The biggest part of almost every travel budget is the cost of airfare – so if you can reduce what you spend on your airline ticket you’ll give yourself more breathing room for things like an extra day trip or a bit more souvenir shopping. The trouble is that when you try to learn about the tricks to find cheap airfare you end up finding things that are fairly general and therefore well-known, or that don’t apply to the destination you want to visit.
That’s why we’re presenting these tips for getting cheap flights to Schiphol – so you can find out what really helps reduce the overall price of airfare to Amsterdam. Some of this may already be familiar to you, but hopefully this list is comprehensive enough that everyone from travel newbies to road warriors will find something useful here.
How to Find Cheap Flights to Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam
Timing is Important
Perhaps the most important element in finding a great fare is timing. Some of this comes down to good planning on your part, and some of it comes down to what you’re willing to deal with in order to save money.
- Shoulder/Off-Season Travel – The cheapest flights into Schiphol will be in Amsterdam’s off-season (typically winter), but since the weather isn’t great at that point you might not be willing to sacrifice sun for cost savings. If that’s the case, look into the shoulder seasons of spring and fall. The weather won’t be as nice as summer, but the cost will usually be quite a bit less than the summer high season. In terms of bang-for-your-buck, you can’t get much better than the shoulder seasons.
- Be Flexible – This is one of the best ways to save money when you fly anywhere, so you’ve probably seen this advice before. The more broad you can make your search terms when you begin looking for flights to Schiphol, the better your chances of finding a special discounted fare. Many sites have a “my dates are flexible” option near the search box – make sure that’s checked to get the best results.
- Flying Mid-Week – Conventional wisdom says that Wednesday is the cheapest day to fly, but that Saturday is next best. That’s true for domestic travel, but Saturday can be quite costly if you’re flying internationally. When booking any international trip, start your search with mid-week flights (both for the trip there and the trip home) – particularly Wednesday, but Tuesday and Thursday are often good, too.
- Say Yes to Long Layovers – The more hassle that’s wrapped into your travel day, the cheaper your flight is likely to be. This means that adding a connection or putting up with a longer layover than you’d like might save you quite a bit on airfare.
- Stay Less than 90 Days – This won’t be a problem for the average vacationer, but it’s worth mentioning that the prices on flights will jump dramatically if you’re planning to stay longer than 90 days in a place. If it’s a backpacking trip through Europe that you’re planning, with flights in and out of Schiphol, you’ll likely save money if you keep yourself to a slightly-less-than-three-month trip.
- Book 3-6 Weeks in Advance – As soon as you know you’ll be taking a flight, it’s a very good idea to sign up for email alerts for your route so you’ll know what the going rate is and when the price fluctuates. But don’t get panicky and book your flight to Schiphol four months before your trip – chances are good the prices will drop enough that you’ll regret it. You should target booking your trip roughly 3-6 weeks before your intended travel date, unless you happen to notice a major sale going on (and you’ll know it’s major because you signed up for those email alerts months ago!).
Use the Right Tools
Thankfully, the days of doing all the legwork – or handing over control to a travel agent – are gone. Today there are tools you can use to make searching for flights to Schiphol easier, and make finding cheap flights quicker.
- Kayak & Other Aggregators – You probably know that you don’t have to visit the website of every single airline that flies to Schiphol in order to get all the potential flight information, but you may not know that some aggregator search sites are better than others. Kayak is a favorite among many seasoned travelers, so you might want to check with them in addition to sites like Expedia, Orbitz, and Travelocity to see who comes up with the best deals. And don’t overlook Priceline‘s ability to outshine all the others, as it does occasionally.
- Consolidator Airfare Sites – Among all the searching you’ll do for a cheap flight, be sure to include a consolidator airfare site on your list. Sometimes the prices will be comparable to what you’ll find elsewhere, and often you’ll find significant savings. It’s always worth checking. Here you can check the most recent airfare to Amsterdam on this consolidator site.
Check Alternate Options
If you remember the earlier point about being flexible, then this won’t come as a surprise to you – the more options you consider for your trip, the more chance you’ll find a less-obvious deal.
- Budget Airlines – You know all the big carriers, but sometimes the little guys have better deals. This isn’t always the case, of course, but if you’re hunting for bargains it’s always worth looking. Do some research on the budget airlines that fly into Amsterdam – airlines like Air Berlin, bmibaby, easyJet, Flybe, and Vueling Airlines. They may not fly directly from your home airport, but if you’ve got a couple layovers en route to Schiphol anyway, you could consider switching to one of these budget airlines midway to save money.
- Alternate Airports – Yes, your goal is to get to Amsterdam, and the best way to do that is via Schiphol Airport – but if there were better deals on flights to other airports within a reasonable distance of Schiphol, would that be enough to make you look? You might find deals on flights to Rotterdam, Brussels, or Düsseldorf – and you can then hunt for a super-cheap flight on one of those budget airlines that flies to Schiphol (or a train into Amsterdam) to complete the journey. You can also look for cheap flights into big European hubs like London, Paris, or Frankfurt and catch a cheap flight to Schiphol from there.