How to get the best Flight deals
So right now going through a tour operator and booking a good old fashioned package holiday is still the most common way to secure your two weeks of Sun, Sea and Sangria, but is this trend changing?, can you get a better deal going it alone?. More and more people are opting for the "independent traveller" option.
Basically booking flights and accommodation separately so you can search for the best deals and save some money, but can you really saving money or are the airlines catching on and pushing up prices to further line their pockets?. Well lets start by talking about the cookies that websites use to streamline your browsing. Do the airlines spy on our searches and put the price up before we book?, I have often thought this myself and with the new GDPR regulations we do allow websites to store our browser history, so basically they know what flights we are looking for, and yes there are instances where the flight prices have risen by the time you go back to book. But this is just a coincidence? im sure it is. I book flights all the time and can book anything from 10 flights per year and have done for many years. My personal experience is that the airlines do put up prices, but this is because they know its a popular flight, simple supply and demand. One of my other observations has been that when there are just a few seats left on a flight the price can rocket, you would think that if it was the last couple of seats the airline would be thinking "well lets just discount these to fill up the flight", NO, thats not how it happens, Im sure that back in the day this was the standard but when we got wise to this and Last Minute bookings became the holy grail travellers were all looking for the airlines changed their strategy, early bookers now get the deals and this helps the airlines fill up flights so not get left with half empty planes days before the flight as everyones waiting for the bargain price drop!, this was roulette for the airlines and cost them dearly over the years.
Im not saying you cant get a good deal closer to the time of departure because you can and there are deals to be had but you have to be flexible, there are peak times that appeal to lots of people for lots of reasons and off peak times are where the bargains can be snapped up if you know where to look and are flexible. Below are a few places to look for the best flights, but notice they are mostly direct with the airline, comparison websites are not always the best way to go when booking flights or accommodation, "just my personal opinion".
OK so Ryanair as much as we hate the way they work they do provide a very simple service that can have really good deals, they do have some very clever ways to push you into spending more money than you really need to but I will do a separate blog on the pitfalls of booking direct another time. JET2 have a much more user-friendly mobile app and the price you see on the page is what you pay, hand luggage is included and you wont get too confused with loads of additional options before you have paid, and then we have Condor, or to give it its real name Thomas Cook Airlines, yep, for those of you that dont know Condor is Thomas Cook, but they do generally have much better flight only prices you might not find at Thomas Cook. Dont quote me on this but I was once told that Condor sells seats that Thomas Cook haven't sold yet at a discounted rate closer to the departure dates. So that brings us to a comparison site you will all know, Skyscanner, personally I love Skyscanner, I dont book via it but i do search using their app as it is such a quick and easy way to see whats available at a glance, and if you click on the chart icon it gives you a really nice graph with the prices. See below.
If you have secured you flights and are now ready to look for a place to stay then I recommend Air BnB, this is just one of many companies offering the independent traveler accommodation options but it has a really nice App that puts you in touch with the owners directly and as far a peace of mind goes its a real winner in my opinion. More and more owners are signing up with Air BnB as they have very competitive rates for owners and the bookings have to have the owners confirmation before you pay. There is a great mix of property to choose from, from Tents, Tree Houses to Luxury Villas and the booking process couldn't be simpler, but all this said and done are we truly ready to ditch the great old institution that is the Package Holiday?. There is no doubt it does have its place in the market and will for years to come as its a great option for young families, and hotels just wouldn't be the same without the hard working and generally underpaid Holiday Reps on hand to help us make the most of our two weeks away. I think its fair to say that there has been a massive change in how we holiday now and it will be interesting to see what the future holds for tour operators but for now at least they are still very popular and do have the occasional special offers that just cant be topped by booking independently.