14 Practical Hacks for Booking and Flying on a Budget

Raise your travel planning IQ!
by | May 02, 2017

With air travel is its ascendancy more than ever, it’s no secret that budget airlines have revolutionized this form of travel. Gone are the days of all flights being expensive and affordable only for elite clientele; budget airlines provide for everyone. In parallel with the rise of budget airlines is the rise of quick and convenient travel, and trends such as weekend breaks away and other mini-breaks throughout the year.

When you’re doing searches for flights, you’ll get a bundle of options to choose from. All flight search websites are battling it out constantly, bringing up prices and deals of all kinds. Because we are talking about budget airlines here specifically, it’s good to know some things before you go ahead and book. There can be hidden costs and add-ons you need to know about, some are painstakingly obvious whilst others are not so much. We’ll take you through them, and add in some extra bit of advice that you might need when traveling with budget airlines.

Booking Tips

Double Check What Boxes You’re Ticking

The cost of a flight might seem cheap at first, but by the time you get to the final page for booking, it may be somewhat more expensive? Check the costs such as insurance, seat fares, meals, etc. If you really want to budget it, un-tick all the ones you don’t need!

Booking at the Right Time

Booking around six to seven weeks before you fly domestically is seen to be the least expensive. If you’re booking an international flight, most of the time, it would be cheaper to book even earlier.

If You Can, Be Flexible

Being flexible — by, give or take, a few days — will drastically give you more options for prices and deals when you book your flight.

Go One Way

One-way flights are the way to go. It may be more hassle booking them, but you have the freedom to choose when you come back, and two single one ways are often cheaper than a return.

Pre-Flight Tips

Watch Your Checked Baggage

Normally most budget airline carriers are strict when it comes to checking baggage in, so keep it under the threshold. 20 kilograms is the limit in most cases, but watch out for carriers who only allow 15.

Make Use Of Your Allowed Carry On Luggage

Do you really need to even check a bag in? I mean if you’re only going for a weekend break or a quick beach holiday, there won’t be much you’ll need. Use the carry on luggage to your advantage and pack light.

Board Last So You Can Nab More Space

Although budget airlines normally maintain full flights, there will be times when the aircraft isn’t full. Don’t rush to queue up and take your seat. If you board last, you’ll have better chance at seeing what seats are empty. If you’re in luck you might even get a whole row to yourself!


Flight Tips

Bring Your Own Food

There will be a premium charge if you buy food on budget airlines, with typically cheap food item priced a lot higher than you can imagine. Bring your own snacks!

Dress Down

You’re going to be sat down for the majority of the flight, so why be all suited and booted? Get comfy and put your jogging bottoms on.

Don’t Forget a Pillow

In budget airlines, being comfortable isn’t a high priority for the carriers. You’ll be squeezed in like sardines, so if you do want a nap then take a travel pillow.

Remember to Entertain Yourself

Bring a book, magazine, laptop or iPad. If you do get a TV screen on the seat directly in front, you’ll probably have to pay to watch the movies.



Same Day Change

Depending on the airlines, changing a same day flight can set you back considerably. If it’s a route with several flights in a day, such as Manila to Bangkok, book the cheapest flight. And if the admin cost to change the flight is low (and worth it), and you want a different flight time, ring up and change the flight. You might ultimately get the new flight for cheaper than it originally stated online.

Keep Currency Local

For international flights, keep the currency local when you book. Changing currencies when booking flights can make them in total more expensive.

Clear Cookies

Your browsing history follows you like a gloomy cloud, so make sure you clear your cookies and history. In doing so, any potential tracks of your previous searches for flights will be erased, meaning websites can’t hike up the price based on your regular behavior and expected further use.

Got more tips? Post them in the comments!


Tommy Walker originates from Northeast England. He began his journey on the road back in 2012 throughout Asia, Oceania and Latin America. Now, over 4 years in, he is a freelance travel writer and content marketing specialist. Tommy has visited the Philippines twice and especially raves about Banaue. He has attended Sinulog festival, swum with Whalesharks and even DJ’d in Boracay!He was featured in the Business Insider, BBC and Choose Philippines. Tommy goes by his own motto “every new place is a good place.”If you don’t see Tommy focused doing Hot Yoga, trailing through rainforests, ducking into the ocean or eating local street food, you’ll see him at a small bar drinking what the locals drink!

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