. Unusual destinations often mean fewer flight options and therefore higher prices as the airlines that do take you there are at liberty to charge what they want.

Shop around

The super smiley travel agent behind the desk might sound sincere when he/she says  that you’re not going to find a fairer fare than theirs, but don’t just take their word for it. Shop around, – and more specifically shop online.  Easyjet (www.easyjet.com), Ryanair (www.ryanair.com), BMI Baby (www.bmibaby.com) and Air Berlin (www.airberlin.com) are worth checking out when it comes to cheap flights within Europe. Flying further afield? Try www.lastminute.com, www.ebookers.com, www.expedia.co.uk, www.opodo.co.uk and www.flightcentre.co.uk. Look into booking abroad for example Thomas Cook’s German website (www.thomascook.de) lets you book more cheaply than its UK counterpart.

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