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It’s not so much an art form, than it is a form of dedication. Before creating this AI programme to help scan across the web for different flight and hotels to combine into a package within budget, I would use a number of key sources and tools to make sure I was always finding the cheapest flights for my getaway.
A Lawyer in her previous life, the copious hours of scrutinising law text books, case law and wikipedia have resulted in the birth of a creature, whose capability to research into the paths less trodden, surpasses most seasoned travellers.
First and foremost, whenever I had a destination in mind I would log in (yes you can create an account) to Skyscanner to find out the prices for my destination, first in the “cheapest month” option and second for the whole month that I wanted to travel in.
I would then proceed to toggle with dates to see what date combinations would be the cheapest.
Make sure when searching to tick the box “include nearby destinations” so that if there is a nearby cheaper airport to fly into, its included in the results. I’m also not adverse to indirect flights (generally cheaper than direct flights) for long haul destinations, so I leave the directs flight only box unticked.
If I couldn’t find any tickets within budget or wasn’t ready to book; I would place an alert on the flight and watch for 2-3 weeks to see what the trend was for price changes (most flights do tend to be cheaper on Tuesday-Wednesday).
Before moving on to the next step, as a validation check, search Skyscanner in incognito mode and do not accept any cookies. There have been two occasions where the results shown in incognito mode have been less than that in my normal web browser.
2. Compare to results found on Kayak, Momondo and Google Flights
The next step is pretty much self- explanatory.
I find Kayak best for comparing EU flights as it tends to pick up more providers and combines different providers to create cheaper flight combinations.
Momondo tends to be better to compare for long haul flights especially to Asia.
Google flights is a best “final checker” once you have used the other platforms as it tends to provide really up to date results. Note however that google flights does not search against Easy Jet.
3. Searching For Cashback and Discount Codes
The third step is now to see if and where we can get an extra discount. Finding flight codes outside of holiday periods such as Christmas, may be a tough ask but not impossible. I was able to get a 5% discount on my Turkish Airlines flight as a new customer and subscriber to their Miles&Smiles Programme.
4. Have you got any airmiles lying around?
The only time I have had the opportunity to pay for a flight in full using air miles is when I took advantage of an avios credit card deal. However even if you don’t have enough miles to pay for your flight in full, you can normally exchange them for other benefits such as airport lounges or flight upgrades, so technically you’re still saving a bit of money.
Even if you don’t spend the airmiles on flights, with some schemes you can use your points on different products or services. For instance flying back from Kenya, I was able to use my left over Miles&Smiles points to buy my nephew a lego building set for his birthday, delivery included.
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