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…
- Log on to skyscanner, type in your location, for your destination type ‘Everywhere’. Search flight for ‘whole year’.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
- Use the same method as a), expect restrict dates. Viola – the cheapest flight for your dates right? Let’s do better…
- 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.
- 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.
- Double Hack: You could be missing some airlines. Check out sites like Attitude Travel to see if there’s even cheaper flight competing.
- Do the same as steps 3 & 4 for b). Try a few search aggregators to be sure.
- Hack – Apply the step 3 Hack on part a).
- 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.