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.
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:
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/
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
Aerlingus, RyanAir, GermanWings
CityJet, EasyJet, RyanAir
Alitalia, WindJet, BluExpress
Vueling, WizzAir, EasyJet
I had such an awesome weekend with my WSA group! Our leader was so great, really cool and nice. We got to see everything and it didn't feel rushed at all.Gerty Flagg, Keene State College ~ Fall 2015
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Pick a city and go! All new budget guidebook from Andy Steves, Founder and Chief Backpacker of WSA.