How to Find Cheap Flights with Skyscanner

Mike - 08 March 2015

Skyscanner is an amazing tool if you are on a budget and want to go somewhere you haven’t visited before. If you are looking to book a bargain trip and can be flexible on dates and locations, you can find cheap flights with Skyscanner by setting generic search terms.

As an example, I have a couple of days vacation to use in June and besides wanting to fly from London and having a £300 budget, I don’t have any other requirements. If I can book my days off on Thursday/Friday or Monday/Tuesday I have up to 4 days off. Given the modest budget allocated, I can’t really justify sending more than £50-£100 on return flights.

Go the Skyscanner website and make sure you have the correct language, currency and country settings:

Go into Skyscanner optionsGo into Skyscanner options

Go into Skyscanner options (different location when using mobile)Go into Skyscanner options (different location when using mobile)

Select language, current and country preferencesSelect language, current and country preferences

Skyscanner defaults to specific dates for departing and returning, but you can use generic search terms like a particular week, month or year.

Change departure date to 'whole month' and select when you are looking to travel
Change departure date to ‘whole month’ and select when you are looking to travel

Ensure your ‘from airport’ is correct and set ‘to airport’ to ‘everywhere’. I’ve selected ‘London (Any)’ as any of the main London airports (Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted and Luton) are easy for me to get to.

Set destination to everywhereSet destination to everywhere

After clicking search, a list of destinations is shown in ascending price order.

Skyscanner shows cheapest destinationsSkyscanner shows cheapest destinations.

These are not necessarily the exact prices. Skyscanner will have live prices for the most popular routes, saved prices for less commonly searched routes (up to 24 hours old), and infrequent routes may not show a price at all. To see these prices, click on ‘Check Availability’.

Not all destinations will have prices savedNot all destinations will have prices saved

After selecting a country, you will be shown prices per airport. In this example I like the idea of visiting Basel in Switzerland for £29:

Select an airportSelect an airport

After clicking ‘check availability’, Skyscanner shows relative prices over the month. Look for days which have a low bar in the top graph and a corresponding low point the correct number of days later on the bottom graph:

Skyscanner shows relative prices over the monthSkyscanner shows relative prices over the month

I’m looking to book a long weekend so Thursday-Sunday is perfect:Select flight datesSelect flight dates

After selecting the flight dates, click ‘Show flights’. The best price might not be identical to the one shown on the previous page, but you will be shown a list of flight options. In this example, I can get a return flight from London to Basel for £29. This is cheaper than booking directly with any airline as the flights there/back are with different airlines (easyJet and Ryanair). If you plan to drive to the airport, pay careful attention to make sure you return to the same airport. In the example below, it might be worth paying at extra £1 for the convenience of flying to and from Stansted.

Select flight to be taken to airline websiteSelect flight to be taken to airline website

Don’t get too caught up on trying to find the cheapest flights. It isn’t worth getting incredibly cheap flights just to pay a fortune getting to a far away airport or spending 12 hours of your trip in transit. If you are looking to go away, but don’t have your heart set on a destination, Skyscanner is a really good tool to help to optimise your travel budget.

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