Top Tips for Finding Cheap School Holiday Flights Online

I have found some bargain flights in my time - £10 flights to Poland in February Half Term, flights to Italy for £50 return during October Half Term and flights to France in the Summer Holidays for £60 return.  I am often asked where I find these flight deals so today I thought I would share a few top tips for keeping the cost down.

Scroll to the bottom of this post for 7 Easter Holiday flights for less than £50 per person.

Top Tips for Finding Cheap School Holiday Flights Online

My main tip is to use Skyscanner and to remain flexible. I seriously cannot believe how many people still book holidays without checking Skyscanner first.

1 - Be flexible on your destination 

It is possible to find good deals with a specific destination in mind but 9/10 you can find an even better deal by remaining flexible with destinations. I will go into this further below, but if you use the search everywhere function on skyscanner, you will be able to see which destinations are the cheapest to reach in one glance.

2 - Be flexible with the airport you fly from 

Top Tips for Finding Cheap School Holiday Flights Online

Our local airport is Newcastle and to be honest, it is rare that you will find an uber-cheap flight from there. I have no idea why but they never come up as one of the cheapest airports to fly from which is frustrating. Personally, I do not mind driving to other UK airports and flew from Stansted over October Half Term - the difference in price was astonishing!

Edinburgh, Leeds, Glasgow, Liverpool and Manchester airports are all within a 3 hour drive (or there abouts) and often have some cracking deals. Obviously, travel time and airport parking does need to be taken into consideration when it comes to the overall cost but as we only have to pay for one car yet there are usually 5 of us taking a flight, the savings made from flying from other airports are often more than worth it for us.

3 - Be flexible with holiday duration 

So many people are fixated with a 7, 10 or 14 day holiday. When booking flights, it really pays to be flexible if you are after a good deal. Sometimes staying for 6 or 8 nights can save you hundreds of pounds. Personally, I quite like a 6 night break as it gives the kids time to recover before going back to school and it doesn't feel so rushed.

4 - Do you really need all that luggage? 

Again, I feel it is a rather old-fashioned view that we need one suitcase per person. If I am traveling for a week, I can easily squeeze luggage for the 5 of us into two cases + hand luggage. If we are traveling somewhere for a short break, we usually just take hand luggage. It really helps to keep the overall cost down. If you do need cases, make sure you book in advance (preferably when you book your flights) for the best deal.

5 - Do not reserve seats together 

Top Tips for Finding Cheap School Holiday Flights Online

I never reserve seats together and we have always managed to sit together (with the exception of one set of flights which were booked two hours before departure and had no seats together as everyone else had already checked in). Just make sure you use online check in as soon as it is available and you should be fine (obviously there is a risk in doing this but it is one I am willing to take).

6 - Always check package deals too 

There are some fabulous package deals about - both online and in travel agents. Package deals do usually offer better protection so once you have your price for flights, transfer and accommodation, it is worth asking your local travel agents if they can match or better your price.

7 - Do you need to fly? 

Top Tips for Finding Cheap School Holiday Flights Online

It is not everyone's cup of tea but catching the Eurostar, booking through a coach company such as National Holidays or Siesta or driving your own car and catching a ferry/Eurostar can often work out to be a lot cheaper. We have travelled with Siesta to Spain and paid less than £200 pp for coach travel and accommodation for 10 nights in Spain and during our trip to Duinrell and Efteling last year, the DFDS ferry was almost 1/3 of the cost of flights. 

8 - Ask yourself what is non-negotiable  

For us, driving abroad from the airport in the middle of the night is something we will not do. I immediately discount any flights that would arrive after around 7pm (if we are hiring a car) as driving abroad at night is my least favourite thing to do - especially when we are trying to find somewhere.

9 - Consider taking a day off school 

Controversial I know, but often flying on the first day back after school holidays can reduce the cost significantly. We did this when flying back from Italy to Stansted d this year and saved so much money (plus a Monday was the only flight available).

How to Find Cheap Easter Holiday Flights with Skyscanner

I am using the following example to look for flights during the Easter Holidays which run from 3 April 2020 - 19 April 2020 for our school.

1 - Visit

2 - Complete the boxes as follows:

Top Tips for Finding Cheap School Holiday Flights Online

3 - Check out the search results 

Top Tips for Finding Cheap School Holiday Flights Online

If anywhere on the list tickles your fancy, click on the little blue arrow for more information. As you scroll down the list, the prices become more expensive. I have only shared the cheapest examples here for the purpose of this post.

I have always fancied Poland, when I click on the blue arrow, the following destinations (and more not shown) come up..... 

Top Tips for Finding Cheap School Holiday Flights Online

Top Tips for Finding Cheap School Holiday Flights Online

 4 - Research destination prices  

Now this takes a bit of time, but if you click the prices (from £23 for example), you can see which UK airports this flight leaves from and the prices for the month. Click on the cheapest prices which would work for your dates and airports you are happy to fly from.

This is a LONG process but it does work.

Check through all of the destinations you fancy with flight times that work for you from the airports you would be happy travelling from to draw up a shortlist. These prices do not include seat reservations or luggage and were checked on 9/1/20. Our shortlist from this particular search would be as follows.......

Finding Cheap School Holiday Flights for Easter 2020

  • Edinburgh - Gdansk (Poland) for £33 return
Top Tips for Finding Cheap School Holiday Flights Online

  • Edinburgh - Milan for £48 return 

  • Newcastle - Palma for £55 return 

  • Edinburgh - Venice for £48 return 

  • Edinburgh - Brussels for £39 return  

  • Edinburgh - Luxemburg for £51 return 

  • Liverpool - Porto (Portugal) for £41 return 

  • Manchester - Nantes (France) for  £40 return 

Sometimes, the return flight prices change depending on your departure date so if you really want to be savvy, it might be worth checking one-way flight prices once you have your shortlist. Remember to clear your cache/cookies regularly throughout the process and definitely before you finally click to book.  It is perfectly safe to click through and book straight from Skyscanner. When you click to book it will take you to the airline website to complete the transaction.

5 - Go through your shortlist & check prices for extras and accommodation

Once I have my shortlist, I work out the costs of any extras (car parking/luggage) and get a rough idea of how much accommodation is for each destination using something like  Poland is so much cheaper than Venice for example so would sway us.

6 - Check package deals & airlines direct

Once you have decided on the best deal, cross-reference the price with any package deals you may find and always check the airline website too (remember to clear your cookies first). Sometimes you may get a better deal.

So there you have a quick overview of how we find cheap flights and deals. I hope it has helped a little. Let me know if you have any tips to add.

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Top Tips for Finding Cheap School Holiday Flights Online


1 comment

  1. There are some great tips here and I shall be looking at flights at the end of January. It is so exciting having so many possibilities with travel, and so easy to do nowadays. Thank you for sharing!


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