Travel expert shares top tips to save big on flights

Travel expert shares top tips to save big on flights
Travel expert shares top tips to save big on flights

The cost of flights is a deciding factor behind the holiday destination of choice for nearly half of Australian holidaymakers, according to the 2024 Travel Trends report from Skyscanner.

But bargain fares are not the only thing informing holiday locations — similarly sized cohorts of foodies and fandoms said their travels were largely motivated by Michelin stars, and the movements of their favourite fictional characters.

Securing a “vibe” was a key destination decider for 29 per cent of respondents, according to the report, with “main character energy” driving a 65 per cent uptick in searches for flights to Australia to Paris in the week after Netflix dropped the third season of television series Emily in Paris.

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Despite the soaring searches, only 26 per cent went on to book.

Skyscanner’s travel expert Jarrod Kris told some of the best ways to save on flights, so that other incentives can be left to steer travel plans.

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Booking earlier in the week, during the cheaper part of the weekly price cycle, gives travellers a better chance of scoring a cheap fare regardless of the destination.

“Typically, the lowest prices are made available earlier in the week, and the highest prices are offered later in the week,” Kris said. But the travel expert admitted that it isn’t a “sure fire” tactic.

He said that turning on airline and aggregator price alerts when you’re planning a trip, is a safer way to ensure you can snap up sale prices as soon as they become available.

Being flexible with airports and departure dates and times — opting for the red eye — is one of the best ways to make expensive flight paths more affordable.

A Skyscanner travel expert has shared the best ways to score cheap flights, so cultural attractions can steer destination decisions instead. Credit: Getty Images

“There is no real formula on ‘how far advance to book’ to land a good deal, which is why we always recommend our Cheapest Month tool,” Kris said.

“This handy tool gives you a bird’s-eye view on the absolute cheapest month to book flights for the destination you are after, against the full calendar.

“Be prepared to rise early or stay up late for cheaper and ‘Less in-demand’ flights. Usually due to their departure or return times, taking the red-eye can help you find less popular flights and therefore cheaper airfares.

“Less crowded flights can also mean a chance to relax in an empty row of seats.”

Leaning into the layover, or utilising the aggregator’s “everywhere” search to comb through the best deals globally, can also offer great savings if you’re willing to be spontaneous, he said.

The report found that people were also willing to spend more on flights if they could save money in other areas as a result.

It said that 40 per cent of respondents would be willing to travel overseas for a concert if it would help them save money and gave examples of Leeds in the UK, and Bordeaux in France, where it claims tickets for a gig are usually under $40.

“While value for money is still top of mind, travellers are more than ever letting culture drive their decision-making,” the report said.

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