I get a lot of mails asking for tips on how to book cheap flights, so I’ve broken down the step-by-step flight hack I use to save hundreds of euro on every long haul. You’ll be happy to hear, it’s also surprisingly simple!
Let’s say, for example, you want to book a flight from Dublin to Bali for some time next year…
- Open Skyscanner.com on private/incognito mode (that’s ‘cmd + Shift + n’ on Mac or ‘Ctrl + Shift + n’ on PC – you do this to minimise the site’s cookie cache, if this means nothing to you, don’t worry about it! Just open the private browser and you’ve nailed it.)
- In the “Departure” field, type your departure airport (which in this case would be Dublin)
- Make sure to tick the box below that says “Add Nearby Airports“
- In the “Destination” field, type “Everywhere” and the option “Everywhere” will appear in the drop down menu
- For “Date”, instead of choosing specific dates on the calendar, click the option for “Whole Month” that appears on the top right-hand corner of the drop down menu
- If you have a specific month in mind, select the entire month. If not, even better, select “Cheapest Month” at the top
- The search results will now show you the cheapest countries to fly to from your departure airport (in this case, find the stop closest to Indonesia with a big international airport – i.e. Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok)
- Write down the cheapest destination and date options
- Open a new private browser window and go to Skyscanner.com again
- This time in the “Departure” field, enter one of the countries/cities you found on the previous search and for “Destination” type “Bali” and select it’s main airport “Denpasar” from the drop down menu
- For “Date”, search “Whole Month” for the cheapest month you found in the previous search and then see if any dates match up to connect the two flights yourself.
You can use this hack between any two cities anywhere in the world, as a one-way or a return flight. Essentially you are creating your own layover that’s not as “convenient” as the layovers airlines plan out themselves, but you’ll be saving a ton of money, and may even get to quickly explore another city.
To get the cheapest flights possible the goal is to always be as flexible as possible with your dates and connections. That said, if you are extremely flexible with your time and can book a flight on a whim, I highly recommend liking the Facebook pages Flynous.com and Secret Flying. These pages track and post airline “error fares” in realtime – these are mistakes in an airline’s pricing algorithm that can result in a short window where you can nab a serious deal on a generally pricey fare. Once you book it while the offer is available online, the airline has to honour it. It is worth noting, with these fares, you have no control over the departure, destination or dates but I have gotten some incredible deals via these pages. For instance, I once flew London to Rio de Janeiro return for €280. However, you have to be quick, airlines correct these error fares fairly sharpish, so as soon as the post appears on your timeline you need to make the purchase and hope it processes.
Another little hack to bear in mind, is Skyscanner’s “Multi-city” option. Let’s say you want to book a trip from Dublin to Rome but on the way home you want to spend a couple of nights in London. While you should, of course, calculate the cost of each flight as a one-way it is often much better value to allow Skyscanner to piece your trip together via the Multi-city tab. You can add as many stops as you like using this option too.
Lastly, no matter what flight you’re looking for it’s always worth referencing the price you get on Skyscanner with other flight aggregator sites before booking, just to see what they have on offer too! My favourites are Kayak, Momondo and Google Flights.