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What a time to be alive! For our generation, cheap flights to Asia and travel in general have all of a sudden become very accessible. The price of flights has decreased, and our freedom to take advantage of them has massively increased! Travel is more accepted (expected, even!) than ever before, and we love it.

That being said, finding cheap flights is still not quite a walk in the park. It can be difficult to find cheap flights which suit your budget, timeline, and destination. It’s especially hard to do at the last minute, and with so many different airlines to consider and compare. In my experience, the most common deterring factor involved in making the decision to go on a long trip is simply finding affordable, practical flights. Many people get put off by routes made needlessly expensive and drawn-out by add-ons and excessive stopovers.
Given the extortionate fares and add-on fees that airlines try to impose, simply googling ‘cheap flights to Asia from A to B’ may not be enough to find what you are looking for anymore. Even though the likes of Skyscanner and Expedia can often yield affordable results, the routes advised are not always the most convenient.

Here’s How I Found Cheap Flights To Asia

On a recent search for one-way cheap flights to Asia (from Dublin to Bangkok) for a date two months in advance, I was originally presented with flight options for over €300.
This included stop-offs in both Copenhagen and in Dubai, one of which involved a 15-hour wait. It also included a self-transfer and a subsequent 5-hour wait in Dubai airport. All before any luggage, meal, seat or insurance add-on fees.

Cheapest option available? Apparently so!

Most practical? Definitely not.

So, what next?!

Redefining my search, I started again.

First I checked the available options from London – Bangkok, as London is easily accessible from Dublin via budget airlines. If there was a direct flight from London, I figured, surely it would be easier than the double stop-off, self-transferring, over-priced flight I was being shown by Skyscanner??

No such luck. The London – BKK flight involved a similar amount of stopovers, long waits and even some overnight self-connections – and they weren’t even that much cheaper.

Again, I redefined, and tried again. And again.

I noticed that Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Oslo, Dubai, Helsinki, and several other large International airports are common stopovers for flights from the UK and Ireland heading towards Asia. So I used this information to my advantage, narrowing down my search as I tried airport after airport, route after route.
Cheap flights

Why did I search for flights this way?

This was my way of trying to circumnavigate the automated systems the likes of Skyscanner and Expedia use, which often neglects to include budget airlines in their searches. Even if it means including overnight layovers, they also sometimes randomly link flights together as a single long-haul journey.

They seem to be tailored in a way that presents ‘cheap flights’ with often completely impractical stopover times, routes, and self-check-in requirements.

It didn’t bother me to have one self-transfer if it saved an 8-hour wait in an airport and €150. I didn’t mind booking two separate flights with separate airlines instead of a long-haul flight with one if it worked out cheaper in the long-run.

Getting from A to B for as little as possible was all I wanted.

In the end, I found a direct flight to Bangkok from Copenhagen for €162!
Ryanair don’t do cheap flights to Asia. But they DO sell cheap flights directly from Dublin – Copenhagen, which I secured for €40! This brought my final flight expenditure to just over €200, including baggage fees and taxes.

Final Tally for my flight to Asia

My final itinerary involved one single self-transfer, and a two-hour wait in Copenhagen airport. This gave me time to calmly navigate my self-transfer and check in with the second airline (Norwegian Air). All of this while happy in the knowledge that I’d saved at the very least €85 and an 8-hour layover. This was achieved simply by doing my research on cheap flights to Asia and being flexible about the route and airline options!
What I took from all of this financially is that it’s worth spending the money on a long-haul flight for comfort’s sake. For regional or shorter transfers between nearby countries however, it’s easier to accept mediocre levels of comfort if it will get you where you need to go.

Cheap Flights, Even Cheaper Nights: Why This Matters for Budget Backpackers

Cheap flights
The €85 I saved on flights to Thailand could alternatively have gone towards:

  • 17 nights of dorm bed accommodation in hostels (at an average of €5 a night)
  • 42.5 meals (at an average of €2 a meal)
  • 106 short tuk-tuk rides around Bangkok (at an average of 30 Baht/€0.80 per trip)

Wow. I don’t do maths, and I knew Southeast Asia was cheap, but traveling has definite helped me get better at keeping track of where my money goes! One of the main things I have learned is that there are always other ways around things and solutions to issues you might not consider in the first place.

Finding Cheap Flights is Worth Your While

I wrote this post simply to prove that it’s worth doing your research to help you save money and find cheap flights to Asia.
We all splurge here and there, and it’s very easy to get caught out by tauts targeting tourists and websites promising ‘cheap flights’. Too often they fail to mention the additional costs of your journey. Even though haggling isn’t always the proper etiquette to engage with in Southeast Asia (something you should always check beforehand), there is always room to save money if you make yourself aware of where it’s going. This starts before you even leave – when you book your flights.

Other Things to Consider When Looking for Cheap Flights to Asia:

1. Fly Midweek

Avoid weekend/holiday fees by booking your flight on a Tuesday! Statistics have proven that flights are generally more expensive at the weekends and on the days leading up to them (Thursday, Friday), so minimize the weekend-rush and added prices by flying midweek. Be sure too to check if there are holidays in your destination during your visit – this may also add to fares and your ability to find cheap flight options.

2. Keep luggage to a minimum by packing wisely

It’s a lot easier said than done, but keep your luggage to an absolute bare minimum to avoid paying for additional baggage fees that can often add up to extortionate amounts. Many airlines like to disguise their flights as ‘cheap’ without mentioning the often necessary add-on purchases of baggage, seats or meals, so just be sure to be aware what you’re signing up for! Not sure what to cut from your precious cargo? Check out our list of Things You Do NOT Need to Bring Backpacking.

3. BYO Snacks!

This one’s for those ultimate budget-travellers amongst you (I’m one of you!). Bring your own snacks/meals instead of paying for add-ons. Let’s face it – plane food sucks, or is really just barely edible at the best of times. How many times have you felt bloated, uncomfortable, and just a bit disgruntled after consuming mystery trays of tinfoil-sealed food on board? Save more money (and your body!) by pre-packing meals and snacks. You’ll not only save money, but you’ll feel a million times better and lessen the impact of jet lag and post-flight sluggishness.

4. Refresh your browser history

If you’ve been continually checking the price of one flight route, most flight search engines will remember it. Go incognito and delete all past searches, or use a different browser. This actually happens, so either use different devices or delete your history between searches – you’ll save a surprising amount!

More Helpful Articles on Finding Cheap Flights to Asia

Still not convinced it’s possible to book cheap flights to Asia!? Here are some other resources to help you in your search:

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