With both Old Firm sides set to take on Europe’s best in the UEFA Champions League, football fans will be looking to travel across the continent to cheer on their teams.
Thursday’s group stage draw brought together big names to take on Scottish sides, with Celtic facing Real Madrid, Shahktar-Donetsk and Leipzig, while Rangers take on Liverpool, Ajax and Napoli.
Bookings immediately increased after the draw, with Skyscanner reporting a 31% increase in bookings in Italy and a further 27% in the Netherlands.
There was also a 19% increase in flights booked from Glasgow International Airport.
Bracing for the rush to take off, Skyscanner travel expert – and self-proclaimed football fanatic – Laura Lindsay has shared some top strategies for snagging a bargain.
Matches will take place throughout the fall over two-day periods – September 6, 7, 13 and 14; October 4, 5, 11, 12, 25 and 26; and November 1 and 2.
Book ‘the first doors’
Acting quickly can be the difference between getting a good deal and losing your chance.
Thousands of Rangers fans expressed regret at not planning ahead when their side booked their place in the Europa League final earlier this year, with many embarking on the ‘trip of a lifetime’ in ways that little orthodox.
Setting up price alerts can help ensure you’re on the front line when prices to your destination change.
Some locations may be more popular than others for big-ticket games, so booking ‘early’ can mean avoiding disappointment as interest grows.
The days immediately before and after any game are certain to be more expensive and will get cheaper the further you go.
Because some dates are more popular than others, prices vary.
Consider leaving a few days earlier or staying a little longer to save money.
Skyscanner offers a monthly view option, which shows prices for all dates throughout the month and allows you to customize trips for big savings.
Get off the beaten track
Searching by multiple airports can also help save a lot of money, as different airports have varying routes.
Making your way a little further to another airport could mean a more direct flight, or better prices – or both!
The same can be said for the destination airport – flying to an airport a little further from the game and then getting there via public transport or a rental car could help reduce travel time and save money money.
Mixing and matching the airlines you choose is also a way to cut costs considerably.
Fares don’t always have to be booked as returns – consider flying with one airline and returning with another to save money.
Airline prices are largely determined by algorithms, and getting online and booking quickly after the draw could result in a bargain.
However, any sudden increase in interest in a specific flight or route can mean a steep price increase in the days or even hours that follow.
If you are unable to book quickly, setting up price alerts will allow you to be the first to know when prices drop in the event of an additional discount or additional offer.
If you mark a flight or flights you’re interested in, Skyscanner will email you whenever the price goes up or down.