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What are some tricks you use to buy cheap airline tickets in Europe?

I am looking for general tips on finding cheap air tickets (particularly within Europe, but global tips are welcome too).

One possibility is checking general search sites such as Kayak and Expedia. This is the easy way, but these sites don't always give cheap results because they do not work with do not support transfer with low cost airlines such as RyanAir. The next try would be checking if some low cost airlines such as RyanAir and WizzAir fly between the cities I'm interested in, and try to match up flights when I need to transfer (e.g. WizzAir is strong in Eastern Europe and RyanAir flies mainly within western Europe, so if I want to get from Eastern Europe to a not extremely popular destination in Western Europe, e.g. Romania -> Malta, I often need to transfer as there are no cheap direct flights). This is usually a lot of work (especially matching the flights with a safe transfer time --- lately RyanAir doesn't even show which days of the week a certain flight is available, and when I click through all days of the week in their calendar they start showing me CAPTCHAs). Then there's the problem that I simply don't know about all the low cost airlines that are available. Recently someone tipped me off about SmartWings which seemed to be useful for my destination at that time, but I have never even heard of this company before.

I hope this explanation makes the difficulties faced by someone who's not that experienced clear. I often end up spending a lot of time, and later someone can still point me to a better solution than what I have found. Unfortunately I needed to move around a lot on a low budget lately, so now I'm a bit better at finding good solutions. But I think I could still learn from more experienced people.

So, how do you usually go about chasing down the cheapest way to go from point A to point B? I'm interested in non-air-travel as well (train, bus, boat), but these days trains are not necessarily cheaper and I really really don't want to spend 20+ hours on a bus any more.

  • @Mark Well, if there are no better answers for some time, you might as well mark as duplicate of the second one.. (though the UK is a destination I'm not usually interested in because of visa troubles for my so)
    – Szabolcs
    Mar 13, 2012 at 9:11


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