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Travel Hack: Insanely Cheap Flights

A needle in a hay stack

I consider myself an expert at finding my way around the planet for peanuts.

In fact, I’m one of the best there is. I’ve never met anyone who can sniff out cheap flights like I can. I regularly find cheaper ways to get about than ANY flight aggregator website. Kayak, Skyscanner, Expedia, Farecast, Ebookers – I’ve defeated them all.

To give you examples: 

  • Last year I flew from Malaysia to London for €98 (normally around €300)
  • This year I flew return to the Caribbean from Ireland for €320 (€600 on search engines).
  • I also flew to Gambia for just €89!
  • Return Flights to Lebanon are €450 – found a way to do for less than €200.
  • I just found flights to Cape Verde for just £90.

What’s my secret?

It’s depends. Let’s say you want the cheapest flight possible for your getaway. You will be in one of three camps:

a) Totally Flexible with time and location

b) Restricted to certain dates and but flexible with location

c) Restricted to certain dates and want to go to a specific location

Here are your strategies…

a) Totally flexible with time and location

The easiest way to find cheap flights. This is definitely my favorite way to travel; you never know where you may end up. Our trip to West Africa was decided by this method…

  1. Log on to skyscanner, type in your location, for your destination type ‘Everywhere’. Search flight for ‘whole year’.
  2. Bingo – you will see the cheapest flights to everywhere in the world and when they are. You may know about this already, but let’s see if  we can do better.
  3. HACK – Change your location to the nearest travel hubs and compare. Do this with a few hubs. For example – I’m in Ireland, home of Ryanair. While Dublin the best hub for flights around Europe, it’s no so good for further afield. So I change location to the UK. Viola – even cheaper flights. Often it only costs around €20 to flight over for the connection anyway. This has saved me hundreds and lands me in far more interesting destinations. For more hubs see bottom of this article.
b) Restricted to certain dates and but flexible with location

I imagine this is the case for many of my readers. Work and college commitments mean time is often restricted. But if you’re flexible with location – that’s great! You have plenty of options. Just bare in mind what’s digestible.  Example – if you only have a week, don’t try and visit three countries. Maybe a small island nation is better.

  1. Use the same method as a), expect restrict dates. Viola – the cheapest flight for your dates right? Let’s do better…
  2. Hack: Don’t restrict dates just yet. Perhaps single it down to just one month. Why? Skyscanner algorithms can’t really search flights ‘to everywhere’ for specific dates, they will only show you results from previous ‘destination specific’ searches by previous customers. For example: if no one has searched for a flight to lets say –  Addis Ababa on the 1st of Jan, you won’t see it in your results for ‘everywhere’. Even though the flight could potentially be dirt cheap. Searching  a month or year gives you a better indication of what’s out there. Take note of the cheap routes and what airlines run them.
  3. Now, conduct a search with restricted dates and be destination specific this time.  Certain airlines won’t fly on this day, so you need to directly to the airline that run the route and run parallel searches. Furthermore, often official airline site give you a +3/-3 day comparison which is advantageous.
  4. Double Hack: You could be missing some airlines. Check out sites like Attitude Travel to see if there’s even cheaper flight competing.
c) Restricted to certain dates and want to go to a specific location
You’re obviously a stubborn git with no life. I hear ya. Having been to over 70 countries I more particular about where I travel these days. Since I’m back studying I’m also restricted with dates. So here’s the game plan.
  1. Do the same as steps 3 & 4 for b). Try a few search aggregators to be sure.
  2. Hack – Apply the step 3 Hack on part a).
  3. Hack – Search skyscanner from your destination (not point of origin) to ‘everywhere’ for whole year. This will reveal cheap routes you didn’t know existed. There may well be a cheap connection available if you do some routing. Example – No matter what I did, I couldn’t find cheap flight returning from Cyprus. I searched Cyprus to everywhere, and found a €20 flight to Bucharest, Romania. Aerlingus, an Irish airline fly there cheap. Search engines would never have connected the two. I end up saving €100 and decided to spend in on two nights in Bucharest instead.
Good examples of hubs:
Europe: Riga (AirBaltic), Manchester (flythomascook), Dublin (Ryanair), Brussels (Jetarifly), London (tons of airlines).
Middle East: Shar Jah (Air Arabia), Dubai (flydubai)
South East Asia: Kuala Lumpur (Air Asia), Manila (Cebu Pacific)
So there you have it. These techniques are sure to bag you insanely cheap deals in the future.
Safe flight guys!
NN
😉

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25 Responses to Travel Hack: Insanely Cheap Flights

  1. Ben October 14, 2011 at 1:51 pm #

    Yeah I recently discovered Skyscanner,awesome site,cheaper then expedia etc. I was checking out Ryanair today and prices are incredible if you’re travelling out of season or to a non tourist resort. Example: Brussels to Kaunus was 6euros if you go in November!! 6 Euros, I spend that on a kebab on my way home from the pub. The owner of Ryanair seems a complete tosser but his airline is bloody brilliant ( got to love that trumpet they play when you land too ).

  2. DB October 14, 2011 at 2:36 pm #

    Good calls on this.

    Another hack I use: look up the Wikipedia entry for a particular airport, and the Airlines & Destinations tab. Often throws up flights which don’t appear on search engines / aggregators, on airlines you’ve never heard of. Also individual airports often have websites with full timetables of arrivals & departures.

    One more: some of the more obscure mid-East airlines often have great fares to Asia. I’ve done Oman-Sri Lanka for about £80, also via Kuwait etc. Then use frequent flyer miles to get to those jumping-off destinations. Particularly good for flights at busy periods like Xmas, as it’s not celebrated there.

  3. Darren October 14, 2011 at 3:35 pm #

    I have been using this tactic for ages you get a good night out in a random city as well. I got a 5 pound 1 way ticket to amsterdam from manchester.

  4. RichardMelbourne October 15, 2011 at 12:59 am #

    Thanks for the great advie and tips!
    Definitely will be using them in the future.

  5. Evan October 15, 2011 at 1:41 pm #

    Skyscanner’s ‘anytime, everywhere’ feature is legendary…it’s like playing a travel lottery- All you need is a bit of extra time, and a lot of fun can be had.

  6. Gmac October 19, 2011 at 12:56 am #

    This is great stuff. I really only have two one-week windows throughout the year right now… but I’ve always restricted myself to certain locations instead of being open. Brilliant.

  7. NomadTravels March 1, 2012 at 3:43 pm #

    A few other tools great tools I’ve used:

    matrix.itasoftware.com has is a great search engine. It has a monthly search options, with search syntax that allows you to really find exactly what you want. There are a few threads on flyertalk.com which explain the best ways to do cheap fare searches using ITA. This is especially helpful if you like to keep frequent flyer miles and search for cheap flights within an airline alliance.

    Another great tool resembles Travelocity’s log dead dreammaps. http://www.farecompare.com/maps/ Where-to-go-getaway-maps are fantastic. Put in your airport and price range and have fun!

    • Naughty Nomad March 1, 2012 at 5:17 pm #

      Thanks for the info 🙂

  8. Jayanraj August 1, 2012 at 4:00 pm #

    Thanx for infos

    Flights from Dubai are normally much cheaper. But even then some airlines offer slightly better rates than many international sites like travelocity, expedia, cleartrip etc

  9. Sean September 1, 2012 at 9:15 am #

    Adioso.com is the newest technology and beats all these search functionality prices just check for yourself.

  10. Chilli October 15, 2012 at 4:41 pm #

    Hi Nomad, fantastic site. Many thanks for your time and effort. I have always wanted to visit Freetown but can never find an affordable flight. Any tips please? Do you think I should fly to a neighbouring country and proceed overland by train perhaps. Thank you.
    Best wishes,
    Chilli

    • Naughty Nomad October 16, 2012 at 9:37 am #

      A flight is the best option. Try skyscanner.com

  11. Evonne Wanta October 30, 2012 at 3:21 am #

    You forgot the cheapest and most versatile, Krylon.

  12. Emma March 14, 2013 at 7:00 am #

    This is brilliant. Thank you 🙂

  13. Andrew May 3, 2013 at 6:43 pm #

    Ok, I’ve been to 117 countries, but this summary is fing brilliant. Thanks!… By the way, most of my travel has been for work… When the employer pays it is real cheap 😉

  14. AC July 26, 2013 at 6:43 am #

    Is skyscanner still good? I can’t find any of these super cheap or last-minute deals. I’m trying to fly out of Ottawa/Toronto/Montreal, anytime anywhere. Are there better sites out there?

  15. joe July 7, 2014 at 8:58 am #

    may i know what method are you using to get cheap flight fromMalaysia to London for €98

  16. myfunkytravel September 5, 2014 at 5:12 am #

    Some great tips!

    Would also be very curious to know how you got from Malaysia to London for 98 euros 🙂

    • Naughty Nomad September 6, 2014 at 5:27 pm #

      AirAisa at the time. But they stopped the route.

  17. dude May 18, 2015 at 5:10 am #

    i just tried your technique with skyscanner and it’s the best technique i’ve ever come across for getting cheap flights.

    you sir are a mad genius.

  18. @199flags September 21, 2015 at 7:19 pm #

    Nice simple techniques for skipping around the globe! Definitely going to implement skyscanner with flexible hubs on my next jump. Thanks for the tips Mark!

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