Everyone thinks they have cracked this one, but actually it really is a mystery. Often you go to book a flight and suddenly it is twice the price, only an hour later. You go direct to the airlines page & to a travel agent, the price difference can be hundreds of pounds. And then there is the 52 or 54 day rule that people seem to be talking about. If you book 54 days ahead, you will get the best price, they say. But personally, I always book as soon as flights become available.
I have found certain tricks that have worked for us, as a family. I have managed to pick return flights to Fez for £40 return. Last October half term, our flights came in at £85 return. I don’t make any promises they will work for you, but I hope by sharing at least someone might benefit.
1. Book as early as you can: There might be the odd occasion that you can bag a last minute bargain in the School Holidays. These bargains tend to be for package holidays that have not all been sold. But if you are a larger family than it is unlikely you will bag that bargain. Better to book your flights well ahead.
So that October flight went up to £220 per person a week before we travelled. Our Easter Mombasa flights went up from £452 return to £1200 return. Budget Airline or one of the major airlines, it really seems the best bet is to book your flights early.
Sign up to airline newsletters. That way you can get ahead on flight release dates. What are flight release dates? These are when airlines release their schedule for the upcoming 6 -12 months. Booking on release date is your best chance of getting a good deal because the algorithm (the mastermind software behind these airlines’ websites) tend to hike the price up as soon as someone books.
2. Seek some October Sunshine: October half terms are a great time to get away. They are generally cheaper than Summer holidays & it still warm in Morocco at that time of year. Half terms tend to be staggered across the country. So if you don’t mind doing a little bit of travelling ahead of your flight, an airport further away may offer a better flight deal. Please check your school holiday dates before booking.
Just remember to factor in the time to get to the airport & the costs. A 6 am flight might mean leaving home at 1 am in the morning, with sleepy & grumpy kids. The time I went to Fez, the flights for me & my little one cost only £60 return, but it cost me £120 to get to and from the airport. There were no return trains or coaches after midnight, when we landed. So I had to book a taxi back.
3. Consider a Shorter Break: It can be cheaper to book 5 nights rather than the standard 7 nights, depending on the budget airline. I have literally saved £900 by not booking those extra two nights. It is worth considering. Is a shorter break, better than no break at all?
4. Try a Twin Destination Break: There are 3 reasons to consider this. Firstly, it can be cheaper. Secondly, it is more exciting. Thirdly, it can help you avoid crazy 6am departures with kids in tow. One time, we flew with Easyjet into Essaouira & back with RyanAir from Marrakech. Twin destinations with twin airlines, with our twins in tow! Sometimes, a travel agent might book you to land in Essaouira for example, then transfer by car to Agadir. Ask for a couple of days in Essaouira, so your family can get the experience of two destinations.
5. Wait till Tuesday to Book
The algorithm seems to push prices up based on the number of searches. Over the weekend, people have more time to dream about a holiday and more time to search for flights too. By Tuesday, I’ve often found the price has dropped. One set of flights dropped from £2500 to £600. Now that is a SAVING !
And Avoid Adding on the “Extras”:
Sometimes you think you’ve got a really good deal but when you go to add hold luggage or meals, the price goes up. Some airlines like Easyjet have handy options like their hands-free upgrade & there’s nothing stopping you from taking a packed lunch on the plane ! As long as it’s not liquid like soup, sandwiches, pasties, fruits are all perfectly OK to take & eat on the plane. Do note that some countries have restrictions around what can be brought into the country, so be aware of that for when you land.
Don’t know how to search for flights, or where to even begin ?
I use Skyscanner. It’s relatively straight forward. If you’re flexible on your dates, you can search by the “Cheapest Month” or by a whole month. You can also search for all UK for your departure airport or all destination airports at the country you want to go to.
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Disclaimer: I am not a travel agent. I am just a well travelled mother, who wants to share what I have found works with others. The content of this post is not professional travel advice. If you decide to use the content of this post, it is entirely at your own risk.