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Cheap Flights

Bag cheap scheduled & charter flights

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Sally | Edited by Steve N

Updated May 2018

Leave it till the last minute and flight costs are often sky-high – but plan ahead and book the right way and savings can soar.

We've loads of clever tricks to help you book flights at the right time, cut the cost of school holiday travel, grab credit card freebie flights and more. Also see our 60+ Overseas Travel Tips guide for more ways to save on your holiday.

Use the top comparison sites to slash costs

Don't go direct to an airline – use a price comparison site to get lots of data in a very short time. However...

Different comparison sites search different firms, so check at least two.

Top-pick comparison sites

All allow you to search by flight class and include travel brokers, charter airlines and budget airlines. If you don't have your heart set on a particular destination, try setting your destination as 'Anywhere' to find the real bargains.

  • Kayak* for a comparison incl baggage. We argue within MSE Towers about the very top pick, but Kayak is Martin's favourite, so it wins. Not only that, but it also allows you to filter options based on whether or not you want to check in bags so you can compare costs more accurately.

  • Skyscanner* for the very cheapest time to fly. Another MSE Towers favourite, Skyscanner gives you fare options spread over a month to find exactly when's cheapest. It has particularly strong coverage of budget flights, searching over 1,200 airlines and travel sites in total.

  • Momondo* for its flight data info. We like Momondo for its nifty tool that tells you the cheapest and most expensive dates around your flight, as well as helpful insights such as the cheapest airport to fly from/into. It doesn't do it for all destinations, but it has the biggies – New York, Dubai, Sydney, Cape Town.

It's also worth checking Google Flights – it can be a useful starting point before going to some of the others – plus try Fly.com and Dohop. If you want a hotel too, Expedia* can be a good option. Discuss which ones you prefer in the forum.

Flight brokers can give big discounts if you're booking a hotel as well

Flight brokers are essentially online travel agents. They allow you to book flights, hotels and car hire, often giving extra discounts if you combine them. Plus, you get extra protection for combination bookings.

Our top sites are Expedia* (which also owns Ebookers* and Travelocity*), Opodo*, Lastminute.com* and Netflights for long-haul flights.

While this can be a big boon, sometimes you'll find it's cheaper to book separately – use the comparison sites above for flights, and get the best price for accommodation using our Cheap Hotels guide.

What protection do I get?

If you make flight and accommodation bookings with the same company within the same day, you get ATOL protection even though it's not a formal package deal. This means that if your travel operator goes bust, your money is protected, and if you're already away, it'll get you home. You can read more about ATOL in our Holiday Rights guide.

When is the best time to book?

When looking for cheap flight tickets, timing is absolutely crucial.

Unlike package holidays, flights should generally be booked early. Business folk will pay top dollar at the last minute, so prices soar.

Unless you prefer sticking with the same airline and you're holding out for a sale you know is coming up, it's usually best to book as early as you can.

The latest research from the comparison site Momondo* found it's generally best to book 60 days ahead (last time it did the research it was 56) and that booking then is on average 34% cheaper than booking on the day of departure. The last cheap booking date varies by destination, though, so you can use Momondo's 'Flight Insight' tab on many routes to see the data for it (see Flight Insight for info).

However Momondo's figures are based on the prices quoted in flight searches, and that factors in sales too, so take its 'perfect day to book' info with a big pinch of salt, and if in doubt book early.

Momondo also found that Tuesdays and evenings (after 6pm) are generally the cheapest time to fly, while Saturdays are the most expensive. If you can be flexible, it's worth checking prices on different days and at different times to see if you can cut the cost further.

Beat the school holiday price hikes with the Easyjet 'book the wrong date' trick

We've found a clever way to bag cheaper flights using Easyjet's 'Flexifares', which let you switch dates by a few weeks without paying extra. It works the whole year round, but it's particularly useful when prices shoot up during the school holidays. It's just one of several tips we've got to flying with Easyjet – see Easyjet Flight Tricks for more.

The idea is to book a Flexifare on the same route at a less busy time when flights are cheaper. Then after 24 hours, provided there's capacity, you can switch it to the dates you originally wanted at no extra charge. It's not the easiest trick in the book, but if it works it could save you £100s.

MSE Steve used this trick (read his blog here):

We had to go away in the last week of May – prices were through the roof because it was half term. Flights for the family, travelling at the weekend with luggage, cost £836 all-in. But booking flexi-flights two weeks earlier cost just £405. After a nervous 24-hour wait we switched them to the weekend we wanted – £431 saved!

Forumite Green1960 saved £700 on flights to Lanzarote in the school hols:

When we went on the Easyjet website, the flights were over £1,500 including bags. We then booked the flexi-flights, which were £848 – a saving of £700. A bit nerve-wracking for the 24 hours, but we know it works. There must be availability obviously on the dates you are changing to.

How to do it: full step-by-step help

Charter can be cheaper if you're heading to a traditional resort

Charter flights are run by package holiday companies to ferry their passengers. As such, they typically cover traditional holiday destinations, so if that's where you're headed, you could bag a flight super-cheap if they sell off unreserved seats. Tough luck if you're flying to Timbuktu, but quids in if you're flying to Malaga.

How to get the cheapest charter flights

We've rounded up our top tips and tricks to cut costs.

  • Compare via Flights Direct for simple, easy-to-read results. Flights Direct* has good charter flight prices, plus it's part of a travel agent, so you get ABTA/ATOL cover.
  • Use our top-pick comparison sites. This includes Kayak*, Momondo* and Skyscanner*, but also check Expedia*.
  • Try going direct to charter airlines and travel agents. Ask them for top last-minute charter deals. On the web, there are Thomas Cook*, TUI* (formerly Thomson) and First Choice* (all ABTA and ATOL-registered), but travel agents can often beat them.
  • If there are no charter flights, book a package but don't stay. This can sometimes be much cheaper than booking a scheduled flight. For destinations such as Orlando, package holidays can be dirt-cheap. It won't always work, but it's worth a try. Also see Cheap Package Holidays.

Booking a package holiday can be cheaper if you're heading to a popular resort

The internet's great for flights or DIY city breaks. But if you're going away specifically for seven, 10 or 14 days to a traditional holiday destination, package holidays, where everything's wrapped up in one, are often best. See the Cheap Package Holiday guide.

What's more, most package operators are ATOL-protected (though always check before you book). So if the company goes bust or something goes wrong, your holiday is automatically protected. This means that you'll get a refund if you haven't left yet, or that you could carry on the trip and still get home if you're already there.

Can you beat airline baggage fees by POSTING your luggage?

A number of firms offer to ship your holiday luggage abroad, allowing you to avoid sky-high budget airline fees. We've crunched the numbers and found this can save serious cash – some of the time.

How does it work?

We've found three firms that offer competitive prices for sending luggage abroad – Send My Bag*, Bags Ahead* and Uni Baggage (aimed at students but available to everyone). All three are well reviewed – though this is a new, untested concept so let us know what you think in the forum. Here are the basics:

  1. Get a quote and compare prices. This varies by destination, so you'll need to visit each courier site and get a quote, then compare it with what airlines charge.

  2. Choose a collection/delivery date. Send My Bag and Uni Baggage ask you to pick a date for your bags to be collected and then give you an estimated delivery date, usually two to three days later. (Send My Bag recommends your bag arrives a day before you.) Bags Ahead asks for your arrival date, and gives a collection date based on this.

  3. Print labels and wait for your bag to be collected. You'll be emailed labels (Bags Ahead and Send My Bag will post them if you book far enough ahead). Then you'll be given a collection window (9am-5pm or 9am-6pm) – Send My Bag says it's happy to collect from a neighbour if you won't be home, or your office/place of work.

  4. Meet your luggage at your destination. All the courier sites say you don't have to sign for your bag personally – anyone at the delivery address can do it, eg, the hotel reception desk (though make sure you notify them in advance).

While doing this can be cheaper than paying to take your bags on the plane (see our full cost analysis below), this isn't just about saving money. Shipping bags ahead means you don't need to lug them to and from the airport – handy for families, the elderly or those with disabilities.

What's more, this can be a way to avoid eye-watering last-minute luggage charges on your return from holiday, if your bag's over the weight limit. For example, Easyjet charges £10 per KILO for excess weight at the airport.

Need-to-knows:

Your travel insurance won't work on this – but the firm does give basic cover

You may need to repack to max the gain

Make sure your luggage is robust enough to travel

You can track your bags

Don't pack prohibited items

Travelling outside the EU? Check customs requirements

How does the cost compare with airline baggage fees?

There's no overall winner here, as prices vary hugely by destination, dates and how much luggage you're taking. But to get an idea we spot-checked prices for 108 flights across eight airlines, to four destinations, in August and October, looking at luggage for an individual (15kg), couple (30kg) and family (55kg).

Our snapshot analysis found it's cheaper to post your luggage roughly a THIRD of the time – it often won for couples and families flying short distances, but rarely for single bags and almost never for longer flights.

While of course this wasn't a scientific sample, posting luggage beat flying with it on 39% of the 108 flights we looked at – it won on 64% of Malaga flights and 60% to Berlin, but just 4% to New York and none of those to Paphos, in Cyprus.

In one case it was £41 cheaper to post a family's luggage – and on three of the 24 routes and dates a courier firm beat ALL the airlines we checked. To give you an idea, here's how prices compared on a sample of the flights we checked:

Posting luggage vs standard airline fees (one-way, mid-August)
  Courier firms (1) BA Easyjet Flybe Norwegian Ryanair Virgin Max saving
Flying to Malaga
Individual (15kg) £29-£31 £20 £28 £24 £23 £35 n/a £6
Family (55kg) £64 £60 £89 £86 £69 £105 n/a £41
Flying to Berlin
Individual (15kg) £26-£31 £20 £23 £24 £20 £20 n/a None
Family (55kg) £58-£60 £60 £73 £84 £60 £60 n/a £26
Flying to Paphos
Individual (15kg) £99-£108 £25 £30 n/a n/a £35 n/a None
Family (55kg) £258-£324 £75 £98 n/a n/a £105 n/a None
Flying to New York
Individual (15kg) £59-£79 n/a (2) n/a n/a £35 n/a £30 None
Family (55kg) £198 n/a (2) n/a n/a £105 n/a £90 None
Prices correct as of May 2018. For flights on 11 Aug, or where none available, the following day. Flights from London where possible, or the closest possible alternative. (1) Prices by weight not number of bags – so some repacking may be required. (2) Baggage included in ticket price.

Check ethnic travel agents for specific destination bargains

The UK's a melting pot of different immigrant and ethnic communities, and this can be used to great advantage for a cheap flight booking. Niche travel agents often specialise in finding deals to the relevant communities' linked countries.

For example, Shepherd's Bush in London and the surrounding area has some Caribbean specialist tour agents, or buy the Jewish Chronicle, which has firms advertising cheap flights to Israel. You've also told us about Chinese travel agent Omega, which has a branch in London's Chinatown, as well as Birmingham, Manchester, Milton Keynes and Edinburgh.

Don't forget to check prices elsewhere before you buy to make sure you're getting a good deal. If you know of a cheap specialist travel agent, please add your finds/read others' in the forum.

Stopping over when flying long-haul could save you £100s

Direct flights are always more convenient. But if you've a bit more time, sometimes an indirect flight only adds a couple of hours to the journey, so you can often cut the cost by stopping over.

How to save

We checked return flights from London to 10 popular long-haul destinations and how much you could save by stopping over. The results are in the table below – as a rule, we found the bigger savings were on longer, non-US flights.

Table: How direct vs indirect flights stack up

To look yourself, search via the big price comparison sites we've used above. Kayak*, Momondo* and Skyscanner* all show you, and allow you to filter by, direct and indirect flights, so you can easily compare prices.

Use the 'codeshare' trick – buy a seat on the same flight via a partner airline for less

If you like flying with a specific airline or know the exact flight you want, 'codesharing' could be a way to get a flight with that airline via another one. It's when airlines buddy up to sell seats on each other's flights, sometimes at a different price.

For example, when we looked in May 2017, we found a Delta London to Las Vegas return flight in June for £830 booking via Delta. But exactly the same flights booked via Delta's partner Virgin Atlantic cost £750, saving £80.

Codesharing flights are included in comparison site results, so you'll find them using the sites above. You won't spot them if booking directly with an airline. It should be clear on the comparison site, eg, if you book with Virgin, but it's a Delta flight, it should say so. This works best on popular medium or long-haul routes – simply book via a partner airline to grab a seat on the same plane for less.

More info

See a FULL list of codesharing partners

Pay by credit card for extra protection – and know your rights if an airline goes bust

Even if you think an airline's safe as houses, it's important to protect yourself as fully as possible. The easiest way is to book on a credit card, as when the transaction's more than £100, Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act means the card company's equally liable if something goes wrong (see the full Section 75 Refunds guide, or the Chargeback guide for protection on debit card purchases).

So if you book a flight and the airline goes bust, you can at least get your money back from the card company. Always pay your card off in full at the end of the month so you're not charged interest.

With package holidays, most operators are members of the huge ATOL and ABTA travel protection schemes. This means if the firm goes bust or there's another issue, your getaway's protected that way. However, if you book flights and/or hotels directly, this won't apply unless the provider's ATOL-registered.

If you book a flight and/or a hotel via a travel agent, you won't be covered by Section 75, because there's no direct relationship with the supplier (though you may still be covered by ATOL/ABTA). But flights and accommodation or car hire booked from the same company on two consecutive days are covered by ATOL, even if they're not part of a formal package.

Quick question

Will my travel insurance policy cover me?

Don't forget travel insurance – get it from £9/yr

If you book but don't have travel insurance, then if you get ill or need to cancel, you won't be covered, so buy it straight away.

But beware – some cheap airline and holiday websites automatically add expensive travel cover when you book. Always double-check the full cost, and remove any rogue policies before paying (usually by unchecking multiple boxes).

Holiday firms' own insurance is usually a massive rip-off and offers more limited cover. Instead, check out our Cheap Travel Insurance guide to see how to undercut their prices. A summary:

  • Cheapest annual policies (under-65s): If you'll go away two or more times a year (including weekends), it's usually cheaper to get an annual policy. For example, a year's Europe cover for a 25-year-old costs just £9; for a couple aged 35, worldwide costs from £37.

    The exact winner depends on age and number travelling. Holidaysafe Lite* often wins, but Coverwise* and Leisure Guard Lite* can beat it in some combinations. Find full help and options in Cheap Annual Travel Insurance.

  • Cheapest single policies. The cheapest meeting our minimum cover levels is Leisure Guard Lite*. Depending on a combination of age, destination and travelling party size, it can be cheaper to go with Holidaysafe Lite* if you've time. Full info in Cheap Single Trip Travel policies.

  • Over 65? Pre-existing conditions? See our specialist help on Cheap Over-65s Travel Insurance and Cheap Insurance for Pre-Existing Conditions.

  • Check your FREE EHIC is valid: These give you treatment at state-run EU hospitals and GPs at the same cost as a local. Yet many don't realise they have an end date. Check yours now and renew FOR FREE (never pay). Full help in our Free EHIC guide.

Clever tools tracking routes' cheapest prices can help if you've complete flexibility on dates

If you're flexible on your dates or have an open mind about where to go, try using internet tools to home in on the cheapest destinations and times.

Momondo Flight Insight

Momondo is a metadata search engine and works similarly to the likes of Skyscanner. However, its standout feature is the 'Flight Insight' data it gives you on some routes. It helps pinpoint when to book, which day to fly and even which airport's cheapest.

For example, when we checked, London-Phuket prices were cheapest in May and June and most expensive in December and August. The time to book is 60 days before departure for the cheapest flights. Yet for a London-Melbourne search, it's best to book 59 days in advance and it's cheapest to go in November or March.

The results are a useful average to help plan your trip dates rather than a cast-iron guarantee. The data's based on prices quoted in flight searches and includes sales too, so take it with a pinch of salt, and if in doubt book early.

When you're ready to book, don't assume Momondo will always come up cheapest either – try the other comparison sites to see if you can beat it.

Quick questions

How do I use it?

Which routes does it work for?

Can I get it cheaper by booking even earlier?

If you're set on a British Airways flight, it's also worth checking BA's cheap fares finder for its lowest prices to worldwide destinations.

When to book the cheapest Easyjet seats

The orange-loving airline releases seats in several tranches throughout the year. The most recent release was on 26 April, for tickets from 4 Feb 2019 to 24 March 2019.

The next seat release will be in October, for tickets between 25 March 2019 and 22 June 2019.

Now there's no way to know if you'll get the very cheapest tickets as soon as they're released – prices are based on demand and Easyjet could easily change its pricing policy or cut prices in a sale.

But it does tend to be the cheapest time to book, especially for peak dates like the summer holidays. For full details, see Easyjet Tricks.

Check the real cost of your ticket and look out for hidden extras

Luggage, check-in, reserved seats and food are just some of the extras you may have to fork out for with a flight booking. And what's worse, they're not always made clear.

To help, the CAA (Civil Aviation Authority) website has a useful airline charges comparison table which shows extra fees for a host of big airlines, as well as luggage allowances, seat selection charges and even whether a meal's included with your ticket. While you should always double-check these with the airline before you book, it's handy to see the real cost of your ticket so you can make a more accurate comparison.

Get cheap airport lounge access and avoid the chaos of the airport

Airport lounges aren't just reserved for first class, business class or elite frequent flyers. Access can be free with certain credit cards or bank accounts, or you can get it cheaply via frequent flyer schemes such as Virgin Atlantic's Flying Club.

One-off passes typically start from around £20 per person. Given you could pay that for food, drinks and snacks alone at the airport, it can be good value, especially when you usually get a comfy seat in peace, and a newspaper or magazine thrown in too. See Free or Cheap Airport Lounge Access for full tips.

Budget doesn't necessarily mean bargain

Booking budget airline flights can be a minefield. Outrageously, budget airline 'extras' can include taking bags, checking in or even just paying.

The Budget Flight Fee Fighting guide has tricks to beat those nasty charges, from paying the right way to beat the fees to multi-pocket jackets so you can take extra carry-on luggage. Plus see our Easyjet Tricks and Ryanair Tips guides if you're flying with them.

Some tips may even work with non-budget airlines. If you're flying British Airways, for example, you can save about £10 each way on short-haul hand-luggage-only trips compared with its cheapest singles with checked bags.

Book parking in advance if you're driving to the airport

While public transport usually wins, for large families or groups, driving to the airport can be cheaper. Yet booking early is crucial. Wait till you get to the airport and you're a captive customer – a dream for airport parking companies, not so for MoneySaving. Even booking in advance on the day could save money.

Some inspiration from MSE forum user Bigdaddy10:

I paid £40 instead of £115. Granted we booked for the August bank holiday in March, but it goes to show there are bargains to be had by booking ahead.

To maximise savings, book well in advance and shop around. Just as with flights, comparison sites are the best place to start, but it's also worth trying booking direct, combining parking with a hotel room or renting a personal space near the airport. Our Cheap Airport Parking guide has full step-by-step help, plus we've blagged extra discounts on top to help bring costs down further.

Flying then driving? The earlier you book car hire, the better

Holiday car hire can save a hefty whack on taxis to and from the airport, as well as transport costs while you're there, providing you do it right.

If you're going to need it, book the right way and generally as early as possible to grab it cheaply. What can be £5/day months ahead can be triple or more just before you go and far more when there, adding £100s overall.

You can find full details of current deals and tips 'n' tricks in the Cheap Car Hire guide, but here are the key points:

  • Work out what you need. There's often a mass of costly add-ons on offer, including sat-navs and extra drivers. Before you book, work out what you need and ditch the rest.
  • Quickly compare quotes. Next, take the legwork out of your search by using the right comparison sites to grab the most quotes in the least time. Our top picks are Skyscanner*, Carrentals*, TravelSupermarket* and Kayak*.
  • Check for extra discounts. See if you can squash the price further via fly-drive package deals, cashback, specialist travel brokers and online vouchers.
  • Get cheap excess insurance before you go. The hire firm will want you to get up to £25/day excess cover on top of the included insurance. Instead, get Cheap Excess Insurance for as little as £2 before you go.

Loyalty sometimes does pay – join airline schemes to earn 'free' flights

Many mistake Avios for a frequent flyer scheme. Actually it's a points scheme like Nectar and Clubcard. You earn points in Shell, Tesco and by spending on credit cards, though its rewards are travel-focused. For example, convert £37.50 in Clubcard vouchers to Avios points and you've got a BA return to Prague (excluding taxes).

However, Avios charges passengers taxes and fees on flights, wiping out some of the gain. These can be up to £100 for European return flights with BA, for example. But if you opt for its Reward Saver scheme, you pay a fixed £35 fee on most short-haul economy flights, as long as you earn at least one point the year before you book.

For full info, plus 30+ ways to push it to the max, see Boost Avios Points. Also see Airline Credit Cards for point-earning credit cards for Avios and Virgin Atlantic's Flying Club.

You can split tickets on flights too and sometimes save £100s

It's easy to search for flights from A to B but don't assume it's the cheapest way. By being a little creative about the route and splitting the ticket, you can slash the cost.

It's commonly associated with trains (see TicketySplit and our Cheap Train Tickets guide) but it does work on flights too, you just have to be willing to do the research.

For example, fly to the US via Norway and buy a single flight to Norway first. Or try open-jaw tickets – where you fly into one airport but return to/from another – and breaking a journey down into multiple tickets can cut costs without altering the route you wanted.

Flights to New York and Oslo for £270 all-in

Former MSE Helen K bagged bargain flights to New York and Oslo, by flying to NYC via Oslo. Here's her story:

My boyfriend and I always fancied a winter break in the Big Apple so when we heard about flights for less than £300 return, including a trip to Norway, we couldn't resist.

We've booked to go in Dec 2015 and are paying £266 in total, flying from London to Oslo, Oslo to NYC and then back to London.

To get it so cheap, all we had to do was book a one-way flight to Oslo to then catch the flight to New York. It was easy to do and we get to see two cities in one trip. Simple!

Try open-jaw or a slightly different route

MSE Guy broke down his search for flights to Singapore and Malaysia and saved £170.

I wanted to book flights from London to Malaysia and Singapore, including a trip to the Malaysian island of Penang.

I originally searched for open-jaw tickets from London to Singapore, then Kuala Lumpur to London with the intention of booking internal flights from Singapore to Penang and Penang to Kuala Lumpur. The initial cost, including internal flights, was £910.

Being a MoneySaver and to fully compare costs, I tried searching London to Penang then Kuala Lumpur to London. The quote dropped to £760. But as the outbound flight was via Singapore anyway, I broke it down further – London to Singapore, Singapore to Penang, Penang to Kuala Lumpur, Kuala Lumpur to London.

New quote: £740, a huge £170 less than tickets on my initial search.

Found your own split ticket bargain? Please post the details in the MSE forum.

Plan where to sit and check out food reviews before you fly

Once you know what the flight is, there are a few sites which should help you improve your experience on it after booking (or do it before if you want to check out an airline/plane).

Use Seatguru to check out the plane's seating plan so you can see whether 18E beats 19C. Also try similar site Skytrax, which includes airline reviews and rankings. And FlightStats details punctuality on current flights and other data.

If you're flying Stateside, don't forget your ESTA

Everyone from the UK going to the USA by air or sea, even those just passing through, must fill out the Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA) in advance. Once you've got it, it's valid for two years, providing you keep the same passport.

For full info on how it works and how to avoid paying more than the official $14 per-person fee, read the ESTA guide.

Sign up to airline email bulletins to monitor upcoming sales

If you're flying a good number of months away, sign up to the email lists of all the relevant airlines. Often they email details of short-term sales, so if you've definite plans, you can be ready to pounce at the right moment.

Ones to try for sales are the newsletters of Opodo, American Airlines, Air France* and KLM. Remember, though, before you book in an airline sale, always use a comparison site to check that you've actually found the cheapest price.

Beware – having multiple web pages open could lead to a wrong booking

A few forumites have reported problems booking flights while having two or more web pages open, where the flight details get booked using the wrong details from an older search.

If you're using more than one page to search, it's a good idea to close the other pages before you book, and try deleting your browser's cache to ensure you're seeing the most up-to-date price. Forumites recommend clearing your internet cookies and starting with a new browser page, too, or even using a different browser altogether to look for quotes.

Always double-check the exact details of the flights before you book.

If it's happened to you, contact the airline or booking site straight away to see if you can get it amended (see How to Complain for help). Let them know it's a known fault others have reported too. Yet sadly you've few rights if the airline refuses to correct it, as it'd be difficult to prove it's their error, and it may charge you fees to amend or cancel.

If it's happened to you, let us know in the Wrong Flights Booked forum discussion.

Planning on treating yourself at duty-free? Opt to pick it up on the way back

If you're looking to buy duty-free goods but don't want to have to carry them on the plane, website Duty-Free On Arrival has a handy airport search that gives info on whether you can buy duty-free when you arrive.

Travelling within the EU? You can go one step further: do your shopping on the way out and ask to 'shop & collect'. Your items will be safely stored and ready for collection after you pick up your luggage and clear customs on the way home.

However, don't assume buying duty-free is always cheapest. If you're after an item, use the MegaShopBot to quickly check prices online before you go. This'll help give you a benchmark to compare with the duty-free price when you get there.

Cut airport transfer costs with shuttle buses or splitting airport travel with others

Hoppa* lets you book transfers between airports and popular resorts across the globe. It offers basic shared shuttle buses, as well as private transfers, and forumites report it can turn up some very competitive prices (though always check these for yourself before you book).

Allow plenty of time, and don't expect anything too fancy. Here's how MSE Jenny found it:

From my experience, don't expect anything too posh if you opt for a shuttle bus, and allow plenty of time to get to the airport. After all, if there are hordes of other passengers to pick up, you don't want to miss your flight.

Feedback's generally positive, though there are reports of occasional problems with missed pick-ups, so factor this in if you're considering it. If you've used it, please let us know how you've got on in the forum discussion.

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