I’m pretty proud of how much I paid for my flights to Costa Rica. It was pretty much the first thing out of my mouth when anyone asked about my trip. ‘I’m so excited! The flights were £900 on the airline website, but I paid £462!’
How, you might ask?
However, it’s not quite as simple as just popping in your dates and the airport you want to fly from. There are a few tips and tricks that can cut those prices down significantly. Here is how I find cheap flights from the UK and save money on travelling!
Be flexible about where you want to fly from and to
Yes, I know it’s convenient to fly from an airport you can get a taxi to. But by looking a little further, you can save so much money, it makes the longer transfer time completely worth it. Using Skyscanner, you can search flights from an entire country, to an entire country. For me, flights from London are usually cheapest as there are just so many airlines operating out of there. But occasionally, Birmingham or Manchester pop up, which can save me money and they are no more difficult to reach from where I live. This works the same on the other end- just pop in the country rather than the airport as your destination. I found flights from Stansted to Milan Malpensa for £28 return- all because these are smaller airports, and the airlines sold the flights off cheap as they were struggling to shift them.
Use the ‘whole month’ search function
Do you have set times you have to take holiday in? Maybe you’re in education, or have to use up some holiday accrued before the end of the year. No problems- just search by month on Skyscanner, so you can see the cheapest days to fly. Flight prices can vary massively- and can even triple if you fly just a day later. Unless you are absolutely chained to a day, I would always recommend using this feature.
Or even the ‘cheapest month’
The other fantastic feature that Skyscanner has the the ‘search by cheapest month’ option. Don’t know when is going to be most economical to fly? Have flexible holidays? Boom! Skyscanner will find you the most rock bottom flights available. Just be careful that there’s not a good reason flights are in such low demand- it could be rainy season, or to a very out of the way airport. I personally don’t mind a bit of extra travel time, but for some people it could be a factor.
Check flights from nearby countries
Aha, my piece de resistance aka how I plan to pay £500 to get back to Costa Rica this summer, rather than the £1300 plus I would have paid (even with Skyscanner’s help). It works like this-
Skyscanner have an ‘Everywhere’ option (for the chronically indecisive like me). This means you can actually search all flights leaving the UK, by cheapest month, and every destination. For those interested, the cheapest possible flight you can get from the UK is a £5 flight from Stansted to Bremen, Germany on the 22nd April. Thank me later.
Anyway, what you need to do is search for your destination- everywhere. This will bring up a list of countries that you can reach from your destination, in ascending order of price. Scroll through, and have a look at how much it is to get to where you are. Use this as your reference point.
Then, scroll back so the flights are getting cheaper, and see if there are any countries near to where you live. If there are, and there is a significant difference in price- you could be onto something.
Next, you need to look up flights from where you live to the nearby country. Just go for the cheapest and most convenient one possible within the dates you want.
Now, add the price of that flight, to the price of the flight to where you actually want to go, and we have…. yes!! Super cheap flights, with a bonus stopover!
I searched and searched for flights from the UK to Costa Rica between June- August. There wasn’t a single plane leaving the UK that I could pay less than £1300 to be on. However I was not about to be defeated. My best friend is moving to Barcelona, and I knew that I would have to visit her before I flew back anyway. So in the search bar, using the ‘reverse search’ technique I just mentioned, I put in Costa Rica- Everywhere. I scrolled down through the results and bingo. Flights to Barcelona from £474. I swapped the destinations, and sure enough the price was the same flying from Barcelona into Costa Rica.
A quick search of Cardiff-Barcelona later, and I was all set- I can get a flight for £30, and from an hour away from my house. And there you have it- for a total of £504, I can fly to Costa Rica, via Barcelona for some Spanish dancing, tapas, wine and giggles with Megan.