Spending nine hours inside a cramped airborne tuna can surrounded by chair kickers and arm rest hogs isn’t my idea of fun. But until somebody invents Harry Potter style apparition for muggles, it’s still the most convenient way to travel long distances.

Despite the hassle of airport frisking; the impossibility of sleeping on a plane and those irritating security staff who inform you the plastic bag containing your toiletries is half an inch too wide, it’s all worth it when you arrive at your destination.

Whilst economy air travel might not be the most enjoyable activity, the good news is you can do it fairly cheaply (without offering any body organs up for sale.)  So if you’d like to a save a few pounds next time you book a holiday check out these tips on getting cheap flights.

1.)    The obvious place to start is the sales. Start liking airline Facebook pages and following them on Twitter for advanced warnings of flash sales special prices. (Whoever said stalking doesn’t pay was clearly deluded.) Flights are also reduced in January, along with questionable leftover spandex party dresses and everything at DFS. I’d go with the flights.

2.)    Last minute deals are a figment of urban imagination. If you’re going for a low cost carrier try booking at least six months in advance for the best deals.

3.)    Packages are generally much better value if you’re travelling long distance, particularly if you’re heading to a beach resort. That said, if you’re flying with a group to a European destination, it’s usually better value to book your flights with a low cost carrier and organise your villa and transport separately.

4.)    According to Independent Traveler most airlines launch sales on Tuesday and Wednesdays. So if you were planning to book a holiday to beat the Monday morning blues, hang fire.

5.)    Easyjet, Ryanair and other budget carriers are obviously the cheapest way to fly. But be warned, you’ll end up paying for lots of ‘extras’ you don’t necessarily want unless you’re meticulous in the box checking.

6.)    Fly without luggage.  No use for longer holidays or shopping breaks but definitely worth considering for a short sightseeing break. Everything you need can be taken in a mini suitcase and miniature toiletries can be stashed in plastic bags. The only necessity that can’t be packed is a razor so you’ll either have to brave the waxist before you go or opt for au natural.

7.)    Collecting air miles is an obvious choice, though it’s often overlooked.  Lots of major credit cards offer returns in air miles so start flashing the plastic to pay for major purchases, or even your monthly food bills. Try BA American Express cards or the Virgin Atlantic Black card.

8.)    Getting cheap flights is easier if you’re prepared to go mid week or at some ungodly hour of the morning. Of course it’s not the best plan if you were banking on a lift to the airport…