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Looking to cruise overseas? Experts say now is the time to grab a cheap flight

If you’re wanting to cruise overseas, the signs are pointing towards now being the perfect time to get a cheap airfare.

Discussions on a cruise resumption in Australia continue to stall and if you’re fed up of waiting, there’s nothing stopping you from jumping on a flight to Europe or the USA and taking an international cruise. 

Skyscanner’s travel expert Brendan Walsh says it’s a good time to score a cut-price deal and leave yourself a bit of extra cash for treating yourself once you get to your destination.

“Strict restrictions  for international and inter-state travel combined with reduced capacity in Australia had a knock-on effect on ticket prices. As we start to see restrictions ease and additional regional travel corridors come into play, we expect to see more travel providers move capacity to serve the popular routes and compete for bookings with continued competitive prices.”

“Most providers will aim to keep fares low as they compete to win back travellers’ business once they can dust off their suitcases and return to the skies, as we’re already seeing with flash sales.”

“With demand from Australian travellers coupled with attractive pricing and some airlines extending flexible flying policies, this is providing the backdrop necessary to unlock consumer friendly travel, and it hopefully won’t be long to wait until we’re all planning that next dream trip again.”

With the UK ending all their COVID restrictions and the virus slowly steadying across Europe, it does appear that you might finally be able to feel that bit more secure if you’re hoping to book a trip overseas. If you’re looking to hit the Northern Hemisphere summer now is a great time to book according to the experts. 

Chrystal Zhang, an associate professor at RMIT and air travel expert says with the way flight prices work, it’s a great time to book now because international travel demand rises again.

“The most important factor is the demand, the airlines need to attract travellers back to fill their planes and are doing that now with lower, appealing prices.”

“As the demand builds up, it’s very likely that the price will go up.”

However, Ms Zhang does warn of picking up cheap fees that offer no booking flexibility is a risk in the current climate.

“However, the cheapest fares generally have the lowest flexibility, which might mean refunds and date changes are not allowed. So, you’ll need to be very certain about your travel plans.

If you’re not 100% sure of your future travel plans, you should protect yourself and pay more for the flexible fares. I would personally say right now that caution should be exercised.”

Ms Zhang also guides that direct flights aren’t always the cheapest, it could be worth weighing the risk of stopovers.

“Sometimes the direct flight is not the best price for the consumers. You can often save flying non-direct, however right now, you must balance that with the risk of transiting through multiple areas.”

Mz Zhang also says that the current deals to hot destinations might not stick around once the airlines get privy to Australians willingness to head overseas.

“Flight prices rising would be something I would anticipate. When the airline establishes that there is a demand to a particular destination in a particular period, they might increase the fares on these routes for this period.”

Ms Zhang also says booking ahead is the way to go, meaning that if you’re thinking of heading off somewhere in the middle of the year, now could be the time to go for it.

“Planning ahead is always good.

If as a traveller, you can identify a high demand in a particular season, then by booking ahead you can avoid the prices rising later.”

The deals

Flight prices are constantly changing and can vary a lot on what time of year you’re travelling, what airline you fly with and how flexible you can be with dates and stopovers, but for a general guide, here are some of the best deals going around at the moment. 

If you have a particular cruise you want to be there for, this will obviously limit your flexibility in booking, so you’ll want to plan well ahead of time to give yourself the best chance of getting a deal. 

Flights to major European cities from Australia have some great deals at the moment, with flights to Berlin getting as low $681 for return flights, or $1069 for return flights to London. There’s also great flight deals for Paris, getting as low as $1031 return and for Athens, from an extraordinary $760 return.

These flights generally leave from Sydney to Melbourne, but if there’s a cheaper option in a neighbouring city, you can often easily get a cheap connecting flight with Jetstar, Rex or even with new low-cost carrier Bonza. 

If you’re fiending to get on a cruise in Asia you can get return flights to Phuket from as low as $367 return or if you want to sail the pacific, there are Fiji flights from $384 return. There’s also plenty of low-cost flights to Singapore, where cruising has been back for well over a year, starting from $381 return.

If you’re looking more towards the US, there are flights to Honolulu for as little as $590 return, to New York from $1168 and to Los Angeles from $856 return. These prices are accurate from date of publication.

How to get yourself a deal

Skyscanner also shared some tips on how to find yourself the best price possible for your next international trip. 

  1. Be flexible with dates: Looking across multiple dates and even airports will maximize your chances of getting a good price. Flight prices are all about supply and demand, so on dates that are more popular, prices are likely to jump up. Even flying on less popular days of the week can end up scraping a good chunk off your price. 
  2. Mix and match: Remembering that fares don’t always have to be booked as return fares and you can mix and match on airlines throughout your flight path can net you serious savings. Skyscanner and other flight comparison sites will generally show you options for mix and match flights you can save big on.
  3. Be in the know: On Skyscanner or your platform of choice, you can set up a price alert for when flight prices drop or specific deals are on, you can simply select flights or destinations and get an email when prices go low.