Save money: Find cheap flights

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Searching for cheap airline tickets can save you hundreds of euros if you use the right platforms and know a few basic things. Here are twelve tips for your next trip.

Since I started Fascinating Southeast Asia in May 2013, the topic of flights has been one of my main topics. I sat in front of the screen for days to get an overview of all regional airlines and their connections. This gave rise to many guides that will help you keep an overview. Questions like:

  • Which airlines can book the cheapest domestic flights in Thailand , Myanmar , Malaysia , Cambodia or Vietnam ?
  • Which airports are close to tourist destinations?
  • And how do you best get from there to neighboring countries in Southeast Asia?

But you can not only save a lot of money with regional connections. The differences are considerable, especially on long-haul routes. So on my last trip to Thailand I met a couple from Hamburg, who had paid around 200 euros more for the flight with almost the same travel dates. Per person is understood. And for my mother, too, I was able to save another 80 euros on her last trip to Sri Lanka - even though the travel agency had told her that the price couldn't be beat.

Tips for cheap flights to Thailand and Southeast Asia

Below I have summarized my experience, which I have gained as a frequent flyer in the past twelve years, in 12 tips:

I found most of my previously booked flights through the Skyscanner portal. It not only compares the offers of the airlines with one another, but also queries the prices of other travel portals (e.g. Opodo, eBooker, flight shop). The difference to many others: Skyscanner does not sell the tickets itself, instead always forwards them to the seller (airline or portal) and does not charge any fees itself. It was a long time ago that I found a ticket somewhere else that was a) cheaper and b) really could be bought. The only alternative that I also use more often is Momondo .

If the price of the airline and travel portal is the same, I would always book through the airline. This usually makes it easier in the event of problems (rebooking / cancellation).

There are still many dubious providers in the flight search engine market. The supposed bargain may not be so cheap anymore if you have to pay sudden horrendous sums for paying with a credit card or taking luggage with you.

If you have planning security, you should also book early. The closer the travel date is, the more expensive the flights will generally be. And last minute is more for gamers and is rarely worthwhile, especially on long-haul flights to Southeast Asia. About two months before departure is considered one of the best times on the long haul.

For appointments at the beginning and end of the high season, it is better to book earlier. However, keep in mind that travel plans and personal situations can change. If you set your itinerary eight months in advance, you are bound to the flight and can only cancel or rebook for a fee.

The Southeast Asian low-cost airlines have real bargains for early bookers. There are domestic flights from 20 euros.

Especially in winter, many Europeans are drawn to Southeast Asia. At the beginning of the winter vacation, the flights are really expensive. The same applies to a return flight on the first or second weekend in January. It also gets more expensive in the autumn and summer holidays.

If you can only travel during the holidays due to your professional situation or the school attendance of your children, you should take care of your flight tickets early and also follow the tips below.

Incidentally, flights are also more expensive for holidays and long weekends. Find out more about traditional holidays in the countries you want to travel to. In the past, quite a few tourists had to be surprised to learn that all hotels, buses and trains were suddenly booked up around Chinese New Year, Songkran or the Vietnamese Tet Festival, and that only expensive flights were left.

Even without vacations and public holidays, you shouldn't necessarily commit yourself to certain days when choosing your travel date. A day earlier or later can quickly make a difference of well over 100 euros. This is also due to the fact that there are particularly popular flight days, for example Friday and Sunday. One reason for this is that many employers want their employees to take the vacation on a weekly basis. Therefore, try to arrange an individual solution for your vacation. Questions don't cost anything, but a flight on a Sunday usually costs a lot more. If possible: Check flight prices before submitting your vacation request.

A few years ago, it was tedious to compare different flight dates because you had to search again and again. Today it's easy on sites like Skyscanner . For example, you can click on "whole month" or "whole year" when you arrive. You will then receive a bar chart as a result and immediately see which days the flights are cheapest.

Of course, what applies to the dates also applies to the choice of airports. For example, at Skyscanner you can enter “Germany” as the departure location and “Bangkok” as the destination. Then you choose which airports are suitable for you and can compare the prices without having to re-enter everything.

With regard to the destination airport, it doesn't hurt to take a look at the map. For example, if you want to go to Krabi , a flight from Europe to Phuket with a subsequent bus ride can be cheaper than a flight to Bangkok with the following domestic flight.

Also note that there is a very cheap and well-developed network of regional flight connections in Southeast Asia. In addition to Bangkok , the hubs are Kuala Lumpur and Singapore . Accordingly, it is sometimes worthwhile to check connections to these two capitals and, if necessary, to fly from there to a destination with a cheap airline.

All in all: put time, effort and costs in a reasonable ratio. Is it worth saving € 50 for a flight from Frankfurt instead of Munich, but spending hours on the train? And then the stress when the train is late or you're stuck in traffic?

Years ago I booked a return flight from Düsseldorf to India very early for 400 euros. A little later it turned out that I decided to travel on to Thailand afterwards and not to return to Germany. I called the airline and asked what it would do if I canceled the return flight. The answer: almost nothing. Then it would be a one-way flight and it would cost similarly now.

In general, one-way flights are significantly more expensive than booking outward and return journeys at the same time. Therefore, book both together if you have no other plans.

It becomes interesting if you want to fly back from another airport. For example, because you want to start your vacation in Bangkok and end it in Singapore. Or you have planned the 1,600 kilometers from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City as your route.

This is where the Momondo flight search engine comes into play. There you can select the open-jaw flight option directly on the home page and, for example, query “Berlin - Bangkok” and “Singapore - Berlin” in one offer. There is also the possibility to add further stops (here in the test report I explain how this works).

In general, a fork flight is always expensive than a classic return flight, but you can save a lot of money and valuable time on site if you don't have to go back to the arrival airport.

Update: Since June 2015, Skyscanner has also offered the search for fork flights.

Whether Cebu Air Pacific in the Philippines, Air Asia from Malaysia or Tiger Air from Singapore, the list of regional airlines is long and the network is well developed. You can book flights here significantly cheaper than in Europe, partly postponed from 20 euros.

Not all flight search engines also have all airlines in their program. So I started to collect everything worth knowing about the individual countries:

There you will not only find out which airlines are available in the countries and which route there are, but also which tourist destinations are close to the airport.

At the end of a booking process, you are often advised to take out travel cancellation insurance. But is it really worth it? I have flown so many times and have never had to cancel a flight due to illness. And if it should happen in the future, it is still cheaper for me than if I had always booked these expensive additional packages over the years.

Also be careful about airlines' bonus miles programs. Clear free flights sound tempting. But work out how many miles you need and what you really get in the end. With a cheaper flight you can save now and immediately. If you choose a slightly more expensive option because of the miles, you should have checked whether it is really worth it for you.

Airlines always have great offers in their program, but only for a limited time and in limited numbers. In order not to miss these specials, you can follow the airlines on Facebook and Twitter, for example, or subscribe to their newsletter.

There are also a lot of websites that do this search for you, from myDealZ to holiday pirates. Other offers such as Exbir are looking for bargains as well as error fees. These are connections that are very cheap for a very short time due to a calculation error by the airline.

You can subscribe to such bargain sites with a feed reader such as Feedly, for example, and conveniently check once a day whether there is a cool offer.

In the event of massive delays, you have the right to compensation or reimbursement not only for the train, but also for airlines. However, it is difficult to enforce this claim. For some years now, commercial providers have been available to help you deal with the airline. For this they collect a commission when compensation has been paid. The advantage: There are no legal fees for you.

You may have to drive your car to the airport because it's too far away for a taxi and public transport to get around. If no one from the Freundeskreis can drive you or you, you need a parking space to park your own car for the duration of your trip. There are usually no or hardly any free parking spaces near the airport, which are safe and where there is no risk that your car will be towed. When choosing a paid offer, you can save money if you choose the right parking garage, because the prices of the different providers differ considerably in some cases. There are now comparison portals for parking spaces at the airport , where you can check the costs in advance. This offer is currently available for the airports in Frankfurt, Düsseldorf, Cologne, Munich and Amsterdam.

Conclusion on cheap airline tickets

With the right knowledge, you can save a lot of money when booking a flight. The price differences for the tickets are sometimes several hundred euros. However, you shouldn't make science out of it either. If you follow all the tips mentioned here and maybe try out two of your own ideas, then it is basically enough. You can test ten more search engines and a handful of airlines hoping to save 10 euros somewhere, but also consider the time that all of this costs you.

What are your tips on airline tickets?

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