The Trick That Saved Me £300 on Flights to Slovenia

Have you noticed anything different around here? Well I really hope you have as this week has caused me nothing but stress and rage as I migrated my blog over to WordPress and finally take the plunge to go self-hosted. I’d love to say it was as easy a process as some blog posts led me to believe but well… it just wasn’t. I’m already head over heels in love with the features of WordPress though and I’m really regretting not ditching Blogger sooner. Hopefully you can bear with me while I iron out the glitches, weed out the dead links and sport this gnarly temporary theme over the next few weeks. It’s all very much a work in progress. But let’s be honest you came here for the money-saving hacks so we’ll just cut straight to that, shall we?

Advice on finding cheap flights to and within Europe in the summer and at peak times. No need to compromise on dates or change your destination!

When it comes to explaining how I afford to travel, there are three very basic pieces of advice I tend to dish out first:

  1. Travel off-peak
  2. Don’t be picky about where you travel to
  3. Travel with hand luggage only

The biggest challenge people face when trying to book budget travel is finding cheap flights so this advice is great if you’re happy to go with the best deal from Skyscanner’s ‘Everywhere’ function. But it doesn’t help much in the summer, at the weekend or in fact during any school holiday. A shame considering I’m engaged to a teacher and travelling anywhere off-peak is nigh on impossible for us.

I’m normally pretty happy to travel anywhere the cheap air fare takes me. I wanted to go to Berlin for my birthday but a weekend in Hamburg was half the price and I’d quite happily pick a Polish town I’ve never heard of over the likes of Prague and Amsterdam if it were cheaper. But this summer I had my heart set on Slovenia. I wanted to swim in the glacial waters of Lake Bled, hike through the mountains and spend lazy afternoons reading outside a summer cabin without a single soul to disturb me. Trouble was I wanted all of that in August when – as it turns out – so does the rest of Europe. So there I was about to drop more than £600 on two hand luggage only flights to Ljubljana for Tom and I when suddenly my brainwave struck!

Maybe the best way of finding cheap flights to Slovenia was to book a flight to neighbouring Croatia?! It sounds ridiculous but it was! SO much cheaper! In fact it was almost half the price – £300 cheaper (!) – to fly in and out of Zagreb. We’d just need to book a 2.5 hour, 20€ bus journey to take us from Zagreb to Ljubljana. That price included baggage for me to carry all the summer outfits I’d started planning weeks before we’d even booked the damn thing and we’d get to visit Croatia again! This plan was sounding better and better by the minute!

This isn’t the first time that this trick has worked for me. I’ve used it in reverse before too. When we flew to Athens in November (again during a school holiday) it worked out much cheaper for us to take a train down to London, stay overnight in a hotel and fly from Stansted the next morning than it would have done to take an indirect flight from Manchester. I always check flights from Liverpool, Leeds Bradford and London just in case.

It can be a ball ache and it won’t be practical every time, but I’ll take any extra Euros I can for my holiday shopping fund. A girl’s gotta look good while she’s stretched out on the balcony necking a bottle of cheap European wine y’know. When you think about it, it’s not all that different from taking a Ryanair flight to Milan, Brussels, Oslo or Barcelona and landing in the arse end of nowhere.

Would you ever use this method of saving money on air fare? Maybe you have some other tricks for finding cheap flights that you could share? Let us know in the comments!

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4 Responses

  1. Kaylea says:

    Stumbled upon your blog from a retweet. Love it! I’ve done this exact thing. I live 10 min from East Midlands but even factoring in petrol and parking for a weekend, it works out cheaper for me to fly from London. It worked out cheaper to fly from Manchester to Amsterdam a couple of years ago too. Love the blog! X

    http://www.willflirtforfood.co.uk

  2. Dan says:

    Hard work finding flight deals, just need time and patience normally! Well worth it in the end when you manage to get that deal! Normally if you can (depending on the type of trip), fly one way and flight out of another city – one way tickets tend to be much cheaper.

    Your readers will love my post where i talk about another search engine that saved me £100’s over the last 6 months on flights around Asia! http://iamdanelson.com/how-i-find-the-cheapest-flights/

    Keep up the awesome work!

  3. Flo says:

    Congrats on the move! You’ll have so much fun exploring all the plugins 🙂

    Great tips – if I have extra time I definitely look into flying into neighboring countries, especially if it’s in Europe!

  4. Alina says:

    600 pounds sounds like something you can go to Australia with, if you catch a good deal! Definitely too much to go to another European country. I agree about looking for cities close by – I have done the same, and often those bus trips let you see something wonderful on the way, for example, I saw sunflower fields through the window on my way from Vienna to Bratislava.
    In regards to Slovenia, I’ve only been once to Piran, and I hope I get to see Ljubljana some day too 🙂

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