A long-haul flight can have a few definitions, but it’s generally seen as being between 6 and 12 hours long. If you want to travel further than the countries closest to you, you’re probably going to have to take a long-haul flight. You might be travelling from Australia to Europe, from Europe to East Asia, or from the US to Africa. Wherever you’re flying to and from, there is one thing that everyone knows about long-haul flights: they’re expensive. It’s to be expected when you’re going to be spending hours and hours on a plain, and perhaps even taking more than one flight. But you don’t want them to stop you seeing the world because they cost so much. You can save money on long-haul travel, and here are a few ways to do it.
Go In the Off-season
It’s more expensive to travel when everyone else is travelling. If you want to take your trip during the most popular times, you’re going to end up paying more. When these times are can vary by country. First, you need to consider the weather, and what type of weather people travel there for. Sometimes they’re looking for sunshine, but people also go to places seeking out snow or even rainy seasons.
Then you have to think about holidays, which can require considering both your departure and destination locations. Some research into local holidays where you’re going could be necessary. There could be other reasons people travel during certain times too. For example, northern destinations are often very popular during the times when it’s possible to see the Northern Lights. If you travel during less popular times, it might mean missing out on some things, but it could save you a lot of money.
Pick Cheaper Destinations
Before you start looking at flights, it’s also worth thinking about where you want to go. Your trip isn’t all about how you get there, even if the flights will be a larger part of your budget. If you choose your destination based on how expensive it is to book accommodation, buy food, and do other things while you’re there, you could save yourself some cash. For example, maybe you’re planning a trip around Europe. You’ll spend a lot more money in Sweden than you will in Romania. It’s important to take this into account when you’re planning a long-haul trip.
Compare Flights for the Best Deals
Getting the best price for your flight is essential if you want to make long-haul travel cheaper. Being able to compare available flights is extremely helpful, but there are so many tools available and so many different variables that it can be hard not to get confused. One of the best tools to use is Google Flights, which gives you lots of filters and functions to narrow down your search and compare available flights. Here’s a useful guide that tells you how to get started with using it and how it can help you. You can also use tools like Kayak so you can find out the best time to book your flights. Sometimes, it’s months before you fly, and sometimes it could be mere weeks.
Use Airline Miles and Rewards
Another way to lower the price of your long-haul flights is to use any airline points or rewards you might have. If you fly a lot, you can collect them by being a member of an airline’s rewards programme. But even if you don’t fly that frequently, you might be able to collect some points you can use when you do travel. For example, some airlines offer credit cards that give you points when you spend with them. There are other ways to collect airline miles through rewards programmes or performing tasks online, from buying things to completing surveys or even entering competitions.
Check Exchange Rates
Another cost to consider before you book a long-haul trip is the currency you’ll be spending. You might get some cash exchanged before you go, take out traveller’s cheques, or use your card when you arrive. Whatever you decide to do, you want to make sure you get a good deal on the exchange rate. However, this can be a little tricky, as you can’t always predict what’s going to happen. Getting your travel money in advance can help, as you can exchange your money while the rate is good instead of risking getting less value for your cash when you arrive at your destination.
Still thinking about how you can save on your flights? Here’s another way you can do it: look out for airlines using code-sharing. You’ve probably noticed code-sharing flights before but not really thought about what they are. It’s basically when two airlines sell seats on the same plane, running the flight together. When they do this, they often offer different prices for the same flights. You can tell if a flight has seats offered by more than one airline in a couple of ways. When you search for flights, one might say that it’s being operated by another airline. You can also check flight times and the flight number to see if two different airlines match up.
Enjoy a Layover
Long-haul flights can take it out of you. While transferring from one flight to another can leave you feeling exhausted, taking a bit longer for a layover can give you time to refresh. It can also make things cheaper. For example, both Icelandair and WOW Air offer flights from mainland Europe to the US via Iceland. You can even choose to stop for a few nights in Iceland before flying to your final destination. You have a chance to see a bit more while you’re travelling, or at least to catch up on sleep in a hotel for a night or two. Even just a transfer window of a couple of hours could save you money.
Try a Package Deal
Package deals can sometimes have a bad reputation, but they can often save you a lot of money. And they aren’t all cheap resort holidays, either. You can save on luxury travel if you know where to find the right deals. A package could simply include your flights and a hotel. Or you can book flights, accommodation, car hire, and maybe even choose an all-inclusive resort with meals and drinks included in the price. You can save a lot of money if you find the right deal, but you need to consider your destination, and what’s available that might suit you.
Be Careful with Your Phone
There are some extra costs you need to watch out for while you’re travelling. Staying connected has become more and more important to travellers. But you need to make sure you’re not doing it at great expense to yourself. Using your phone while you’re abroad can cost a lot, especially when you’re visiting long-haul destinations. You might be able to get a good deal on using your phone overseas from your provider. However, there are other options you can consider, such as getting a SIM card when you arrive at your destination. You can also seek out free WiFi, so you don’t have to pay to use the internet.
Set Your Travel Style to the Destination
When you’re travelling, make sure you match your travel style to the place you’re visiting. If it’s a more expensive country, you probably don’t want to take taxis everywhere. But there could be a very affordable public transport network. If eating out is expensive, it might be better to rent an apartment or stay in a hostel or hotel where you have the use of a kitchen. If it’s expensive to go on tours, organise your own things to do instead. In some countries, you’ll be able to do more on a smaller budget, but sometimes you have to rein yourself in.
Use Domestic Airlines to Travel Internally
If you’re planning to travel around a country by plane, you might be better off leaving internal flights until you get there. You can often find better deals once you’re in the country, whether you buy online, at the airport or at a travel centre or travel agent. Domestic airlines can often offer a cheaper deal on the same internal flights that international airlines might offer. You can also find domestic airlines that work in partnership with international ones.
Take Advantage of Free Offers and Bonus Buys
There are lots of times when you can get free or cheap things when you’re travelling, depending on which country you’re in. In lots of Asian countries, you might be able to get free nights for your accommodation. Many places offer buy one get one free on your stay so you can benefit most by staying an even number of nights. There are other times when you might be able to secure free or cheap meals, free transport, and other bonuses.
Long-haul travel doesn’t have to mean expensive travel. If you plan everything carefully, you could spend less than if you go somewhere closer to you.