How to Find Cheap Airfare to Edinburgh Festival Fringe

by Jessica

May 4th, 2010

fringe3Edinburgh is probably the most popular place to visit in Scotland at any time of the year, but during the Edinburgh Festival Fringe the city explodes with hundreds of thousands of people who flood in from all over the world to take place in the biggest arts festival on earth.

Getting tickets to the events isn’t as hard as you’d think – there are performances going on all day every day for three weeks straight, not to mention street performances that require no admission whatsoever – so for many the biggest hurdle to seeing the Festival Fringe is the airfare to get there. Finding cheap airfare to Edinburgh for the Fringe Festival can be challenging, given that it’s right in the midst of the high season and also a popular European destination.

Here are some tips that should help you find cheap airfare to Edinburgh for the Festival Fringe – and they’re also tips that will help you find cheap airfare almost anywhere you’re going, whenever you’re traveling.

>> The 2012 Edinburgh Festival Fringe runs from 3-27 August

Keep Your Plans Flexible

This is the tip you’ll see most often when you’re reading advice about how to find cheap airfare – and it’s repeated because it works. There are regular highs and lows when it comes to airfare prices, and these peaks and valleys occur throughout every day and every week. That means that if you’re searching for a flight and you’re limiting your search to only one specific day or – even worse – a few hours on a specific day, you’re much less likely to find one of those low price windows.

By searching more broadly for airfare over a stretch of 2-3 days, you’re more apt to see flights where the price is significantly cheaper – and if those flights are at a time when you can travel by shifting your schedule slightly, then you’re saving quite a bit for only a little adjustment. Many airfare sites these days make it easy to do a flexible search by checking a box near where you put in your travel dates that says something akin to, “my dates are flexible.” Without that feature, you’ll have to manually try several different dates and times yourself – it’s not impossible, of course, but it’s much easier when the site has that function built in.

Know When Flights are Cheapest

Before you freak out, the answer is no – you don’t have to be a professional travel agent or a mind reader to know when flights are cheapest. Although there are variations on the general rule of thumb, that general rule is good enough to get you started when you’re looking for cheap airfare.

All things considered, it tends to be cheaper to fly on Wednesdays, Tuesdays, and Saturdays. And within each day, it tends to be cheaper to fly on the first flights of the morning or the late departures each night. Since the Edinburgh Festival Finge takes place over several weeks, it’s much easier to be picky about what day you fly and what time you fly – therefore making it easier to fly when you find the cheaper fares.

Check Alternative Airports

You’ll no doubt have looked into cheap flights to Edinburgh as soon as you decided you were going to the Festival Fringe – but to make sure you’re getting the cheapest fare you can, you’d be smart to cover all your bases by looking at all airports within a reasonable distance from Edinburgh.

In addition to considering airports in Glasgow or elsewhere in Scotland as potential landing points, you might also look at making your trip to Edinburgh sort of a two-step approach – first finding a cheap flight to a major European hub airport and then finding a really cheap fare on a budget airline that flies from that European hub into Edinburgh. This may require more logistical juggling on your part, but it can save you quite a bit of money.

One thing you want to keep in mind if you’re flying into an airport outside Edinburgh is what kind of transportation will be required to get from the airport into the city. Make sure the money you’ll spend on a train or coach won’t be so much that it’ll negate the savings on your airline ticket.

Don’t Overlook Budget Airlines

Europe is well-known for its array of super low-cost airlines that may have only a few routes or cover relatively small geographic areas – but that sell extremely cheap tickets. If you’re lucky enough to already be in a place that has a budget airline flying from your home airport to Edinburgh, you definitely want to make sure to check that airline’s website for special sales.

But if you’re far enough from Edinburgh that you’ll need to have at least one layover en route to Scotland, this is a good opportunity to look into using budget airlines for at least the last leg of the trip. As mentioned above, you might find a good deal on a flight to London, Dublin, Paris, or Amsterdam from your home airport – so your next step would be to look at the budget airlines that fly to Edinburgh from those cities to see if you can find a better deal on a flight that way than if you booked a trip all the way to Edinburgh from your home airport. Again, this requires more planning on your part, but if it saves you enough money it’s definitely worth it. Note that both easyJet and Ryanair, two of Europe’s biggest low-cost airlines, fly into Edinburgh.

>> Here are some budget airlines that fly to Europe

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