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Fly and drive…. a bit further?
Jan 16th, 2013 by john

It’s natural when looking for holiday flights to concentrate on the nearest airport to your destination. But if you’re going to be finishing your journey by hire car it can be well worth while casting your net a little – or even a lot – further.

I’m writing this from the Costa Blanca, having decided to escape Britain’s winter chill for a month. The best price I could find on Skyscanner.net for flights to the two closest airports, Alicante and Valencia, was £89 return. Not bad, but hardly brilliant as you don’t get much more off-season than early January. But for £43 return we could fly to Reus. Where? Well, Reus is a small airport near Tarragona, up in north east Spain. It’s one of those Ryanair cheap alternative airports, in this case for Barcelona, which is around 70 miles to the north. More to the point, 230 miles from our Costa Blanca destination. Could it really be worth driving an extra 150 miles each way? To ‘save’ £92 on two airfares?

Well, if you avoid tolls and treat the journey as a fun part of the trip, yes. The extra 300 miles used about 30 litres in the petrol Ford Focus we hired, costing around £35. So a saving of around £50. But after an early flight that disgorged us, blinking, into the bright Spanish sunshine at 10am, we stopped for lunch in the very pleasant town of Benicarlos, strolled on the beach in the bright sunshine then took a quick look at nearby Peniscola with its Papa Luna castle. On the way back, we’ll stop overnight in the town of Requena, near Valencia, to take a look at that.

Reus airport is small and straightforward to use (one fellow passenger said, “I hate big airports. I always use this one or Zaragoza.”) and probably needs your support, if our half-full Ryanair flight from Bristol is any guide.

So, try thinking a little outside the box when searching for flights. And, as ever, the indispensable tool for doing this is www.skyscanner.net.

Have you managed to save on flights by travelling to an airport that’s a little further out of town? Let us know in the comments!

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