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Every year, Easter sees a British getaway, with millions of us embarking on domestic getaways and trips to sunny shores.
It is one of the busiest travel periods of the year. But the big problem for those traveling abroad is the skyrocketing prices of flights.
Airfares on some routes this Easter are up to six times more expensive than just a week after the holiday period, leaving those who have not been able to book until the last minute with big losses.
Our study of popular Easter routes revealed that British Airways return tickets to Lanzarote in the Canary Islands cost £938 when traveling for a week departing on Good Friday. However, a week after the school holidays ended, the same route was on sale for just £152 return.
It is a phenomenon that is repeated throughout the year: prices rise at peak times, during the summer holidays, around Christmas, as well as at Easter and during holiday weekends.
So can you avoid it? The answer is: yes, if you are smart.
Here we’ve compiled some of the best tips for saving your hard-earned money during busy periods.
The golden sands of Kaputas, Türkiye, are popular for school holidays
FOLLOW ‘RATE TRACKERS’
If you know exactly where you want to go and when, “track” the fares on the route you’re watching via Google Flights or Skyscanner.net. The latter has a custom alerts section; see the “Find the best flight fares with Skyscanner price alerts” page. It is possible to configure more than one.
Meanwhile, Google Flights, which is a great place to check the cost of fares on a route via its ‘date grids’ and ‘price charts’, also lets you enter specific dates of intended travel and receive alerts when new low rates are published. released.
Kayak.co.uk is another option, with a ‘flexible dates’ feature that helps reduce prices by searching within a three-day range of your preferred time.
SIGN UP FOR SALE ALERTS
Airlines run regular ticket sales and big savings can be made by signing up for online “alerts.” With British Airways, this can be done by joining their Executive Club for free at ba.com. You will then receive emails when regular ticket sales begin, usually around May, September and December.
Another way to check BA’s best prices is at ba.com/en-gb/offers/sale, which lists last minute deals and best flight prices, plus take a look at their ‘Price Finder’ page low’.
Save on trips to the fortified city of Valletta, Malta, with our handy tips
Easyjet has a similar low fare finder in its ‘Last Minute Deals’ section of easyjet.com. You can also sign up for alerts by downloading the Easyjet app. The same goes for the Ryanair app and the ‘Why aren’t you subscribed yet?’ page on ryanair.com.
Jet2.com has an equivalent system with messages offering the latest deals and highlighting sales sent through their app. There is also a helpful “Amazing Deal and Great Availability” page on Jet2.com.
Get off the beaten path
Avoiding tourist honeypots can be beneficial when booking cheap flights. Instead of Prague, consider Brno for a cheap weekend in the Czech Republic. Instead of Rome or Venice in Italy, how about Bari in Puglia or Bologna in the Italian region of Emilia-Romagna?
Flight directory website Skyscanner.net this week highlighted cheap flights over the Easter period to Luxembourg (from £50 return from Stansted with Ryanair) and Oslo (from £133 return from Manchester, also with Ryanair) . Tempting prices for Zadar in Croatia, Eindhoven in the Netherlands and Limoges in France.
Try not to travel from Saturday to Saturday. Big savings can be had for weekday and weekday travelers, especially for families during the summer holidays. Since the pandemic, employers have become much more flexible about when annual leave is taken, and no longer always expect it to be in blocks from Monday to Friday. See if you can take weeks off starting midweek and you’ll surely benefit from lower rates.
Tuesday is said to be the cheapest day for domestic flights, while Wednesday and Thursday offer the best value for money for international travel, with savings of up to a fifth.
GO FOR SIX NIGHTS, NOT SEVEN
It may seem counterintuitive to lose some of your precious vacations; However, missing a day can result in significant savings – money you can then spend on more nice meals or fun activities when you get there. “Staying just one day less can make a difference to the price,” says Richard Sinclair of travel agency SNO.co.uk, a site specializing in ski holidays. “And if you combine searching for a six-night trip with also searching for flights that depart mid-week, that could lead to bigger savings.”
It’s worth thinking ahead if you’re hoping to take the kids for a pool break.
THINK WELL AHEAD
The later you book, the more money you are likely to save. Forget the myth about what time of day or day of week you should book – the top advice from aviation experts is to simply book as far in advance as possible.
Ultimately, the price of flights depends on supply and demand. If there is demand on certain dates, such as during Easter, they will sell out faster and airline prices will increase as fewer seats become available.
BEWARE OF ‘ERROR RATES’
It sounds extraordinary, but sometimes airlines make big mistakes with ticket prices; A famous example is when United Airlines once put a £4,000 business class fare from London to New York on sale for £59, causing a stampede of bookings.
Cases of ‘error fees’ (which must be honored once purchased) may not always be as striking as this one, but they arise regularly, in most cases being attributed to human error. In the UK, Jack’s Flight Club is keeping an eye out for them – you can sign up for alerts at Jacksflightclub.com, which will also notify you of great airline deals that aren’t bugs. Recent return fares it has spotted include £588 return from London to Auckland and Edinburgh to New York from £366 return.
Another option is to check out US-based Going.com, which regularly offers savings of up to 40-90% on fees.
CHEAP FLIGHT GURUS
Jack’s Flight Club is just one of a growing number of useful websites offering tempting flight prices. Sign up for free or just see what they have to offer. For example, Momondo.co.uk has a simple search engine that compiles offers from other websites such as Mytrip.com, Flightnetwork.com, Gotogate.com, Edreams.co.uk and Traveljunction.co.uk.
Meanwhile, Hopper.com offers a good search function. Return flights from London to Boston were costing from £460 with JetBlue in April, when we looked.
TRY A TRAVEL AGENT
All that said (and it might seem almost old-fashioned to suggest this), traditional travel agencies can often offer advantages over online bookings. Justin Penny, head of aviation at Flightcentre.co.uk, says this is because online booking sites don’t always show all fares. “Some airfares have reservation criteria, meaning they can only be booked offline,” he says. ‘So my advice would be to contact a reputable agent directly; They are true travel experts and book holidays by the hour.’
BOOK A PACKAGE
And finally… you may discover cheap flights and book them quickly, but be careful: you may then find that sky-high hotel costs cancel out the savings. This is where booking a package can keep prices low. Chris Webber, director of holidays and offers at TravelSupermarket.com, says: “Tour operators such as TUI, Jet2 and easyJet often use their own flights in their holiday packages, so it can be more cost effective to book them; also Get a franchise of checked luggage and often a transfer included.