How to travel on a budget (transportation: part 3 – flying)
This is the third part of our guide to budget travelling, where we offer useful tips, hints and guidance on how to keep the costs down. Check out the 1st part How to travel on a budget (transportation: part 1 – hitchhiking) and the second part: How to travel on a budget (transportation: part 2 – carpooling).
Flying is the fastest and most efficient way of travelling but it can also make you lose your money fast! Despite the stress and discomfort, sometimes it is unavoidable so to avoid paying through the nose, follow our handy tips.
Use budget airlines wherever you can. You won’t get your free meal and drinks on board but that’s the price to pay for flying on a shoestring.
- easyjet.com – mostly in Europe, and in some parts of the Middle East and North Africa. Check which cities they cover.
- ryanair.com – mostly Europe. Check where they fly to.
- wizzair.com – mostly Europe. Check where they fly to.
- airbaltic.com – Europe, Russia, Middle East and Central Asia. Check their destinations.
- vueling.com – lots of places in Spain but also major European cities and some places in the Middle East and North Africa. Check their destinations.
- germanwings.com – lots of places in Germany but also major European cities and some places in the Middle East and North Africa. Check their destinations.
- airasia.com – mostly Southeast Asia
- china-sss.com – China and Japan. Check their destinations..
- southwest.com – USA. Check out their destination map.
- virginamerica.com – USA. Check out their destination map.
Check out this useful info-graphic to compare budget airlines and their luggage fees.
If you want to fly on a shoestring, book your flights from big international hubs like London, Berlin, New York, Paris etc. Big airports usually have deals with airlines and flying from them costs less than from small cities or towns. If you are planning a longer journey, e.g. from Europe to Asia, you are bound to pay less flying from London than say from Belgium, Poland or Denmark.
Use free of charge flights search engines. You have all the airlines and airports in one place which allows you to choose the cheapest option. You can also select flights with 1 or 2 connections which is usually the cheapest way to do it.
- skyscanner.net – 100% free to use, finds direct and indirect flights from a particular airport / city / whole country. Menu available in many languages and prices seen in many currencies. We’ve used it many times and we absolutely love it!
- momondo.com – Menu in many languages and currencies. You can use Momondo to look for flights, rent a car or book a hotel.
- expedia.es – flights, hotels and car search engine. You can also find some great deals and last minute offers there.
Pay only for the flights. Different airlines will offer you a variety of extra options for which you’d also have to pay EXTRA. If you really want to travel cheap, avoid spending your money on things like:
- travel insurance (you can get that cheaper through a proper insurance company, don’t pay an airline to do it)
- extra leg room (unless you’re really tall, it’s not really worth the extra cost)
- priority boarding (people pay extra to get on the plane first :) You will get there eventually, what’s the rush?
- extra luggage (travel light! do you really need all this stuff? it will cost you extra money if you really do)
- food/drinks on board (bring your own food on the plane, so much cheaper and so much tastier)
- on-board souvenirs, scratch cards etc… (don’t let them entangle you in their never-ending selling circle, you are a budget traveller, remember?)
Use loyalty programmes. Become a member of all possible airlines and collect points whenever you fly. If you do it for long enough, eventually it will pay off and you might be given discounts or even free flights.
If you’re flexible and don’t really care about the date of departure for your holiday, look for deals and adjust your travelling time to the cheapest flight options.
- whichairline.com – finds the cheapest deals for your geographical location and you can book directly with the carrier.
- tipsoftravelling.com – very useful blog with a handful of deals.
There are many websites on the vast sea of the Internet which focus on deals, just type in Google “flight deals” and you will be able to find plenty.