We know how all of you are focused on spending less than the cost of your apartment when you are staying in London because of the, frankly, insane prices the capital is notorious for. But as we have offered many saving tips in our posts aimed at your stay in London, I want to give you another opportunity to save up a bit – when travelling to London in the first place.
London’s tourists come from all kinds of places, they basically cover every part of the Globe so it would mean different things to travel from Manchester than to travel from Pekin. But still, you can keep in mind some special ‘tricks’ when deciding on your means of travel. You may be coming by bus, train or plane, however, airplane companies and tricks seem to vary the most! So we are going to talk a bit about the best companies, seasons, websites and more!
Most tourists have their preferred airlines or airlines that are best known in their countries, so they start browsing directly through their offers. If your country or the closest airport is not a huge one, you might not see the point in exploring other options since you know that only a few companies fly to London. But this is not indeed true. Search engines combine the offers possible from many companies and provide you with the fastest way to compare rates. The results might include some flights you didn’t find and mostly – flights with one or two connections which you cannot possibly construct on your own.
Expedia and Travelocity are one of the most popular such engines, but, to be honest, they sometimes omit very hot deals for unknown reasons. If you’re flying from Europe – you can use Skyscanner, it is established that this site combines the cheapest fares. And if you are looking for intercontinental flights – maybe the most reasonable option would be Kayak.
Browse through Last Minute Offers
Another option is to regularly check the latest offers. Last minute offers could prove to be a real treasure, especially if you can’t afford the luxury of planning your trip way ahead. Try out websites like Last Minute Travel, Travelzoo, Airfarewatchdog or simply lastminute.com. Just keep in mind that the dates, as can be expected, are usually fixed and you also need to decide fast and purchase once you see a deal, because in two minutes it might be gone!
Sign up for Newsletter
If you are a keen traveler or you haven’t decided on your dates yet, you can sign up for newsletter and receive the best offers without having to explicitly look for them. Well, even if you are not a regular tourist or a person that doesn’t know when they’re going to travel exactly, newsletter is still profitable – an e-mail reminding you of the vast world you haven’t explored yet and giving you cost efficient options to do so, could be a real booster!
Avoid Third-Party Services
Once you’ve found a proper deal in a search engine, I advise you to avoid purchasing directly from it. Such websites count largely on commissions and service fees, so to save up on these costs – you’d better go to the website of the company you’ve chosen and buy directly from it. Aside from the lower prices, direct purchases offer you more options for changing dates – if it turns out you cannot leave exactly on this day or that you have somehow missed your flight (which is not that uncommon with connections) the company which has sold you its ticket is far more likely to take care of the problem than some mediator that has nothing to do with the airport itself. And also, many airlines offer bonuses to their clients which you can use next time you travel to save even more!
Consider Fees for Changes
Another important ‘detail’ is the option for making changes in your reservation. If you are not sure you’re going to make it for this exact date, keep in mind that you can pay a lot for changing your mind!! It might cost slightly more to purchase a refundable ticket or one that is not fixed, but in the long run you might end up losing more money. So when choosing a deal – keep in mind that adding a refundable or change-dates option to your purchase might change the comparative cost of two tickets. Choose a few that are similar in price and compare them when you’ve added the needed complementary options.
Purchase your Tickets at the Right Time
The key to finding the best deals for a flight to London is the timing! Firstly, the cheapest flights to London, for obvious reasons, are the ones during the winter season. When visiting London in winter, you can book a flight only a month prior to the flying date and get the best price. Except for holiday dates which cost a lot more so they should be planned at least 4-5 month in advance!
Similar is the situation with trips in spring, summer or fall – you need to book your ticket around 5 months in advance. And look out for holidays (especially those you might not have in your home country) because this inevitably influences the prices.
Also, another deal-maker is the day of the week. Monday to Thursday tickets are way cheaper than tickets for the weekend, so if possible – take one more day off work and arrive earlier or depart later if you are indeed planning to visit only for a weekend.
Consider Combining Flight + Accommodation
Many websites offer double deals – book a flight and browse through hotel offers with special discounts for your stay. If you have another kind of accommodation in mind – like staying at friends, at a hostel or even a camping site – you can decline the suggestion. But if you are about to look for a hotel either way, take the time to explore your accommodation options now and compare the cost to the one offered by the company. The same could be done with rent-a-car deals – they can often cost less if you make a reservation for a car beforehand, especially if you combine it with a discount from the airline company.
Just some last few touches to your optimal flight. We talked about the cheapest rates and connection flights, but think very carefully about your priorities. A connection flight might add an enormous amount of time to your journey and strain your nerves to their fullest, so take a minute to decide between paying a little more and waiting hours at the airport.
And when you are planning your trip, you should consider the time you’re going to spend in London and how much luggage you’ll be needing – extra luggage costs a lot sometimes, let alone how much effort it is to go around with a dozen of cases…
And if you are browsing for tickets and find your treasure – buy it, now. Don’t wait to talk to your travel buddies or see if there is something better or just stall…Time is money here!
For more tips on saving up on your London vacation you can look at our other posts! Any recommendations and tips are also welcome – try out my suggestions for yourselves and tell us what you think!