What’s the one thing that makes each of us think twice about traveling? The cost of the flight tickets. A major portion of our traveling expense (around 60%) is allocated to air tickets. If you could find a way to reduce your flight ticket costs, it would take away a major chunk of your traveling expense and we would all end up traveling more.
Now, I’ve seen several several articles/posts on how you can save money on flight tickets by –
- Booking tickets at the last minute – It so occurs that at times, airlines give away cheap tickets to fill seats at the last minute. While this may be a good way to get some great deals, do you really want to risk booking your tickets at the last minute? It could work the other way as well. You may end up spending much more than you would have had you booked the tickets months before. Well, it’s a risk I’m not willing to take.
- Booking tickets on Tuesdays at noon – I’ve seen several posts on how Tuesday is the best day of the week to book cheap tickets. This may be true but then again, what’s the guarantee that you got a good deal? However, you could always check the price of the ticket in the next few days to see if the price dropped. But this is so much of a hassle.
- Booking flights that leave on a Wednesday – This works almost always. It’s no mystery why Flights in the middle of a week are cheap. No one travels during the middle of the week because it means you need to take off from work (this is for those of you who work and still wants to travel frequently). People prefer traveling on weekends or a day just before the weekend. Which is why tickets on a Friday/Saturday/Sunday is way more expensive. Now, despite this being a good tip, can we actually turn this into practice? Not really. Because all of us face the same problem – getting leave! So this option is ruled out.
- Collecting miles – Many many posts talk about how families traveled for free by collecting miles, buying travel credit cards, shopping or dining in places where you can collect more miles and so on. While this also works, it still involves you actually traveling to get travel miles. I find that not-so-alluring because I want to travel cheap every time I travel and not just a rare occasion when I have enough points to get a cheap fare or an upgrade. Bottom line – this method is slow. You will get to travel cheap at some point in time but not whenever you want to.
Rest assured, I have no intention to belittle the above methods. I would be more that happy if any of the above works for you. Somehow, they never worked for me. But there was one method which really did. And it’s mind blowing. Most of you may have heard what I’m about to say. But not many of you may know how exactly to make the best use of it.
Skyscanner! – Yes. Almost all of you would have heard of Skyscanner. But how do you use it? Like any other search engine right? You enter the dates when you wish to travel, you then select the departure and arrival city and then you search. This will probably give you a list of good deals on the selected days to the selected place. But this method will not give you the best deals. I’m going to show you the steps involved in getting the best deals using Skyscanner. All I ask you is for two things – be a little more flexible on your dates and your destination. Sounds like a lot? Trust me, once I’ve taken you through the steps, you won’t feel that way.
First scenario (Flexible with destination but not the time of travel): Once you’ve clicked on the Skyscanner link above, this is the page you would see. You can enter your departure city. In my case, it would be Chennai, India. Please leave the destination field blank.
Next, click of the ‘Depart’ field and a drop down menu will appear. In the drop down menu, select ‘Whole month’ and not a specific date. In case you want to travel in December, select December 2016.
Once you’ve selected the month of departure, select the number of passengers and then, click on search flights.
The following screen will appear with a list of cities and the starting price for a return air ticket to that city. Did you notice how cheap the tickets are?
Now click on the country you would like to travel to. How about Paris? So, I click on France and this is what will appear.
A return ticket to Paris from Chennai would cost you only Rs. 30,000! Doesn’t that look cheap? Now, click on the green button to the right of Paris.
On this screen, the prices for a trip to Paris for everyday of the month of December would appear. Choose the depart and return dates per your convenience. I chose the 2nd of December (Note – a Friday and not a Wednesday) and the 9th of December. The total cost of the trip – Rs. 30,000. And you though traveling was expensive!
Second scenario (Flexible with time of travel but not the destination):If you are flexible with the dates and not with the location, you can let Skyscanner choose the cheapest month of travel for a city of your choice. On the first screen, choose your departure city (Paris) and under the drop down menu, choose ‘cheapest month’
Now, you get to travel to Paris for the same price in September
Third scenario (Flexible with both the destination and the time of travel): You can leave the departure dates empty and also click on cheapest months. In this case, you get a host of options to travel!
Now why is Skyscanner better than the other search engines? I will give you an example. I did a search of flight tickets on ‘Makemytrip’ for the same dates I got in Skyscanner to the same destination (Paris), and look at the price I got. Rs. 40,000. That’s 10 grand you would be saving had you used Skyscanner. Skyscanner not only gives you the best price, it also gives you the days on which you can get the best price. I would never had known 2nd to 9th gave me the cheapest option had I not used Skyscanner. I would have ended up paying much more than the additional 10K.
There are a few other search engines as well that gives you the best flight deals – Google flights, Kayak, Momondo, etc. I have used them and they are good but my experience with Skyscanner has been the best so far. Using Skyscanner, I’ve got flight tickets to Melbourne from Chennai for as low as Rs. 27,000!