When I decided to study abroad in Ireland, I was determined to find the cheapest possible flight. After about two weeks of searching practically every airfare service on the Web, I met that goal. Not only did a find an incredibly cheap flight, I also learned 5 essential tips every traveler should know before booking a flight to Ireland. Here they are:
1. Book Your Flight Far In Advance
As a general rule, the cost of a flight increases the closer you get to the departure date. For the sake of illustration, I searched cheap flights to Ireland out of Columbus, Ohio (my airport) for two different departure dates. The first date I searched was one week from now and the lowest rate available was $1,012. The second departure date was two months from now with a lowest rate of $539. The lesson is obvious: Book your flight as soon as you can, and you’ll get to Ireland cheaper.
2. Fly Out of a Major International Hub If Possible
If you live near a city like Chicago, Boston, L.A., or New York where international flights constantly come and go, you have a huge advantage. Flying directly out of these cities will save you hundreds of dollars – and your flight to Ireland will be conveniently non-stop. Even if you live closer to a smaller airport, consider driving a few extra hours to a major city and flying to Ireland from there. It may be worth it.
3. Remember The One Airline That’s Nearly Always The Cheapest.
I booked my own flight to Ireland about thre weeks in advance, and you wouldn’t believe how thorough my search was. But no matter where I looked, American Airlines’ flights seemed to always be the cheapest. Check out their website and see for yourself. Keep in mind that the cheapest airline will vary with your departure city. If you live in Atlanta, Delta may give you the best option for a cheap flight. If you live in New York, Aer Lingus may be the cheapest. Just check around, and keep these tips in mind as you do.
4. Beware of Discount Airfare Websites
Sometimes the cheapest flights to Ireland can be found on discount airfare websites like Expedia or Travelocity. However, I recommend only using them for comparison purposes. Once you’ve decided on a particular flight, book it straight from the actual airline’s website. My reasons for this lie mainly in customer service issues. Airlines are often hesitant or unwilling to help you in the event of a problem (needing to change dates, etc.) if your ticket was not purchased from them directly. One of my good friends purchased his flight to Ireland through Expedia. I purchased mine directly from American Airlines. He saved about $50, but when we decided to stay in Ireland for a few extra weeks to travel at the end of the semester, he wasn’t able to change his return flight date – and I was.
5. Consider a One-Way Flight
(And See Two Countries For the Price of One)
One very cool alternative option is to purchase a one-way flight to Ireland, and book your return flight from another country in the U.K. or Europe. Am I crazy? Well, maybe a little. But hear me out. Ryanair, a no-frills Irish airline, offers unbelievably cheap flights between Ireland and dozens of other countries. How cheap? I used Ryanair to fly from Dublin to Venice, Italy for less than $15 one-way. Just in case you aren’t catching my drift, take a look at the numbers: https://hicanha.com/kinh-nghiem-du-lich-phu-quoc/
o One-way cheap flight to Ireland: $300
o One-way Ryanair flight from Dublin to Venice: $15
o One-way return ticket from Italy to U.S.A.: $300
Total Cost of Flights: $615
Think about it. You’re going to be paying for food, accommodation, and entertainment no matter where you are. The only potential added expense of this scenario is the extra one-way flight…which ends up not being an added expense at all. The only real difference is that you get to visit two countries for the price of one! If your vacation is scheduled to last 7 days, I recommend that you spend 4-5 days in Ireland, then the last 2-3 days in another U.K or European country of your choice. Just something to think about!