How to Find Cheap Flights for your Gap Year

Published 12/04/2018

Finding flights for your next adventure can often seem like a daunting task. It can also be the most time consuming process of booking your trip or gap year. With so many flight comparison websites and offers available, prices can vary dramatically, so ensuring you get a good deal can often seem like mission impossible.

Planning a gap year should be all about getting excited about what you’re about to embark on, not spending hours in front of a computer screen, getting stressed on flight comparison websites.

So, what can you do to ensure you don’t miss out on an amazing deal?

The tips below aren’t guaranteed to offer cheaper flights but in our experience and from advice we’ve found along the way, they are worth doing, just to make sure you don’t miss out on cheaper flights.

Tips for Finding Cheap Flights for a Gap Year

  • Clear your cookies or use private browsing – Coincidence or not, there’s no harm in trying – clear your cookies after spending a day searching for flights. We’ve noticed flight prices increasing the more research we’ve done. If possible, try even logging out of Google and Facebook, and searching from a different computer or using incognito browsing so your search history doesn’t impact what you’re seeing.


  • VPN – A what? A VPN, also known as a “virtual private network” can allow you to access the internet via another network, e.g. from another country. This means websites think you are accessing it from that country and just may well display you with different prices. This does need a bit of computer skills but for the very budget-conscious traveller, every little helps!


  • Loyalty programmes – Sign up to every loyalty programme you can. It takes 2 minutes and will mean you start acquiring travel points. Within a few trips, you’ll soon find yourself master of the land with deals, and offers on future flights and hotels. If you’ve got a busy gap year planned, these loyalty programmes could be worth a lot. allows you to manage and exchange points acquired through travelling. Pretty nifty, eh?


  • Beware of hidden fees – Sometimes cheap flights can include outrageous baggage fees or other unexpected charges. For accurate comparisons of flights, make sure you read and re-read all the terms and conditions.


  • Flexibility – Flexibility is a key element to finding the cheapest flights. If you can be slightly flexible in when you travel, you often have more options. Skyscanner recently published a blog discussing the latest trends they’ve found from analysing 3 years worth of flight data. This shows Mondays being the best day to book flights and Saturday being the worst. Friday was seen as the cheapest day to fly and Sunday was the most expensive.


  • Buy at the Right Time – As illustrated by Skyscanner’s recent data, the day you book your flights can impact price (as well as the day your fly). is a great app that helps provide recommendations on when to press “checkout” and purchase your tickets.


  • Round the world tickets – If you intend to stop off in multiple places on a gap year, you may be able to save a lot of money by buying a round the world ticket. Buying each leg of your journey can get expensive, so often you can find great deals and offers, specifically designed for gap year style adventures.


  • Don’t only use flight comparison websites – Don’t assume that price comparison websites will always show the best deals. Sometimes, going directly to a flight operator website can actually be the cheapest option. This is particularly the case if big airlines have sales. It’s also not uncommon for big airlines to make mistakes and accidentally release tickets at a massively discounted rate on their websites.  Nevertheless, websites like SkyScanner, Hopper and Kayak are always worth including in a search for the best flights.


  • Fly via big airport hubs – Skyscanner’s recent research also showcased that lots of flights leaving the big airports were often the best prices. It’s also worth noting that some airports, e.g. Amsterdam, offer connections to a huge array of places, so searching for flights out of there may give you a wealth of new options. Again, the price comparison websites can often miss these options.


  • Break up the journey – If your journey involves a transfer, see if it works out cheaper by buying each leg of the journey individually. This works best if you stay in each place en route for a few days (and avoids potentially missing connections). This would be particularly useful for long haul flights.

Flight operators keep their pricing models close to their chests and don’t reveal too much about what happens behind closed doors, but by following the steps above, you may just find yourself making some substantial savings next time you’re looking to book flights.

If you have any tricks of your own, let us know and we’d love to add them to this article.

Planning a Gap Year?

Are you planning a gap year or looking for something meaningful to do on your travels?

If so, discover what a Think Pacific project involves and see if it could be the perfect addition to your time abroad.

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