Budget Flights

Learn how to play the RyanAir game

Cheap airlines like EasyJet and RyanAir are amazing options for backpackers on a budget, but there are a number of things you should keep in mind when booking a flight, so that you don't get trapped by those nasty fees.

Searching

Rather than searching on the budget airlines' websites, scan the internet for your flight options first. Use the websites below to get a comprehensive idea for the prices of all airlines out there. Once you find your cheapest option, go directly to that airline's website to book to avoid comission fees.

Otherwise, these sites often have student specials for young travelers! We've scored amazing deals on:  

Studentuniverse.com

CheapoAir.com

SkyScanner.net



Before You Book

RyanAir has one of the best records for on-time flights and least baggage lost year after year. That being said, remember to take a holistic approach while you're booking your flight. Check out the various flight search engines and make an educated decision after doing some solid cross-research. Keep in mind that budget flight airlines use regional airports. During the booking process, take a moment to scout out what airport you'll use, and Google the transportation costs into the center of the city. Add these transportation fees onto the airline ticket price to ensure that your budget airline flight doesn't turn into a first class ticket price!

While You Book

With an airline like RyanAir, each option you pick introduces additional fees. A checked bag adds quite a bit of cost, so plan ahead and add this during the online booking process, or pack light! Adding a bag at the ticket counter is double the price. In addition, if you fail to print out your boarding pass, you'll be stuck with another hefty fee when checking in. Planning ahead in this case is the best way to keep your travel costs under wraps. 

After You Book

If you're going on a trip just for the weekend, do your best to fit everything you need in your carry-on size bag. Be sure to read your airline's fine print. They may ask you to have your passport checked and boarding pass stamped when you check in, and knowing this ahead of time will save you valuable time and money running around the airport. Read more here for specific tips on what you need to know before you fly! http://www.wsaeurope.com/blog/the-top-6-things-to-bring-on-a-budget-airline/

Other Options

There are other airlines out there that often have some great rates that you'll see pop up in your search engine results such as EasyJet, AerLingus, Vueling and Alitlia. They seem to be half a step up in comfort from RyanAir, they assign seats, and they usually have a more easy-going experience. All of them are worth a look when booking flights, but keep in mind their fine print, as each has different luggage requirements and check in times.

Favorite Budget Airlines by Region

Ireland

Aerlingus, RyanAir, GermanWings

UK

CityJet, EasyJet, RyanAir

Czech Republic

SmartWings, WizzAir

Italy

Alitalia, WindJet, BluExpress

Spain

Vueling, RyanAir

France

Vueling, WizzAir, EasyJet

Kyle Cook, Lebanon Valley College

Happy Backpackers

I went to Rome with a few of my friends. Before we got there, our tour guide, Rhianne, sent us plenty of information regarding how to arrive at the hostel, and what our Itinerary would be like. She also made it a point to meet up with people the night before if their flight got in early so students would have something to do. Having a tour guide that lived in the city was amazing. It made me not have to stress about getting lost, and provided many opportunities to eat at the best restaurants, and, most importantly, the best Gelato places. By the end of the tour, I was good friends with each of the 14 members of the tour group, including our tour guide. I definitely recommend taking a tour through WSA because the guides make you feel like they actually care about each person on the trip. I knew that I could just relax, and enjoy my trip.

Kyle Cook, Lebanon Valley College ~ Kingston University, London, Fall 2015

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