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Travelling in a recession

How to save money on travel in the economic crisis

Cheapflights always looks for the best ways for you to save money on flights and travel. With household budgets under pressure, advice on how to find the best value deal has never been more essential. The good news is that you don't have to stop travelling altogether. There are many ways to spend small but still travel big. Follow these tips ...

1. Compare, compare, compare

It has never been more crucial to ensure that you are getting the very best deal on every aspect of your holiday. The best way to do this is to compare prices from a huge range of providers. No single carrier always has the best offers, so make sure you check all prices before committing the cash.

Search and compare flight prices to make sure you have the best deal.

2. Timing is everything

To make sure you're getting the cheapest flights, you will have to be flexible about when you travel. If you have no set date or destination in mind then you're in the best position to take advantage of the cheapest deals on offer from the airlines or travel agents. If you're lucky enough to be in this situation, utilise special offers or inspiration pages of websites. Cheapflights, for example, has a Staff picks page which showcases the best deals on offer across the site, for flights, holidays and car hire.

However, most of us can't simply take time off work to coincide with the best holiday prices. Even if you're not able to be completely flexible on dates, there are still ways to make sure the timing of your holiday saves you money. Travel during school holidays is a big no-no. Airlines that have frequent sales, such as Ryanair, almost always make the school holidays a blackout period – a time when the cheapest sale prices do not apply. And even for traditional carriers, prices always rise during the holidays. This is especially true of shorter breaks, such as the February half-term for skiing, or Easter for long-haul.

Travel that includes a Saturday night stay is often cheaper, and flights that depart on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday offer the lowest prices. For the low-cost airlines, flights departing at unpleasant hours – 6am is typical – are where the biggest bargains are to be found. For more information on how to save money with the no-frillers, see our guide to Low-cost airlines.

Finally, become an expert on the shoulder season. This is the time of year when a destination is just about to enter, or is just leaving, the peak season. Conditions are still good, but prices have calmed down. A bit of research on your destination before you go should yield serious savings.

3. Where to go?

Air fares have risen over the past couple of years, the pound is not that strong and we're facing higher and higher rates of Air Passenger Duty. British travellers are looking outside the Eurozone for holiday bargains. Turkey and Egypt always represent good value for family holidays. Lots of canny travellers are going long-haul now too, to countries such as Sri Lanka, Thailand, Vietnam, Kenya, Malaysia and Indonesia.

To find the best-value destinations, check the local currency with a reputable online currency converter and see what you'll get for your pound.

4. Leave it to the last minute

If you're brave enough to leave it until the last minute, you can pick up deals of more than 50 per cent off original prices. Read our guide to Last-minute flights to find the best ways to get a good deal.

5. Sale now on

Big discounts aren't just for the high street. Many airlines have regular sales, some seem to have nothing but. If you can book your tickets as part of a seat sale – the bigger, the better – you're bound to save money on a regular fare. Each airline is different though. BA has a large January sale, whereas Ryanair seems to have a permanent sale. To find details of the ways to find the best deals with each individual airline, check our airline guides, which give tailored advice on how to find the cheapest deals.

Finally, when you find a good deal: book it. Especially during the sales, it doesn't do to delay.

Updated April 2013

 
 
Oonagh Shiel
Content Manager at Cheapflights whose travel life can be best summed up as BC (before children) and PC (post children). We only travel during the school holidays so short-haul trips and staycations are our specialities!