Who doesn’t love a getaway? Wherever in the world you live, it’s never really too far for a new adventure. However, one of the biggest obstacles to the great escape is quite often air fares. Expensive aren’t they? Let Skyscanner help you out. Here’s how.

Skyscanner is a price comparison site that allows you to compare air fares on a multitude of airlines, and for almost any destination you can think of! It’s easy to use, and it can work out far cheaper than the airline’s own site, or one of the travel sites such as Expedia.

Most of the time, it’s best to book in advance for the sweet deals, however you can still get cheap flights last minute, especially if you’re prepared to fly with a lesser known company, or do an extra layover or two. One thing I really like about Skyscanner (aside from cheap flights!) is the ratings system. Each flight will have a rating, so you can see if it’s a good journey or not. There’s also a smartphone app, so you can book flights anywhere! I do prefer the website, but I have used the app on a few occasions and have managed to complete a booking with no issue. Finally, the fact you can watch and set up alerts for flights is what really makes Skyscanner stand out. You may have your beady eye on a journey but perhaps your bank account is standing in the way; with the watch facility you can keep track of your favourite deals and get alerts sent to your email if prices change. Brilliant. Need a car, or a hotel, or both? You can search for these too.

Of course, it wouldn’t be fair to talk about Skyscanner without mentioning some of its downsides. The first is that it is just a price comparison site, so you can’t book direct. You get redirected to the site of choice, and sometimes there can be disparages in costs shown (hidden taxes or the price changes just as you click, I’ve had this happen before), which can be a let down. Another issue is that the cheapest flights tend to be the longest. You’ll find some journeys can take a day or three! This is because the journey is broken up into several flights, often with long layovers. If you don’t mind this, you still get a good deal. However, it probably wouldn’t be fun for families containing small children, or elderly and disabled travellers, as it can mean a lot of stress, especially if one connection is late and you’re rushing to catch the next one. Another is using an airline you haven’t used before, or haven’t heard of. This is particularly daunting, as of course you want to know you’re in safe hands when you travel. A little trick would be to check out the airline comparison site Skytrax (http://www.airlinequality.com/). It has reviews and ratings on lots of different airlines, all by people who have used them. So for example, if you see a great price on a flight with JAL but have never used them, simply check them out on Skytrax to see what type of experience you’ll get. Lastly, if you’re a frequent flier but plan to use a variety of companies to travel, you won’t build up any loyalty. Most airlines have a rewards scheme of some kind, and travelling regularly with one company can pay off in the form of free flights or upgrades, a perk you won’t earn using a multitude of airlines. However, you can search deals on Skyscanner by company, simply by clicking on the airline you wish to look for after you hit search (it’s on the left side of the screen on the website).

Overall, I feel as though Skyscanner’s good outweighs its bad. I use it over anything else when hunting out my next getaway. Why not give it a try and see for yourself? Find it here: www.skyscanner.net.

One final thing, especially important for long haul flights, or journeys outside your continent of residence; visas. Some countries require a visa prior to entry (such as China and India), and this is your sole responsibility, not the airlines. They don’t even need to provide you with visa information, though some websites will warn you to check visa requirements. If you aren’t sure, check with your local consulate, either by phone or on their website.