Travel Hacks: How to score cheap flight tickets from Singapore?
No one wants to pay an arm and a leg for airfares (be it for your short weekend getaways, or your long-haul European / Scandinavian / US trips)! With our experiences camping and stalking various airlines' websites prior to booking our air tickets, here are some travel hacks that you can consider to score cheap flight tickets for your next travel adventure!
1. Definitely look at low cost carriers (Jetstar, Scoot, Air Asia) if you want to reduce cost for your travels.
The rule of thumb when travelling to nearby countries (below 5 hours) is to book low cost carriers. For flights below 5 hours, you probably wouldn't need the amenities and services that full fledge carriers provide (meals, drinks, entertainment). Instead, bring your own bottle, sneak in a chocolate bar or two, and bring a book or your tablet with downloaded netflix shows for entertainment.
That being said, sometimes the full-fledge carriers also do offer some great deals that may be cheaper or just slightly more than the budget airlines. For instance, Cathay Pacific sometimes has 198 SGD round-trip flights (Singapore to Hong Kong). Singapore Airlines may also have such early-bird or two-to-go sales where we managed to get our tickets to Korea for only about 570 SGD (versus non-sale low cost carrier fares at 500 SGD).
2. Compare across airlines via Skyscanner!
I always do this BEFORE I book my flight tickets! Besides Jetstar, Scoot, and Air Asia, there are also some other low-cost carriers that fly to your destination such as Lion Air (if you travelling to Thailand). Since there are just too many airlines to check through them one-by-one, a fast way is to look through Skyscanner to check for the cheapest airlines!
Pro tip: Sometimes booking two one-way trips from different airlines may be cheaper than a round trip ticket (Do your homework and check the miscellaneous fees before booking because Skyscanner sometimes do not include those fees into the price!).
3. Know WHEN there will be sale fares!
Know when the weekly sale fares are:
Scoot's Take-off Tuesday
Jetstar's Friday Fare Frenzy
Or sign up for their newsletter for Black Friday Deals, Hari Raya Sales, or any other sales and promotions that they have. If you have flexible travel dates and do not mind travelling under short notice, the first flight to a new destination usually has insane deals! To find out more about this, sign up for airlines newsletters or simply read the news!
- Swiss Air fares from Singapore to Zurich cost about 700 SGD
- Norwegian Air fares from Singapore to Norway cost about 700 SGD
- Scoot Air fares from Singapore to Hawaii cost about 500 SGD
* Do note that some of these sales fares may no longer be available!
4. Avoid flying to popular cities when travelling to Europe!
Heading to European cities can be affordable too! With the increasingly competitively-priced air tickets, you can get to Europe for under 800 SGD! Where possible, be open to the cities that you fly to and once you are in Europe, there are also various budget airlines such as EasyJet and RyanAir to take you to your dream destination. For instance, we managed to get air tickets to Lisbon on Swiss Air during the peak December travel month for about 1000 SGD. Even though it wasn't quite our first choice destination, we had an amazing time there and still managed to head to our choice destination via the European low-cost-carriers!
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5. Travel during the off-peak season where possible!
We hate squeezing in crowds, so as far as possible we would travel during the off-peak seasons. Off-peak seasons doesn't just mean the non-school holidays, it could also include the transition in-between seasons. Many countries that enjoy four seasons have a plethora of seasonal activities such as skiing during winter, sakura season during spring, et cetera. When you travel during the transitions, you'll experience less crowds, more affordable hotel rates, and definitely cheaper air tickets.
We managed to snag cheap tickets to Hokkaido during the transition between autumn and winter. Although we didn't manage to go skiing because many of the ski resorts aren't open yet, about 200 SGD for a round-trip direct flight from Singapore to Hokkaido on Scoot was still extremely worth it! :) We still managed to experience the beautiful powder snow!
There was also another time where we visited Europe before the peak summer month! Not only did we manage to enjoy more of the attractions to ourselves, the weather was still cool and sunny! We were also fortunate to see an almost-empty Niagara Falls during our visit to the United States of America. Besides the change in seasons, each city and country may also have different peak periods, so do a quick google search to be sure!
So, unless you are heading for season-specific activities (e.g. Skiing / Snowboarding), go during transitions and off-peaks!
6. When paying for Low Cost Carriers' flights tickets, choose to use the offline payment methods (e.g. AXS machines) as this would mean you pay less processing fee.
Scoot: AXS processing fee ($5) vs Credit card processing fee ($20) for return tickets
Jetstar: Singpost processing fee ($3) vs Credit card processing fee ($16) for return tickets
Air Asia: Debit card processing fee ($4) vs Credit card processing fee ($16) for return tickets
This makes a huge difference when purchasing cheap tickets as $20 for a $200 ticket is a 10% markup! But if you really have to pay by credit cards (e.g. sale fares sometimes do not allow you to pay via the offline means), choose one that you can also get rebates or air miles!
7. Travel with ONE carry-on bag
As much as you can, travel with only one carry-on bag. It makes more financial sense and it definitely helps you to save time as well when you do not have to wait for your check-in bag at the conveyor belt. (For more benefits of travelling with one carry-on bag, read: 5 advantages to travelling with only one luggage)
It is definitely possible to head to winter countries or even for a month-long European / Scandinavian / USA trip with just ONE luggage. We did it, and so can you!
8. Refrain from including food, seat selections, and other extras to get the best deal.
What we noticed for Scoot flights is that they serve meals right after the seatbelt signs go off. We felt that it defeats the purpose of adding in-flight meals as most travellers would likely have their meal right before boarding. Instead, even though it may be more expensive to do so, you can decide when you want to eat when you purchase the food during the flight itself.
During our six-hour flight to Hokkaido on Scoot, we had no choice but to order food mid-way during their flight. Sometimes, cup noodles also may be more yummy than the preordered food (#justsaying). We managed to eat lots of junk food during our 8 hour flight back and avoided ordering anything on the flight, and I must say that the onigiris, chips and chocolates really saved us!
Do however take note that you have to do this secretly because you technically aren't allowed to bring your own food up the plane! (oops)
For seat selections, we learnt that you should still be able to get seats with your group even though you have not made a prior booking. This could either be through requesting it during check-in, or to make swaps with travellers on the flight itself. We have yet to face problems with this so far and not paying for seats can help you save tens of dollars.
Even though there were so many times when I was tempted to upgrade my seat to business (for an extra $80) on the flight, DO NOT FALL FOR THIS! For a $200 flight, paying $80 for a one way upgrade = 40% markup. With this in mind, I managed to suppress my urge to call the flight attendant for an upgrade.
With these, we hope you'll be able to snag cheap tickets for your next holiday! Share with us your cheap air tickets travel hacks!