Travel Bloggers Share: How to Find Cheap Flights and Affordable Accommodation

how to find cheap flights and affordable accommodation

Some people think that you need to robe a bank or to save for years in order to afford to travel to your dream destinations. The truth is that travelling has never been more affordable! Low-cost airlines, shared economy, peer-to-peer online platforms create a revolution in the travel industry. And the best thing about this is the decrease in prices, more accessible destinations and greater freedom of booking options.

As many of you, I am also curious how people afford to travel. So we asked 11 travel bloggers to share their top tips with us and help us travel more and better. The first part of the series tells us how to find cheap flights and affordable accommodaiton – two of the biggest expenses when travelling. Let’s find out!

1. What is your top platform/website for finding cheap flight?

When we bought our first flight tickets three years ago for our Paris trip, we thought we scored a pretty good deal – 440 Euros two-way tickets for two. We didn’t realize that his is actually not a good price at all! If we knew better, we would go on 3 other trips for the same price. That’s why it’s important to know where to look for cheaper flights and how to chose the best option. Here are some tips for that:

Laura, Travelling Weasels: 

Skyscanner for sure, I love how you can be flexible with the date you’re choosing and the destination – or even put in ‘everywhere’ to find the cheapest place to fly to from your home country!

Sianna, EoStories:

I use Skyscanner for begin my search and get an overall idea of the prices and the companies I can use for my destination. They have a map with flights, an option to search according to your budget and even give you the chance to search anywhere around the world by cheapest tickets. Then I take a look at specific flight carriers and usually book directly at their websites.

Heather, Conversant Traveller: 

Skyscanner. We especially love the ‘search everywhere’ feature, great if you don’t know where you want to go!

Rossi, Rossi Writes:

The websites and the apps of the low cost airlines. Following them on social media and being subscribed to their newsletters are also great ways to learn about any discounts and promotions they may be offering throughout the year.

Claudia, My Adventures Across the World: 

I actually have a travel agent. Despite the millions of posts travel bloggers write about travel hacks and how to find cheap flights, it is a fact that travel agencies have the most powerful softwares (Amadeus, Galileo, etc) to search for the cheapest fares and the best combinations. Other than that, the cheapest flights are bought directly through the airline site. 

Allane, Packing My Suitcase: 

I always use Skyscanner as my main platform for flight searches, I like how I’m able to watch the prices. But once in a while I also use Swoodoo.com, which is great to have an idea when your flight is cheaper throughout the months.

Sandy, Brit and the Blonde

We always use skyscanner.com to research flight deals and then actually book our flights on the airline’s website to avoid paying extra booking fees.

Sani, Sun and Sany

Ryanair. I used to fly with wizzair before, but since Ryanair launched flights from Sofia to other European destinations, I usually check their website first.  

Olga, The Russian Abroad:

Have you heard of this super cool cheap flights website called Urlaubspiraten? Well, neither have I – until recently. In English, they’re known as Holiday Pirates, in Spanish – Viajeros Piratas, in French – Voyages Pirates. In other words, they’re known by many names, but there’s this one single thing that they do oh so brilliantly, on a constant basis: seeing super cheap last minute deals all over the world. I’m talking a week in Croatia including a stay in a 4* hotel for as little as 300 EUR. I’m talking a return flight to the US for as little as 250 EUR.

If I fancy a trip somewhere, but don’t really know where, I ask the pirates. They always have the best offer.

Vlad, Eff It I’m on Holiday: 

I use Skyscanner to find what airlines fly to each destination and then check out the site of the airline company, they always have the best prices. However, I find a local site called Vola to offer more accurate results than those one-site-for-all-countries. I think local sites usually find the best combinations.

Adri, City of the Week:

First and foremost, I follow Secret Flying’s Facebook page, because they post some of the best offers from Europe (including error fares), which are definitely tempting most of the time. When I need to find something more specific, I generate flights on Kiwi and Skyscanner.


how to find cheap flights and affordable accommodation

2. What is your top tip for finding affordable accommodation?

The second biggest expense during our trips is the accommodation. We don’t want to stay in the cheapest hostel and sacrifice our comfort. There are some pretty good hacks you can use to score great deals when searching for the best place to stay without forcing yourself to sacrifice the quality of your sleep. Read carefully the next tips: 

Laura, Travelling Weasels:

For years we’ve used house sitting to find free, luxury accommodation. We also use Airbnb for long term stays and Agoda for searching for hotels in Asia – we like how you can specify certain criteria with them both, like ‘free wifi’. 

Sianna, EoStories:

I usually use hostels. They have evolved so much in the recent years that I can assure you – you can find amazing value for your money with great facilitates. There are single rooms if you don’t want to share a room with strangers, design hostels that have amazing interior easily compared to one of a hotel, breakfast buffets and all types of extras that can make your stay great and affordable.

Heather, Conversant Traveller: 

Don’t ignore your booking once it’s been made. Hotel booking sites like Booking.com often offer free cancellation so keep checking back to see if the price has decreased (it often does), and then change your reservation accordingly. 

Rossi, Rossi Writes: 

I have three tips depending on your destination and personal circumstances.
1. Look for local branches of international cookie-cutter hotel chains.
2. If time and commuting are not a constraint, stay in B&B’s in small towns and villages just outside of larger cities.
3. Stay with relatives and/or friends. 

Claudia, My Adventures Across the World: 

Whichever engine I use to look for accommodation, I always order the findings by price (cheapest to most expensive). Usually the cheapest places have a good reason to be so cheap. 

Allane, Packing My Suitcase: 

Research, research, research and consider different options, hotels, apartments, hostel. Sometimes one can be more value for money than the other depending on the city and dates. I’ve happened to have paid less for a great Airbnb in London than for a crapy hostel. You just need to look a little bit more.

Sandy, Brit and the Blonde: 

Well, for free accommodation we highly recommend volunteering with Workaway. Otherwise, hostelworld.com is great for backpackers or Airbnb for affordable apartments.

Sani, Sun and Sany

Checking months in advance is one of the best tips I can give for affordable accommodation. 

Olga, The Russian Abroad:

Take your time to research — but don’t take too much time! Thing is, if you don’t research deeply enough you’re most likely to end up paying for a hotel that isn’t worth what you’re paying for it. So it’s important to take your time, familiarise yourself with the offers, and choose the best one.

However, in our modern day and age when technology is blossoming like flowers during summer, booking websites have become smarter. If they see that you’ve been visiting pages and comparing prices, they will — oops! — increase them last minute, based on your search behaviour. And that would be a bummer. I feel like booking.com does that a lot, for instance.

Vlad, Eff It I’m on Holiday

I always check out all the (trusty) options for accommodation, Booking, AirBnb, Trivago, compare all the options and save them in a list. Then I pick the one that fits my budget and offers the best value for money.

Adri, City of the Week:

Skip the hotels and choose guesthouses, pensions and stay with locals instead. Also, staying in the periphery of the city is not always a good idea, because you’ll find yourself spending a lot of time and money to get into the city center even via public transport. You’ll save yourself a lot of trouble and time by looking at somewhat central places from the start. 


how to find cheap flights and affordable accommodation

3. How early do you book your flights? Do you have any tips?

Travel bloggers travel often. That lets us get an idea when is the right time to book your flight. Of course, this depends on many factors but there are some basic guidelines you can follow. Here’s what our ‘experts’ have to say about it:

Laura, Travelling Weasels: 

As soon as possible – as soon as we know which date and where we are going we book the flight. We’re currently booking flights for February but we feel this is already too late. Ideally we should have booked these flights in October!!  Our tip would be to book early (of course) but to also be flexible about dates and location.

Sianna, EoStories:

I can only talk about Europe, but I have found that usually 4-6 weeks is best. With some low-cost companies it is not a problem to book even 2 weeks beforehand. Some flight booking companies have price alerts so you can keep track of the ticket prices for your destination.

Heather, Conversant Traveller

Usually about 8 months in advance. It’s a good idea to set up price alerts so you can see when costs start to rise or fall. 

Rossi, Rossi Writes: 

About two to three months in advance. My tip is to always check prices from all nearby airports serving your destination. Also, check ticket prices really early in the morning (more like straight after midnight) before people have started to browse the airfare websites. Always use the incognito window of your browser.

Claudia, My Adventures Across the World: 

It really depends. Sometimes 3 or 4 months in advance – for long haul flights. Others, last minute (especially if I am flying from Sardinia to either Rome or Milan and as a resident of Sardinia I only play a flat rate). 

Allane, Packing My Suitcase: 

Not too early (6 months) as I noticed many flights are actually more expensive at this time than weeks before the trip, and also not too last minute (1 month or so). I find 3 months in advance ideal, but of course, there are exceptions, so sometimes you can get the same flight for the same price 1 week in advance.

Sandy, Brit and the Blonde

We book our flights as soon as we know where we want to go, which with our indecisiveness isn’t until about 2-4 weeks prior. We recommend flying on Tuesdays and Wednesdays as flights are generally the cheapest on those days.

Sani, Sun and Sany:

Depends on how spontaneous the trip is. I always make sure to book the flight as early as I can. One of the travel tips I can give is to subscribe to flying companies websites. This often gives you a discount on your first flight. 

Olga, The Russian Abroad:

I’ve heard that 2 months in advance is the best time to buy tickets. But I’ve also heard the same about three months in advance. And two weeks in advance. Thing is, there are just as many opinions as there are people. In my case, I never really stick to any time plan when it comes to buying tickets. I just check the offers online, and, if I have the money, I buy. If I don’t, then I don’t. No secret magic here.

Vlad, Eff It I’m on Holiday:

People say that the best prices are three months before a flight, but usually, if I see a price that I find convenient, I buy them (for instance, I have bought plane tickets for next September, yes, 10 months in advance). Your best bet is to always check out websites to compare different fares, be flexible with your dates and subscribe to airline newsletter to be notified when they have discounts. 

Adri, City of the Week:

It depends on the destination. I tend to buy my flight tickets first (usually when I see a good, cheap offer) and plan my trip afterwards. Flexibility is the key to finding cheap flights in my opinion. You should have a few destinations in mind (not only one specific city) and also be flexible regarding the dates of your trip.


oatmeal-cookies

As you can see, Skyscanner is the top choice for finding cheap flights. According to frequent travellers, around 2-3 months in advance is a good time to buy your tickets. Of course, regular research and comparison are needed and you should be flexible with your destination and dates.

As for the accommodation, there are different options but research and comparing different options is a must. Airbnb is the leading choice for many travellers, including us. You can get 22$ in travel credit for Airbnb if you sign up with our referral link, which is another way to save on accommodation. We don’t use Booking that much any more… 

Coming next week: Best ways to save money on your trips and what are the most affordable destinations in Europe to travel to, according to travel bloggers.

Do you have any other travel tips in mind?

How do you find cheap flights and affordable accommodation?

Meanwhile, you can follow Travelling Buzz on Facebook for more travel tips and ideas! 

Written by

Travel blogger, freelancer and tourism graduate from Bulgaria. When I'm not writing about my experiences, I'm most likely chasing adventures all over Europe. From skydiving up in the sky to kayaking in deep waters, I love challenging myself during every trip. I also love travelling and writing about my home country - Bulgaria.

Latest comments
  • Google fight is very much helpful and the alternative way instead of using the Skyscanner.

  • Great post and very informative, Maria! There are always way to spend less money for travelling!

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