Whether it’s your gap year before university or you’re looking for a much needed break after exam season, jetting off on a lengthy trip is one way to relax - and start your adventure.
Backpacking, interrailing or city hopping, the world is wide and there is so much to see. If you’re on a tight student budget and have a desire to travel, we’re here to make it a little easier with our tips on finding cheap student flights for even less.
Shop around for the best flight deal
Don't book the first cheap flight that you come across as the likeliness is, there will be more - lots of cheap flights in fact. Travel can be done cheaper than you think. Spend a lot of time using comparison websites, changing up your destination, dates and time frame of travel. This will give you a lot more options and see how everything compares - and then you can make a final decision for which flight will suit your budget.
Travel on the cheapest day to fly out
Embrace your ‘off season’ mentality when booking your flights. Similar to how holidays spike in peak season, flights can also spike in prices over the course of weekends. Which means, if you’re able to, book your flight out during the week. This can all be dependent on location and time of year, but generally, flights are cheaper during the week - and even if you only save ten pounds, it’s a tenna, you can put towards cocktails in Thailand. And, also be flexible with your travel dates and when you’d like to travel, as you may be able to find yourself a right bargain.
Comparison websites are an absolute dream for this kind of research. Skyscanner and Kayak are two of the best options. You’re able to search on a monthly basis to see which dates are the cheapest to fly. And on Skyscanner, there’s even the option to pick ‘fly everywhere’ and look at the cheapest flights on a global scale.
As well as the cheapest day, look at the cheapest time to fly out. Typically, the early morning or less ‘convenient’ times flights are the cheapest.
And a top tip - if you set up a flight price reminder on Skyscanner, it will send you alerts via email for when your flight over the course or certain days increases or decreases in price.
Be flexible around your flight destination
You may have set your heart on jetting off to Thailand or spending a week in the bustle of New York City, but something to consider is the destination. If you have an open mind to going literally anywhere, you may be able to find even better deals and still fulfill the desire to travel in your heart.
Opt for connecting flights rather than direct
Although connecting flights do take a lot longer and it means waiting times between two different flights, it can be a lot cheaper - and add wonders to your adventure. Think about the people you will come across, the stories you can hear and the venturing around duty free shops.
When searching for the flights, refrain from pressing the ‘direct only’ option and you’ll be able to see how flight prices compare and how much money you could save.
Don’t necessarily leave booking your flight to the last minute
Last minute deals can be an absolute gold mine but there is also no guarantee that booking last minute will give you the cheapest flight. By all means book last minute but don’t research last minute. Try to give yourself enough breathing time by planning ahead and looking at what's available. And if you like, then make the decision last minute. If you rush into something, you may miss out on a great deal.
Book two one way flights instead of a round trip
Again, when researching around, take every instance into consideration of how you can save money. This could also mean by buying two single flights, instead of a roundtrip. This isn’t always the case on working out cheaper, however, it can be another method to save money.
Book flights through travel agents for students
Although travel agents don’t typically have a reputation for being the cheapest way to book a holiday, the companies designed for students do, including Student Universe and Intrepid Travel. They are designed to help you find the cheapest deals in order to live a dream travel life. And, by booking with them rather than independently, you may be able to receive some brilliant student discounts.
Take advantage of flight sales
Sales are a dream time for travel lovers, especially those on a student budget. A lot of different sales occur throughout the year including Black Friday, January sales and many more - it’s all dependent on the company. The best way to keep on top of sales is by signing up to the travel company’s email newsletter as you’ll be alerted when a sale goes live.
Going incognito and deleting cookies when booking flights
The way you search online is something else to consider and staying as anonymous as you can can help keep the flight prices down. Airline companies will fluctuate their prices depending on the demand, which means the more people searching for those flights, the more that price could increase. This can explain why if you keep searching for the same flight, it continuously increases in price every time you look at it.
There are two ways you can prevent this from happening, the first is to delete your search cookies and the second is to search in an incognito browser. With both methods, your location and identity are concealed from the airlines and the prices displayed shouldn’t be affected.
Purchase flights on a credit card
Credit cards can be really beneficial as they protect you when purchasing more expensive things such as flights. Booking your flight on a credit card doesn’t necessarily save you money but it can give you that level of reassurance if the flight company goes bust. And, depending on your credit card company, some offer air miles with every pound you spend, and even cashback rewards.
Be wary of extra costs on budget airlines
Budget airlines can be an absolute dream for students as they offer the opportunity to travel for next to nothing and still get the full travel experience. However, some budget airlines do have some extra costs that you may not realise when you book your budget flight. For example, you may need to pay to choose where you sit (if you want to sit next to your pal) and extra luggage costs.
Try to travel light where possible to avoid paying for your hold luggage. And, when bringing hand luggage, ensure you check the dimensions of your bag, otherwise the airline may charge you at the gate to pay to put it in the hold. Lots of airlines have different policies with what size bag you can bring - there isn’t really a one-bag-that-fits-all situation.
Student discounts for flights
Just like your Asos order, student discounts and student cards are available on a whole host of things - including flights. Look out on different travel websites if student discounts apply or if there is the option to buy a student card and save continuously on different travel costs, including flights. There are lots of different student websites out there which will offer discounts and advice on saving on your travels.
Travelling on a budget can be easier than you think and the adventure is out there waiting for you. But always remember, to get your travel insurance before departing the UK
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