A question that I am frequently asked is “how do you find your tickets, trips, hotels etc?” The internet has made a huge difference in how we book our holidays these days, the last time I was in a travel store to book a trip I can’t even remember. The internet is the way to go, but unfortunately every single internet entrepreneur has figured this out as well, which leads to a wild west of travel (compare) websites.This doesn’t make booking a trip any easier if you don’t know where to look. So hereby the websites I use to book my trips.
Many airlines have cheap tickets around, you just have to know how to find it. When I want to fly I usually use one of three options: general search websites, websites that find and list special offers from all airlines, or the website of a low-cost airline directly. Before going into these three options a tip which can save hundreds of euros. When looking for flights it pays off to be slightly creative in your departure and arrival airport. By flying from an airport across the border massive savings can be made. Therefore in all three booking methods just keep your eyes on google maps to see which other options you have for your flights.
When I want to book a flight I usually start with a general search website. Websites that I frequently use are skyscanner, cheaptickets, and expedia. These websites provide an easy search option to find available flights, and allow for filters (specific times, stops etc.) These websites work if you know more or less from which country to which country you want to fly to. A function that I love in skyscanner is a possibiliy to get a price overview per month or even year. If you just know you want to go to Australia, but don’t know when this website tells you exactly which month has the lowest price.
But what to do if you just know you want to get away, but no idea where to go? Luckily there are more and more sites popping up that list amazing airline deals on a regular basis. Websites such as Ticket Spy (in Dutch) and Exbir (in German, but with a translation option) are non-affiliated websites that locate amazing deals throughout Europe and explain you how to book them. They find for example tickets to the Maldives for 300 euros return, providing if you leave tomorrow from Frankfurt and return to Brussels. These tickets require some flexibility but offer amazing deals providing if you’re up for it. Groupon is also a good website which loads of holiday offers at a massive discount. In the Netherlands vakantie veilingen is a website that offers a variety of holidays in an auction format, whereby the highest price is binding. If you know what you are prepared to pay you are able to snatch up amazing deals (I paid €100 for a hotel in a ski area in Switzerland for 2 pp for a week…).
If you would like to make a trip within Europe it is always worthwhile to check the various low-cost airlines (Ryanair, Easyjet, Wizzair (for flights mainly to and from Eastern Europe), Norwegian, Vueling (Spain oriented), Monarch (UK based) and a variety of other more local based airlines. The trick to find the cheapest offers is to look about 4-6 weeks in advance and select preferably flights on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday, as the weekend prices tend to be much higher. A thing to take into account is to check which airport you actually fly to. Many low cost airlines fly to regional airports, sometimes up to 100km from your actual destination. This adds so much time and money to your low priced ticket, that it actually might be smart to fly with a “normal” airline after all.
A tip for people under 26 is to check out youth fares. Some airlines, including SAS, offer discounted flights to young people. The advantage of these flights is that the price does not increase just before your departure date. So you can still find good deals a week before your departure. They also have an option for last-minute flights, if you want to depart the same day or the next day, for around 40 euros one way.
So, how do you find those tickets? As I tried to explain above it highly depends on what kind of trip you want to do, and where you want to go. However, looking around on various websites, playing with dates and airports might provide you with a ticket that a normal travel agency could have never given you from the start. And who knows, you might decide to go crazy and book a wild ticket from action sites, or even visit a cheap city with Ryanair, just because you stumbled upon a ticket which was so cheap you just had to take it. And those trips tend to be the best ones to make!