For a travel blogger searching for the best deals on flights is like sport! I relish the challenge of finding the best deals on my favourite airlines but the truth is you don’t have to be as geeky as me to get flights at the best price – you just have to know where to look.
So What’s My Secret?
My secret weapon for cheap flight heaven is Skyscanner. I remember when their flight comparison website first launched in Edinburgh in 2003. I was living in London then and loved the idea of browsing all possible airlines and routes I could take to hop around Europe – and as we know there is a lot of choice there!
These days I use Skyscanner most when I’m booking flights from Sydney to visit friends and family in London. I tend to plan (and save!) to fly home twice a year, often around special events like weddings, christenings, births, etc. – all those things you don’t want to miss as an expat.
I recently flew back home to London (for a double whammy of a wedding and a christening) and before I went I filmed exactly how I searched and booked the best flights at a bargain price. I had a budget of $2000 saved for this trip but it’s cost me up to $2500 in the past so I used Skyscanner to find a decent flight within my budget.
I ended up snagging a great deal on a Singapore Airlines flight for $1400 – saving a massive $1100 compared to what I’ve spent previously. Here’s how I did it…
How I Did It
Booking the best flights at the cheapest price can be done in 4 simple steps on Skyscanner:
Step 2: Tap in your to and from locations. With a destination like London you can select the London (any) field for it to search all airports. If you’ve got a set date in mind you can tap that in too but if you’re flexible about travel you have a couple of options
- Select cheapest month and Skyscanner will show you the cheapest month to travel
- Select the month you want to travel and hit the chart This will show you the cheapest days to travel within the month of your choice.
Step 3: Once you’ve picked the cheapest dates the app will show you all the results starting with the cheapest first. As you can probably imagine the cheapest way to fly from Sydney to London may not be the sanest. Not naming any names but I’d rather not spend several hours in random Chinese cities on my way home – know what I’m saying?
So Step 4: I filter the results according to what I can tolerate – low-cost airlines, long layovers, flights with more than 1 stop are all chopped! I tweak all the filter options to make the journey as breezy as possible and then I assess the remaining options.
Top tip: If you’re not as fussy as me you can quickly assess the quality of the flights available by glancing at the Skyscanner rating. A green face with a score of 8 or above is generally a go-er!
The filtered results bring up a flight to London with Singapore Airlines who I know are a superb airline as I’ve flown with them often. (Remember that time I used frequent flyer points to upgrade to Singapore Suites?)
There’s a short layover in Singapore Changi, which will give me just enough time to grab a shower and some snacks, and the best bit, it’s only $1400. I click to book this flight and Skyscanner shows me the different retailers I can secure the flight with. They charge no booking fees so I hit select and that’s it!
Another top tip: If you’re not ready to book just yet you can set up a price alert for your search. Skyscanner will let you know if there’s any change in price so that if it drops you can get in there fast or if it goes up (as may happen if you’re booking last minute) they’ll let you know so you can make a decision before it gets any higher.
Splurging The Savings
Landing in London with $1100 more in my pocket than I anticipated meant I could have a little fun.
Here’s some of the indulgent ways I spent it:
A visit to the UK is normally my excuse to eat all the British foods I’ve been craving. With some spare change in my pocket I was able to treat my girlfriends to a traditional afternoon tea at Beas Of Bloomsbury as well as test out Bill’s (of Surry Hills fame) hotcakes at Granger & Co in Kings Cross. (Note to self: they taste the same both sides of the pond.)
Likewise I love the UK high street so it was great to go on a shopping spree guilt-free. Some of my purchases included undies from M&S (my fellow expat friends will understand this necessity) and some sparkly new shoes from Jimmy Choo. Not only did the exchange rate work in my favour but as an Aussie resident I got to claim the tax back on these at the airport – making them a veritable bargain!
Finally, my friend got married in the luxurious (although apparently haunted) Castle Leslie in Ireland and the money I saved on the flights meant I could afford to stay in one of the quirky heritage rooms at the castle. Our room had a bronze roll top bath, 900-year-old 4-poster bed and a bathroom that had been decked out like a church confessional, which somehow worked in this context!
I think you could say that was savings well spent!
How would you splurge $1100 in London?
This post was written in conjunction with Skyscanner. My flights to London and everything I did there was self-funded. All advice, savings and splurging are my own.