There is absolutely no better feeling than finding a bargain buster flight that fits perfectly in with your tiny student budget. You know what you’re getting though, zero frills, uncomfortable seats, extortionate baggage charges. Fewer comforts will nearly always mean lower flight fares, and that’s why you love ‘em.
But now your flights booked in, you realise there are loads of little added extras that you didn’t think about. We put together a quick tips guide on making the most of your budget airline experience, from packing light to choosing the right seat.
A flight for £4.99 to Ibiza with Ryanair sounds unbelievable. Especially when you compare it to a £300 flight with British Airways. And maybe that’s just because it is. But it’s safe to presume that Ryanair will charge extra for anything and everything short of the air you breathe.
Need a bigger seat? Checking a bag? Want to sit next to your friend? Add that on to your base price for the flight, and now you can compare both fairly
Don’t forget, some airlines will require you to check in online. If you don’t, you may face a fine at the airport. Make sure you’re aware of how things work and any other little costs that might crop up.
When you book your flights, look through all the small print to figure out what exactly is included with your flight. Some flights do not include a carry-on bag, they will just include a small bag, which means you will be incredibly limited on what you can take. If your carry on is not included, then you will have to pay extra for this.
As you already know, budget airlines appear to make it their mission to charge you for absolutely everything! Some budget airlines may even charge you for a carry-on bag. To avoid an extra charge bring a backpack because you're still entitled to a personal item. Even if your bag exceeds the limit of a personal bag, some airline attendants won't mind or even notice that you exceeded the limit because you can carry it on your back!
The carry-on bag size restrictions and measurements for bags allowed, will vary with each airline, so read up on the policies before travelling. Double check the measurements of your bag, and make sure they are within sizes otherwise you will be made to pay additional fees.
This probably sounds like a silly suggestion, it’s obvious you know where you are going. However many of the cities you are visiting may have more than one airport. Paris for example, where there are two main airports that you can fly into. Most budget flights will take you to Paris Beauvais, rather than the Charles De Gaulle Airport. It doesn’t really matter that much as there are airport transfers, trains and buses that you can get from Paris Beauvais, but if you’re looking for mere convenience, then you will want to look at flying somewhere else.
Like we said before, check where your flight gets into and get an idea of the costs of getting into the city centre or wherever you’re staying, and if you’ll need to get an airport transfer. Compare costs of an Uber vs airport transfers. Check out public transport options: trains or buses will always be cheaper than getting a taxi or transfers.
Buy all of your drinks and snacks before you get on the plane. If you wait until you’re on the flight, you’ll be forced to pay ridiculously painful prices, when a bit of forethought could have saved you a lot. What’s more, flight food is pretty grim. You may as well stock up on what you know you like, when you’re at the airport.
As soon as you’re through airport security, grab your snacks and drinks in a convenience store, or at one of the airport cafes, rather than on the plane. It will be pricey compared to a normal supermarket price, but it’s still way cheaper than on the flight itself. You might be able to bring the odd snack through security, so check with your airline and airport travel restrictions beforehand and save big.
Most budget airlines are not accepting cash these days, so bring your debit or credit card with you. Pro tip, grab yourself a
card when you travel. These banks don’t charge any fees when you use their cards abroad, and organisational savings pots help you stick to a budget far easier. It saves you the risk and worry about carrying huge quantities of foreign cash. Also, it is so convenient to just carry your card with you!
Chances are, if you’re on a short-haul flight or a budget airline, then there probably won’t be any TVs for you to watch. Even if your flight is just for an hour, you’re gonna need something to distract you from the painfully uncomfortable budget seats. So when you’re in the airport, download a movie, a podcast, or grab yourself a book or magazine that you can read throughout your flight to keep you entertained.
Sometimes it’s worth putting on a few extra sweaters and leggings under your jeans to keep bags light. If you opted for a carry-on or an even smaller bag to save some money, layer up! Free up more room for all your other travel essentials. Also when packing shoes, keep the bulkiest ones to one side to wear for the plane.
You're allowed to get upset if a more expensive airline has significant delays or if things are going wrong all over the place. It's the sad truth. You get what you pay for. So just do your best to sit back, and chill out. You'll get to where you want to go, and it'll probably leave you feelin' horrible, but it only cost you 20 quid.
We hope you're inspired to save your cash when you next travel by coach! If you're after tips on how to find
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. But if you're considering all your options, and want to think about other ways on
How to Travel on a Budget
visit our guide
. If you’re looking for more advice and information on how to make the most of your time at University, check out our
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