If you are like me, whenever I want to fly somewhere, I always wonder if other people are getting a cheaper flight and by how much cheaper it is. Don’t you wish that airlines just operated set prices for everyone all-year round?
How can I Find the Cheapest Flight to Taiwan? You find yourself the cheapest flights by being patient, learning some search secrets and by being flexible in your dates, your routing and your departure and arrival locations.
This is not a quick, easy question to answer. It is best approached in stages. Some techniques help no matter where your destination is, and I will cover those first. Secondly there is information that is applicable just to Taiwan. Get yourself a coffee and let me help you to find the cheapest flight to Taiwan!
Do any web search on finding cheap flights and you will find myths and secrets to get you the cheapest airfares. I have found that none of the following myths have any truth in them. But, hey! If you want to try them go ahead, all you have to lose is time and your sanity, right?
• Buying last minute is cheaper.
• Using an incognito browser window will prevent companies gradually increasing the price to force you to panic buy.
• Buying your tickets on a Tuesday is not cheaper.
• It is almost impossible to predict ticket prices despite websites that claim they can.
• Just going to the airport with your bags and trying to buy a super last minute ticket to anywhere.
Maybe years ago there was some truth in those myths, but now the airline business so very cutthroat. Airline companies pricing is based on many, many factors such as the time of year, how many remaining seats they have and how much their competitors are charging. Special tactics are not going to work. Patience and research will serve you better.
Preparation is key
This is very important!
Take the stress out of the process by getting ready for the battle! You have probably experienced the dizzying sensation that sets in after searching for the best priced tickets. You start to feel tired and frustrated that you didn’t find what you were looking for. Then you start to double guess yourself, “I’m sure that price was cheaper five minutes ago!”
The airfare is possibly the biggest cost of your trip so take these steps and precautions:
- Set aside time to do this. Don’t expect to just sit down and have it done in five minutes. It does happen sometimes though!
- Don’t search when you are tired. You will get ratty and make mistakes.
- Get your tools in place before you start. This is crucial.
- Make a list of destinations that you would prefer to visit.
- Research airlines that fly in and out of your destinations.
- Make clear organised bookmarks in your browser.
- Have a notepad and pencil next to your computer and use it to record your findings. You can do this digitally if you prefer. I like to start the page by writing down my budget for the flights and then some destinations.
- Make your technology work for you! Most of us have access to a computer and a tablet or smartphone. Use the computer for performing the searches and use your tablet for looking at maps of destinations. Use google earth or similar.
- Have a cup of your favourite beverage nearby. Oh, snacks too! This could take a while.
Experiment with times and dates
You probably have an idea of when you want to travel and for how long. Maybe you have fixed vacation periods or other factors. Try to discuss this with your workplace if you need to arrange time off. If you can start your search with a range of available dates it will be much better than to fly out and return on fixed days.
Research your seasons and dates. Remember that national holidays vary dramatically between countries. The same goes for school holidays, which should be avoided like the plague. For those visiting Taiwan, try to book a flight during the Chinese New Year and you will see what I mean!
Everyone prefers to fly at weekends so guess when flights are more expensive? Did you answer, “At weekends?” You were both right and wrong. Businessmen travel during the week so often Monday and Friday flights fill up fastest. This can make prices rise.
The key here is to experiment, never assume anything
Keep an open mind on destination and departure airports. (Unless you are going to Taiwan!)
If you are one of the unlucky ones that have fixed vacation periods, then you are probably cursing me now, but fear not. The next best thing to flexible dates is open-mindedness about your destination.
The internet, ah! What a wonderful invention, airline search engines can search everywhere. You no longer have to keep typing in different destinations. You enter in your choice of departure airport and search away!
It’s a fact that you can’t always fly from anywhere to anywhere. Your departure airport will have a major impact on both your destination options and the price. Most of us a blessed with access to multiple airports. You can often save money if you are prepared to travel a bit further to start your journey. (I hope you have that notepad at the ready!)
Keep this thought in your mind during your search process, “There is always a special deal going to somewhere!”
Choose budget carriers first
The skies were once the domain of the large expensive airlines. Thankfully (I think), we now have many budget airlines.
It’s seems that no matter where you are flying there will be the option of a budget airline for all or part of the journey. This means that there are incredible deals to be found. Europe to the USA for $100, there are flights around Asia for a similar price point.
Top Tip – Getting to Asia can be expensive so maximise the experience. The Taiwanese like to visit Japan, China and South Korea, so there are many cheap flights to be had. Why not extend your itinerary to take in more countries?
**Warning! They are budget airlines for a reason. They have cut costs to a minimum. This means that you often have to check in online and print off your own tickets. With some airlines, failure to do so will result in you being charged extra fees. Also check things like baggage allowance very carefully. You don’t want to have any nasty surprises at the airport.
Here are two lists. First are general budget airlines and second those that service Taiwan
You can find out which airlines fly to an airport by checking the airport’s website.
Top Tip- If you want to see the direct flights that come out of any airport try this – Flight Connections
Global Budget Airlines
Budget airlines are here to stay! They can give you lower prices even if they make you
|Ryanair||Ireland / UK|
|Norwegian Air Shuttle ASA||Norway|
|Fly Dubai||United Arab Emirates|
|Air Arabia||United Arab Emirates|
Taiwan Specific Info
Here is the lowdown about flying to Taiwan. I have provided you with a list of the airports you can fly to and the airlines that operate out of those airports.
|Major Airports||ICAO||IATA||Nearest City|
|Taoyuan International Airport||RCTP||TPE||Taipei|
|Kaohsiung International Airport||RCKH||KHH||Kaohsiung|
|Intermediate Airports||ICAO||IATA||Nearest City/Town|
|Taichung International Airport||RCMQ||RMQ||Taichung|
|Minor Airports||ICAO||IATA||Nearest City/Town|
|Matsu Nangang Airport||RCFG||LZN||Matsu Nangang|
|Matsu Beigan Airport||RCMT||MFK||Matsu Beigan|
|Lanyu Airport||RCLY||KYD||Lanyu (Orchid Island)|
|Qimei Airport||RCCM||CMJ||Qimei (Penghu)|
|Wangan Airport||RCWA||WOT||Wang’an (Penghu)|
|Pingtung Airport||RCSQ||PIF||Pingtung (May be closing)|
|Hengchun Airport||RCKW||HCN||Hengchun (Pingtung)|
Treat a stopover as a mini break
If time is not a significant concern, then you can consider the option of indirect flights. Cheaper flights can often be found this way. The idea is that you split your journey into multiple sections. Sometimes the stop-over can be long enough to enjoy the sites of the city
Never allow less than 3 hours between connections that are booked as separate tickets. Should you be delayed and miss the second flight, it could mean additional costs
Try different search methods
I encourage you to take some time to research the available search tools. None of them are perfect and getting a feel for how they work and the services they offer can not only provide you with better prices but also make the process feel less stressful as you won’t be second guessing yourself.
These are just some of the options available. I urge you to look for more. Perhaps there are sites that work better for your location. Not all of those sites will check budget airlines so be thorough and do your homework.
Students – Use your student status to save!
If you are a student or are younger than 26 then use that to get better deals. You will often be able to get substantially lower prices and find deals that are not available elsewhere. Do a search for “student discount flights or travel”.
Join frequent flyer programs
I used to work as an engineer and I spent a lot of my time in the air. It is definitely worth joining up with rewards programs. There are many alliances now that cover multiple airlines such as Star Alliance. I had their top level card and you get many benefits if you travel a lot. You can often use the airport lounge services and get through security faster. The only downside is that airlines always offer much higher points to those travelling in business or first class. It can take a while to amass enough points to be worthwhile if you always fly in the cheap seats.
Incidentally the same applies to hotel chains. If you are travelling a lot try to find a hotel that you like and stick with them. My favourite is Marriott. The top level reward card gives you many benefits such as free upgrade to the best room, free business lounge often with food and drink, and a welcome hamper with wine upon arrival.
Look out for special offers
OK, admittedly, nobody like to get a load of spam emails but by joining the mailing lists of airlines and websites you will get sent some amazing deals.
Top Tip – Set up a special email account for all of these mails. This way you will not go crazy by having them mixed in with your important daily mail.
If you follow the above tip you can check for deals when you want to without too much stress. Here are a couple that I recommend:
Don’t buy tickets as a group
Airlines often price their seats differently. So if you book 4 seat together you may end up with one of those expensive seats. This will bump up the overall price to that of the most expensive seat. Search for just one person then afterwards during check-in, choose your seats together.
Note: some airlines are now charging you if you want to choose seats early. Be sure to check for this.
Exchange rates can be your friend
It’s worth checking other countries versions of airline websites to see if the same flight works out cheaper in other currencies. I have seen flights booked in Taiwan Dollars can work out cheaper than booking in Pound Sterling or US Dollars. Be sure to factor in transaction fees or use a card that has no foreign transaction fee.
Book at the right time
If you have the luxury of being able to start your search many months in advance it is wise to perform multiple searches over time, to get a feeling for the way the prices are moving. Prices will change based on demand. Don’t wait until the last moment to book! Usually there is a sweet spot between 6 weeks and 3 months depending on the season. Other studies I have read say that the best time is 70 days before departure.
How far in advance can I book a flight? – It’s typically 11 months but there is no evidence that buying early will be cheaper!
The process of booking airline ticket is always a little stressful. Hopefully these tips will help you with that. Please don’t think that you should be spending hours and hours looking for the best prices (unless you enjoy that). I do recommend that you spend time setting up your search environment and system so that all the websites you want to use can be easily found. If you are spending time performing web searches looking for places to buy tickets then this will become tiring fast.
Follow the guidelines above and you should get a fantastic deal! Don’t second guess yourself, if the price seems reasonable then go for it! Don’t be thinking all the time, “Am I getting the cheapest ticket?”
What will my typical baggage allowance be?
For long haul flights, it is usually 30kg. But budget airlines may cut this down significantly. Always double check with your airline if you are travelling with heavy items.
Will I need to get a visa for Taiwan?
It depends on your nationality, most nationals can stay up to 90 days without a visa. Always check this before with your government’s travel advice.
Tip– You should be given a form to complete on the plane that you need to give to Taiwanese immigration. It requests your usual information such as name, address, passport number, profession and the address where you will be staying in Taiwan. You can prepare this information in advance to save time when the form arrives. If you do not get the form ask a flight assistant.
Which Taiwanese airport should I fly into?
This is a good question! When booking flights you should have already checked for the best prices. Don’t always assume that Taipei is the best though.