How To Fly For *Basically* FREE (In Europe Especially)
Updated: Jul 7, 2021
HOW TO FLY FOR *BASICALLY* FREE - IN EUROPE ESPECIALLY
As 4th of July weekend sizzles to a stop with the final sparkle of a stray and delayed firework, you, like me, may be wondering:
Am I weird for feeling like I need a vacation from my vacation??
Followed by some daydreaming about nibbling on quaint, chocolate-coated biscottis while rounding a corner on the cobblestone streets of the coastal, Italian city of Amalfi, already strategizing who I could convince to go with me..
Oh yeah! I’m kinda-sorta broke.
(Talk about a buzzkill.)
Which then led me down the traveling-for-cheap rabbit hole, as I reminisced on the days of my profound penny-pinching and the priceless memories that were born from it.
So here’s me, trying to convince you to take a trip with me while promising to teach you how to fly for *basically* free, in Europe especially:
Oh! And definitely don’t stop scrolling until the “Secure Your Search” section in order to ensure you’re not making the most common, cash-sacrificing mistake I see most people make when it comes to cheap flights!
PLAN IN ADVANCE
Of course, every cheap-flight tip-list has to start with the obvious:
Plan in advance!
Or- you can YOLO and not (which I’ve absolutely done too), but buying in advance is where you’re really going to see the big savings.
Because spontaneity is sexy, but so is having actual, tangible money to spend when you arrive at your location. ;)
*Pro tip: Try and pick dates that are cheaper for traveling. In general, these are going to be your Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays..non-holidays..and seasonal off-seasons.
SCAN THE SKY
Okay not literally, but internetally, you feel me?
Skyscanner is hands down the best site for cheap flights- especially if Europe is on your list.
When I studied abroad in Spain back in 2017, Skyscanner was my saving grace, and helped me travel to thirteen countries on a crappy, can-barely-cough-up-cash-for-avocado-on-my-sandwhich, college budget.
Think tickets from Spain to Portugal, or the UK to Amsterdam, for 10 bucks status!
(Speaking of cheap European travel specifically, Ryanair is an airline that will leave you open-mouthed with it’s incredible deals, and one I would highly recommend for my fellow budget-conscious babes - *as long as you don’t get anxious or claustrophobic on mini-planes*!)
Another thing I love about Skyscanner is -- if you’re indeed planning in advance -- you can set a price alert and get notified if and when prices drop or rise.
*Pro tip: Be sure to check baggage fees before purchasing your ticket..These can totally transform the price of your flight and influence what airline you end up going with!
While we’re on the note of hidden fees, one more thing:
Don’t EVER purchase tickets in pairs!
Allow me to explain:
When living in Spain, Spence (my bf) was studying abroad in a city close to me and we traveled together often, which was when I noticed that buying our tickets together (two at a time) was an entirely different price than buying them separately (one at a time).
And sure enough, my research revealed that when you shop for multiple seats at once, airlines buff their prices up.
Why the different prices for single vs. multiple tickets, even if they’re for the same exact flight?
You can read an extended explanation of the reasoning in this USA Today article right here, and then come back for what I believe to be today’s most valuable (and oft overlooked!) travel-saving hack:
SECURE YOUR SEARCH
Last, but not even a little bit least, it’s absolutely vital that you secure your search when seeking out cheap flight seats.
Have you ever noticed how you have to agree to a little pop-up thing called “cookies” when exploring flight sites on the world-wide web?
Well, those “cookies” contain data that tracks your search history (among other things), which - for you - most importantly means:
These cookies stalk your search engines so they can jack up the price for the ticket, dates and location your good ol’ Googling reveals you are interested in purchasing.
But don’t worry - I’ve got a solution to this plight!
Here’s what you need to do the next time you’re seeking out REALLY cheap tickets:
Put cookies on your hit list, and each and every time you search for flights, follow the simple steps in this short article to clear the cache in your web browser!
Clearing your cache will ensure that your search history is kept secret, and will save you from being supercharged based on your internet requests!
Not so sure about this cookies ish? Especially if they’re not ooey, gooey and chocolate chip?
Trust me and try it!
Search for flights with your cookies ON for a few days first, and then see how that price fluctuates once you clear them -- it’s surriously somethin’!
SLIDE INTO SAVING
Once you’ve accomplished everything listed above, you’re ready to BUY, baby!
But before you start sipping Mai Tais in celebration, take one final tip into your awareness:
From my research and personal experience, I’ve found Tuesdays and Wednesdays are typically the cheapest days to buy, so - once the price is right and one I like - I usually set an alarm for the upcoming Tuesday/Wednesday and buy my ticket then, which it's an option I would highly recommend!
And now that we’ve got through the travel tips on today’s ticket, tell me-
Where should we go next?!
P.S. Want to learn more about how to travel for cheap? Drop a note or extend an exclamation (!) in the comments below to share your enthusiasm - I would love to keep your input in mind as I create future content! <3