Booking Flights

This is the most exciting step – nothing beats the feeling of getting your hands on that flight itinerary. Seeing the departure date written down in black and white really makes it hit home. You’re going to the UK!

While you may find it hard to commit to a departure date a long way in advance, booking a flight sooner rather than later can work in your favour price-wise. The earlier you book, the cheaper your ticket will tend to be. It’s just how airlines get bums on seats.

Flights will likely be one of the more expensive parts of your travel budget. In this post I’ll take you through the websites I use to find the best deals on flights. But trust me, once you get started making your own way around Europe you’ll be a pro at this yourself in no time!

Disclaimer: I have no affiliation with these sites and don’t earn any kick backs from listing them here, so you don’t have to worry that I’m selling you something. This is literally how I make my own travel plans from the comfort of whatever hostel/hotel/bar/cafe I happen to be in at the time.


Option 1: Booking flights yourself

There are sooo many websites out there now that it’s super easy to do some independent research.

To get the best deals you just need to be a bit flexible with dates.

I’ll usually start with Google Flights to get a nice broad overview of the options I’ve got for different countries and cities within a vague date range. This makes narrowing things down by my budget a little easier.

I’ll then head to a price comparison site like Skyscanner, Momondo, Expedia, Kayak or Webjet and enter the narrower search criteria I have in mind. With a better idea of destinations and dates these sites will give you plenty of airline options and a list of prices.

Based on what I find my next step is then to head to the individual airline website to compare the prices they quote compared to what I’ve found on the price comparison websites.

  • If it’s cheaper on the price comparison website I’ll usually book through them. You may be able to score something with free cancellations for a bit more flexibility
  • If prices are the same I’ll usually book direct with the airline. This provides you with a little more security if there happen to be any cancellations or delays to your flights

If you follow these steps you can be fairly confident you’re getting the best price available at that point in time for the destinations and dates you’re after. Keep in mind though that airlines regularly have sales and discount periods, so make the most of these when you can.


Option 2: Booking through a travel agent

It’s definitely worthwhile popping in to a travel agent and getting a quote, particularly on your long haul flight into the UK. They often have special deals with particular airlines because they buy seats in bulk, so you might get a much nicer airline for the same or cheaper price.

Plus, if you get a quote from one agent, you can always take it to another to see if they will match or beat the price.

For example, the cheapest one way flight I could find online from Australia to London was $750 with a super long layover in Singapore. I ended up booking a similarly priced flight through an agent with a much nicer airline, and a much shorter wait in Abu Dhabi. If you’re travelling for over 30 hours you’ll appreciate the extra luxury! Plus we aren’t exactly slumming it as healthcare professionals in the UK, on our pay we can afford a bit more than the typical backpacker.

Also keep in mind that if you’re travelling on a Tier 5 Youth Mobility Visa, you don’t need to have a return flight booked out of the UK (it would be a bit tricky to book something 2 years ahead!), so you’ll more than likely be searching for the best one way flight anywhere into Europe.

Time to get travel planning then! Feel like popping to Spain for some sangria? Or Sail Croatia with a few friends? Maybe skiing in the Alps? It’s all on your doorstep once you arrive, so get cracking.


> Next step: Vaccinations

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