How to book cheap flights even when the sales are over

As the UK gears up for the madness that is the January sales, you may well be anticipating great-value holiday deals and cheaper than cheap flights on the horizon.

When it comes to travel, it can be hard to spot whether or not something is a genuinely good offer. But there are tricks you can use year-round to bag a bargain on flights.

Here are five tips from TravelSupermarket to ensure you get the best price whenever you book your next trip.

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Master the art of codesharing

Codesharing is when two airlines sell tickets for the same flight, but actually only one carrier flies that particular route. 

This means there are often two prices for the same flight – and most of the time one is cheaper than the other. This is why it’s important to double check the prices of other providers before committing to purchase a flight. Comparison websites can help with comparing options.

This may seem like a logistical nightmare, but if you are able to be flexible there can be significant savings that come with departing from an alternative destination. 

This works for both long and short-haul flights. For example, if you live in the north-west of England, why not price up flights departing from Manchester, Liverpool and even Leeds, Birmingham or the East Midlands to see if an hour or two’s drive could save a worthwhile amount of money? Just factor in the cost of any additional travel and parking when budgeting. 

Layovers can halve costs

Layovers may not be part of your plan and you may think them a waste of time, but they can help you save hundreds on flights – and you may even get to experience a new city.

This is especially handy when looking to fly long-haul – sometimes a journey needs breaking up anyway. An 18-hour flight can get pretty gruelling, so a layover gives time to regroup and get in some extra sightseeing. ​

Travel off-peak

Flight prices are often dictated by supply and demand – naturally there are peaks when people need or want to travel and an accompanying influx in volume: for example, school and bank holidays. 

If the popularity of a flight increases, it means there is a demand for it, so prices increase too. 

Individual destinations will also have their peak weeks and months. If you are able to travel outside of these times you’ll secure a significantly better deal – and also likely benefit from the resort or city you’re visiting being less crowded. 

Rethink the extras

Extras are often added towards the end of the process when booking a flight, so it’s key to consider in advance which elements are essential to you and any associated costs. For example, are there charges to reserve seats? Is your meal included in the flight price? Also, be sure to check your baggage allowance and any charges for taking additional weight. 

These small added extras can often bump the price up of your flight, so you need to be savvy and one step ahead. Charges can also increase if added last minute at the airport, so be sure to book in advance.  

If you physically can’t go without these added extras, you should always factor them into your budget and compare your options to ensure you’re getting the most for your money.

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