Booking Flights Online

I have wanted to start a help series for a while now (probably could have thought of a better name but I have The Beatles in my head and they’re damn influential). Lots of friends always ask what site I use to look up flights or how do I find a cheap hotel or what visa do I need if I go here blah blah blah etc. So alas I’m going to do a few posts with ‘travel tips’ that should help with the planning and prep. Obviously these are just my method of madness to get things done and I’m sure there are better ways but these work for me and so I thought I’d share them with you!

This first one is all about booking flights online. Nowadays there are three main ways to book flights – online, over the phone and with a travel agent. I always book my flights online as it is so easy and you have access to everything all at once. I get nervous around travel agents incase they’re giving me a bad deal and I have no way to compare it to anything instantly. If I do go in to an agents it’s normally just to pick up some brochures and get ideas for trips but I rarely purchase anything with them there.

For this example let’s say I’m flying from New York to Los Angeles. There are three things I tend to do when trying to figure out my best date/airline/price options (apologies for the fuzzy screenshots) –

1) First thing I do is go on Skyscanner and Google Flights. Both of these sites show an overview per month so you can see what days are cheapest to fly on. GF does this better as it literally gives you the price where as Skyscanner shows you a bar graph. Both of these sites filter through a ton of different airlines so they’ll definitely give you the best outcome possible. A tip with GF is to make sure you’re using the right Google depending on where you’re flying from e.g. if you’re going London to Los Angeles then you should use Google Flights UK as it searches different airlines to Google Flights US. Using this you can get a rough idea as to what dates are cheapest to fly on.

2) If you wiki the airports you’ll see they have a list of airlines and destinations. Reading through this or using the finder tool you can filter the different airports. Here I’m on JFK’s wiki and filtering for LAX and I see that there are five different airlines that go there. I’ll then tend to go on those websites and have a mooch around to see if they have any sale/deals going on that the previous search sites didn’t pick up on (or maybe they aren’t even included on search websites). It’s also useful to see if the airline charges extra for check-in baggage or picking your seat in advance.

2b) Not sure if this deserves a separate bullet point but it’s also worth checking the airline sites if you are a member of a mile club to get those extra miles/if there’s a deal on potentially. Lots of airlines partner together so you can use one airline membership with multiple airlines e.g. One World allows you to use your membership with American Airlines, British Airways etc. I’ll do a separate post on this but definitely sign up if you aren’t already as it’s totally worth it.

3) The third site I tend to check is STA Travel (make sure you’re on the right one e.g. STA US, UK). They offer discounted airline tickets at different rates depending on whether you’re a student, under 26 or over 26. I like to always check with them if I’m flying at a particular non-peak time in the year, as they tend to have great deals then. I book a lot of one way flights oppose to returns as I tend to fly into one place and then onwards to another and that is normally really expensive. Airlines like to charge a significant amount more if you’re only booking a one way but with STA they don’t do that. If you book a one way flight through STA they will charge you half of the roundtrip which is amazing and often it’s a little bit cheaper.It’s definitely worth just having a quick search to see.

Just a little extra tidbit of advice is try to hit big airports. They tend to be cheaper to fly in and out of oppose to smaller airports. I know sometimes that can seem irritating and out of the way but maybe there’s a cheaper option if you fly via a larger airport? It’s just something to always keep an eye out for.

Hopefully this helped a little bit with how to book flights cheaply. In the end it just really depends on what is the most important factor to you – how cheap it is or the duration of travelling or the airline etc. If you’re just looking for cheap I think this method is pretty good but I know that some people are more fussy and prefer to only fly with one specific airline each time. I’ll do another one of these ‘help’ posts soon on booking accommodations but in the meanwhile have a great week!

Discussion

Nicosia - Borders & Mosques

Day Out - Aphrodite's Rock

Paphos - Castle & Sights

Day Out - Cinque Terre

Florence - Duomo & David

Day Out - Leaning Tower of Pisa

Day Out - Mayfield Lavender Farm

Taipei - Jiufen and Yehliu GeoPark

Taipei - 101

Yangshou - Li River

Day Out - Longji Rice Terraces

Guilin - Sun & Moon Pagodas

Shanghai - Bund and Temples

Xi'an - Terracotta Army

Day Out - Great Wall of China

Beijing - Temple of Heaven

Beijing - Tiananmen and Forbidden City

Helsinki - Seurasaari

Helsinki - Cathedral & Suomenlinna

Day Out - Lantern Festival London

Vatican City - Peter and the Pope

Day Out - Pompeii

Rome 2 - Colosseum and Forum

Rome - Food, Trevi and Pantheon

Madrid - Bear and Tree

Hotel One Shot Prado 23 Review

AVE Renfe Train Review

Day Out - La Tomatina

Valencia - Aquarium & Gulliver

Air Europa Review

Adventure - Scandinavia 2016

Bergen - Boats and Fish

FlΓ₯m - Hikes and Views

Oslo - Vikings and Ships

Oslo - Vigeland and Ski Jump

Stockholm - Abba & Meatballs

Copenhagen - Land

Copenhagen - Water

Day Out - Frederiksborg Castle

Adventure - Israel 2016

Jerusalem - Places to eat and drink!

Jerusalem - Old City

Jerusalem - Museums and Markets

Day Out - Makhtesh Ramon

Tel Aviv - Places to eat and drink!

Tel Aviv - Outside the city

Tel Aviv - In the city

Day Out - Caesarea

Haifa - Places to eat and drink!

Haifa - Wadi Nisnas & Mount Carmel

Haifa - Bahai Gardens

Day in the Life - Tel Aviv

Day Out - Horashim Forest

#13 - Israel

Barcelona #2 - Montjuic & Barri Gotic

Barcelona #1 - Gaudi

Bristol - Things to eat and drink!

Bristol - Things to do and see!

Day Out - Sherwood Forest

#12 - Xmas

Day Out - Winterville London

Zurich - Outside the city

Zurich - In the city

Day Out - Harry Potter Studio Tour

Adventure - Japan 2015

Tokyo 2

Nara & Hiroshima

Osaka

Koyasan

Kyoto 2

Kyoto

Tokyo & DisneySea

Tokyo

Boston Islands - What to see and do!

Boston - What to eat and drink!

Boston - What to see and do!

Seattle - What to see and do!

Adventure - British Columbia 2015

British Columbia 3 - Victoria

British Columbia 2 - Vancouver

British Columbia 1 - Whistler

Adventure - Alaska 2015

Juneau - Outside the city

Juneau - In the city

Whittier - Glaciers, Bears & Whales

Anchorage - Outside the city

Anchorage - In the city

Denali - ATVs, Huskies and a Moose

Louisville - What to see and do!

Little Rock - What to see and do!

Oklahoma City - What to see and do!

Kansas City - What to see and do!

St. Louis - What to see and do!

Memphis - What to see and do!

Great Smoky Mountains #2 - Hike and Fog

Great Smoky Mountains #1 - Bears & Dixie Stampede

Lake Erie Roadtrip #2 - Cleveland, Xmas and Rock & Roll

Lake Erie Roadtrip #1 - Toronto to Detroit

Fargo - What to see and do!

Reykjavik - Outside the city

Reykjavik - In the city

NYC Winter #2 - Markets, Lights and Trees

NYC Winter #1 - The Christmas Cluster

Day Out - The First Thanksgiving

New Orleans - What to see and do!

Montreal - Food Walking Tour

Montreal - Dos and Don'ts

Austin - What to eat and drink!

Austin - What to see and do!

Ghent in a day

Bruges in a day

Brussels in a day

Lisbon Day #3 - Tiles and Trams

Lisbon Day #2 - We Hate Tourism and Sintra

Lisbon Day #1 - Parque das Naçáes

Mountain Roadtrip #6 - Potatoes, Temple and Pride

Mountain Roadtrip #5 - Deer, Lakes and Cowboys

Mountain Roadtrip #4 - Yellowstone

Mountain Roadtrip #3 - Dudes, Spirits and Towers

Mountain Roadtrip #2 - Storms, Bison and Mount Rushmore

Mountain Roadtrip #1 - Denver, Snow and Red Rocks

Baltimore - Crabs, Old Bay and Beer

Las Vegas #2 - The Strip

Las Vegas #1 - Neon Museum, Hoover Dam & Fremont St

Day Out - Santacon NYC 2013

Balloon Roadtrip #4 - Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta 2013

Balloon Roadtrip #3 - Albuquerque

Balloon Roadtrip #2 - Flagstaff to Farmington

Balloon Roadtrip #1 - LA to Flagstaff