We all know that flights advertised for 99p don’t usually tell the whole story. Once you’ve checked in a bag, picked a seat, and added booking fees, the price of your flight can somehow rocket into the hundreds.
But understandably, you want access to the cheapest student flights. And with plenty of amazing travel opportunities open to you during your student years, it’s our job to line you up with the best student discount flights. So, how can college students fly cheap?
Student Discount Flights
Whether you’re funding a flight to a student exchange program, booking a round-the-world ticket, or flying abroad to volunteer, this guide will give you all the tips you need to slash your student airfare.
1. Book Through Student Travel Agents
Student travel agencies are a great first port of call when you’re in the planning stages of your trip. The top option for you to check out is Student Universe. This online travel agent was launched in the US in 2000 and has since expanded into both the UK and Canada.
Anyone can buy flights and book accommodation with Student Universe, but the best deals are reserved for current students. To unlock these secret savings, sign up at Student Universe and verify your student status. You’ll gain immediate access to hidden discounts AND be eligible to check out Subscriber-only Sales too.
2. Fly on the Cheapest Days of the Week
Tuesdays and Wednesdays are usually the least popular days to fly on, as travel companies know that most people are working or studying. They drop the prices of flights on these days to tempt passengers into booking.
Of course, your travel dates may not always be flexible enough to drop everything and fly mid-week to save a few quid. But don’t worry, you can still make significant savings. Try using a comparison site tool like Skyscanner, which will display the best flight prices in a graph form, so it’ll be super easy to grab a deal.
3. Fly at the Cheapest Times of Day
You might also notice that flights first thing in the morning or late at night are dirt cheap. So if you’re able to fly at 6 am or midnight, this could save you some serious cash.
BUT remember that you’ll need to factor in your arrival time at the airport and the lack of public transport. Once you’ve added the cost of a taxi or airport hotel to balance out the early start, your cheap flight might not be worth it.
4. Don’t be Stung by Extra Costs
The advertised price of a plane ticket can quickly go up once you’ve added fixed and optional extras to it. Airport taxes will make up the bulk of your ticket price in many cases. But some budget airlines will charge you for baggage too. If you’re happy to travel with hand luggage, this can help save money, although Ryanair now charges extra to take a wheelie case onboard. You can get around this by wearing plenty of layers and packing your pockets!
Be careful that the airline isn’t charging for extras you don’t need, like travel insurance. We would always recommend taking out cheap student cover, but you can always shop around for the most cost-effective policy.
5. Delete Your Cookies
Ever had your eye on a flight or hotel rate and noticed that the price keeps going up the closer you are to hitting ‘Book’?
You’re not going crazy. Unfortunately, this is a marketing tactic based on your data. Travel companies price tickets and fares according to demand, so the more you search for a specific rate, the more popular it becomes – even if it’s only you searching for it. It’s a great way for travel companies to squeeze a little extra out of you.
To get around this, try browsing from computers in different locations, like a coffee shop, your college library, and your home. Or you can use an incognito browser to hide your location and identity.
6. Check for Destinations on Offer
Remember that peak seasons can vary around the world. Our school and college holidays don’t necessarily align with dates in other countries, and climate can affect travel.
Example: Iceland is an affordable destination in October half term, and you might even see the Northern Lights!
You can use Skyscanner and search using ‘Everywhere’ to produce a list of the most affordable destinations.
7. Use Flight Search Engines
These are perfect examples of student flights websites, and you’ll save heaps of time and hopefully money by using them!
8. Buy Your Flight With a Credit Card
This is a tricky tip because it’s never great advice to max out your credit card as a student! But, booking your flights on a credit card gives you a lot of protection too. And depending on the card provider, you might even earn air miles!
Section 75 laws mean that your credit card provider must protect your purchase if you spend more than £100. So if your flight costs more than this and your travel company or airline goes bust, then you won’t lose out. Please note that debit card payments are not protected.
9. Be Willing to Connect
If you’re not in a rush to get to your destination then you can save money by opting to connect instead of choosing direct-only flights. There is a slight risk that your first flight could be delayed and you miss your connection. For this reason, we always recommend taking out cheap student travel insurance.
Alternatively, it can be cheaper to book a layover in a connecting city. Spend the day sightseeing, book a student hostel and catch your connection the next day.
10. Booking Early Can be Cheaper Than Last Minute
The days where last-minute flights were cheap are long gone! Instead, you can book flights up to a year in advance, and the cheapest prices are available on release.
Register with your budget airline of choice to take advantage, so you know as soon as flights are on sale.
Book Your Cheap Student Flights Today
Now you know exactly how to get cheap student flights, there’s only one thing left to do. Start planning your next trip, and shop around using the best tips from above to grab a bargain student discount on your flights.