Cape Town - It's January 2018 and many of us might still be reeling, thinking where did all our hard-earned leave go. The December peak-holiday period has a way of leaving you even more frazzled and in need of a good holiday.
But one thing working in your favour is the year is still baby fresh and time is definitely on your side when it comes to booking and planning your ultimate break for 2018.
SEE: How to put in for leave and not have your colleagues absolutely hate you
Finding cheap flights isn’t rocket science - you just have to ensure you're well informed, well connected and allowing yourself enough time to do the research before you book that ticket.
A few quick tips to help you save when booking...
- Be flexible – alternative airports and flexible departure dates and times can save money.
- Book early – generally, the earlier you book, the more you can save on plane tickets, especially for short-haul flights.
- Discount airlines – if you don’t mind fewer perks, cheap flights offer tons of savings.
- Do your research – compare prices to make sure you’re getting the best deal available.
SEE: How to do a budget Euro trip – and have a unique experience in the process
Being flexible can help you save money...
Consider alternative airports
Consider other airports in the area when comparing options.
While one airport may be a go-to because of convenience, you’ll never know how much you could save if you flew out of (or into) another airport nearby. For example, when flying from Port Elizabeth, consider other airports like George and East London, and when heading to a destination like New York, consider all your options – JFK, LaGuardia and even Newark.
Choose your dates wisely
Everyone wants to depart at 7pm on a Friday night, which means that those flights tend to become quite pricey very quickly. The same goes for Saturday mornings or any other time when it’s the most convenient for the majority of travellers. Those who can make it work for their schedule should try flying on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday, rather than on the weekend.
Overnight flights are another great way to save – not only are they often cheaper, but there’s no need to pay for accommodation for the night in the air. Select a window seat, bring a neck pillow and (try to) get the Zzzs.
Fly on public holidays
Travelling over a public holiday? Consider swapping a pre-public holiday flight for a flight on the actual day. Not only will it likely save money, but it’ll skip a percentage of the crowds who have the same travel plans.
SEE: 2018 in Public Holidays: Do your leave planning like a pro
Pick a deal, not a destination
Don’t settle on one destination until you see what’s out there. Looking for a beach holiday? Don’t limit yourself to Ibiza. Instead pick the perks that matter to you
Finding the absolute lowest airfare can be rewarding, but there are other factors to consider, like value – the overall mix of price, quality and convenience.
Before shopping, it makes sense to decide what’s most important. It might be a really cheap plane ticket, but do you want to stop and change planes several times? Some airlines are more comfortable and provide more in-flight amenities than others, while budget carriers strip away the perks so they can charge less per seat.
Budget airlines (and the comparable basic economy fares offered by many of the bigger airlines) typically offer bare-bone fares with a low price tag but no perks. While that may not be for everyone, if you can travel light, this could mean an extremely cheap flight.
That said, read the fine print prior to booking to see what’s included in the ticket price.
You’ve got mail
Newsletters and email alerts are a great way to stay up to date on fare sales and travel deals. Flash sales and last-minute flight deals can provide unmatched savings, and signing up for travel email alerts is one way to make sure you don’t miss them when they pop up. Click here to subscribe to our weekend Newsletter
What to read next on Traveller24:
- 2018 in Public Holidays: Do your leave planning like a pro
- The 3 stages of lost-luggage grief: What to do when you and your bag go on separate adventures
- Explore more in 2018: Travel Corp's top 8 trips to plan for this year