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How to search the web for cheap flights
In 2009 I set my mind to taking my daughter to Florida Disneyland. I had to budget and cut down on spending but also I had to find the best air fares I could find. At one point I thought it wasn’t going to happen as the fares seemed quite dear. But then spending mornings, afternoons and evenings surfing the net I began to notice a pattern. Something I’d never noticed before. I think when you spend so much time on something, obsessing in my case, you begin to notice and pick up things.
I began my search in January 2009 hoping to go on holiday in May. A friend of mine and her daughter joined us and that made it even cheaper. I remember her being anxious by my delay in purchasing the tickets, but I assured her I’d learnt a pattern and if she stuck with me we’d get the flights and hotel for cheap. And at the end of May I delivered that promise and the total cost of the tickets for four people amounted to £1000 which worked out at £200 each.
So how did I find cheap flights.
Because I surfed the net regularly I began to notice a pattern. The first thing I noticed was that early in the morning from about 6am to about 10am the flights were a lot cheaper. Then at lunch time the flight prices would sky rocket until about 11pm at night. Then from about 12am the tickets would shoot back down.
I spent a lot of time on my mobile phone checking out the flights, my obsession caused me to check flights at 1am in the morning. And through out the day as I monitored the exact same flight it would fluctuate throughout the day. I could have booked the flights earlier; I almost did when I discovered how cheap the prices had dropped.
Then I did a little bit more research to find out why the flight prices dropped at certain times of the day. According to this research it was said that at the most busiest times of the day, the times when most people are online are at lunch time up until ten, eleven at night. Between 12am and 6am internet traffic slows down. It picks up slightly after ten and then is busy at lunch time. Travel agents know this and so their systems are built to do this.
Another thing I discovered by checking up on the prices so regularly was that from the 7th of each month until about the 15th of the month there is a dip in the prices. The obvious reasons for this is that from the 15th to the end of the month people are generally getting paid. Most people pay for their holidays after payday. So the best time to get a bargain would be between the 7th and 15th of the month between 12and 6am. Does this always work? It did for me, you have to be persistent and watch the trends of a particular website.
The other advantage that worked out for us was that our kid’s school terms were different. The schools in our district were off for two weeks while the other schools in our county were off for only one week. This worked to my advantage because the week I chose to jet off was the week the other schools were back at school. I guess it doesn’t always work out that way but we were lucky that way. Cheaper flights are always out of school holidays, which is a bit unfair but if you have children you can work around it. We are lucky that in May we have the two week holiday instead of one and make up for it in August and only get five weeks instead of six. So I was able to choose the holiday also based on this.
Fly indirectly or at awkward times
If you are willing getting an indirect flight it will work out cheaper. Another reason why our flight was so cheap was because we flew via New York and connected to Florida. It was a bit more expensive to fly directly. Also flying early also helped. It was just as well because my daughter was up at 3am because excitement kept her awake. The nice thing about flying from UK to the US for us was that we gained six hours so it worked out well for us.
Waiting until the last minute
It’s not always advisable because you might get disappointed but sometimes an airline just needs to fill up seats and will sell tickets at bargain prices. This works when you’re not bothered where you want to go. Sites like lastmintue.com do have some great last minute deals. I guess when it comes to booking flights or holidays you have to find the deal that suits your pocket. There is a lot to competition out there and everyone wants business, so find the best deal.
When we wanted to go to Portugal last year I did a price check on flights on skyscanner. Rynair came up the cheapest out of all the airlines. The next step was to look at package holidays at lowcostholidays.com to Portugal. The flight was slightly higher but the accommodation was very cheap. The next thing I did was go to Rynair direct and found the tickets even cheaper than skyscanner. I booked those tickets and then booked the accommodation only at lowcostholidays.com. I also got rid of the insurance as this bumps up the prices as I have my own travel insurance. Always look out for the little expenses the agents add onto the flights.
It’s all about searching and looking for the best deal. Package deals aren’t always the cheapest. Sometimes it works out cheaper to book the hotel and flight separately.