Times are still tough for world travel with austerity budgets spreading and fuel/flight costs higher than ever, so consider a vacation destination that isn’t long-haul and do some thorough research.
There are obvious downsides to flying with low cost airlines so check ‘legacy’ airlines, their fares may be competitive if you take in account all the extras (food, drink, baggage+! ) and if you have problems you are much more likely to receive satisfaction.
1: Book online and pay by debit card, (Ryanair may charge for this). If using a tour operator check they have ATOL insurance coverage. According to industry research the optimum time to pre-book is 8 weeks before departure.
2: Keep check-in baggage to the minimum, preferably zero, for cheap flights and ensure the airline knows how many bags you’ll have. n. b. Ryanair will not permit musical instruments as hand baggage.
3: Eliminate any ‘world care fund’ or ‘carbon footprint’ contributions – they probably go straight into the airline’s revenue stream.
4: If you already have travel insurance make sure the airline doesn’t add it to your charge by default. If not, check offerings through a price comparison site, and consider multi-trip insurance if you take more than one holiday abroad in a year.
5: Check flight status before leaving home.
6: If you are planning to drive yourself to the airport, choose your parking area and book it well in advance to get the cheapest rate. Alternatively explore public transport options; buses are often fast and good value for couples, though not perhaps if travelling as a family.
7: Never change money at the departure airport – apart from a little emergency cash if essential. Check around before you leave for the best exchange deals; for example the UK’s Post Office offers good value. If you forget and need some cash pronto, exchanges at your destination usually give better rates, assuming you don’t arrive in the middle of the night.
8: Car hire costs differ dramatically place to place, so research will be required in this area too. If you’re planning to head for a city first then drive around the country, it will be easier and cheaper to taxi or bus into town from the airport then rent a car after you’ve finished the city sightseeing.
Check consumer rights and protection against airlines and tour operators going bust, hotel overbookings, TripAdvisor fake reviews and more on our Consumer Protection page.