Booking super cheap airfare with Ryanair may seem like a matter of luck, randomness and popularity of routes, but it is not, there is actually a pattern - if you know when the next Ryanair sale is, you will find the cheapest possible fares. What is the best time of the year to book? Does it really make a difference whether you book on the weekend or during the week? How much in advance do you have to book? What is the cheapest destination? Here are some straight forward answers!
When to book
Cheapest time to book is January. To be exact the sale starts middle of January and lasts for approximately two weeks (prices change during that time and booking on weekends might be slightly more expensive, during the week the prices are lowest). If a Ryanair one way ticket costs 19-25€ you hit the jackpot and you need to book fast, it's not gonna get cheaper, but the prices will rise if you wait too many days.
Then the next sale is middle of March (no cheap airfare during Easter though). Next one is in the middle of May and then in the middle of July and so on. As you can see it repeats every two months. Knowing when the sale starts and reacting fast is the main key to low prices.
During the sale the best availability is right in the beginning and you can purchase flights for the next 3 months. After the sale is over you will find the cheapest fares if you book 2-3 months in advance, last minute tickets are incredibly expensive, even if half of the plane is empty. Keep in mind that there are less possible routes in the winter months.
This pattern might change soon though, a couple of years ago the cheapest time to book was in the beginning of march when the new routes got released, that is no longer the case.
What is the cheapest Ryanair destination? Poland. Tickets are available for 6€ one way sometimes, but 15€ for a flight during the sale period are super easy to find. Scandinavia is also surprisingly cheap with 20€ for a one way ticket regularly (they fly to airports that are a little bit more far away and have less fees and taxes). A ticket from Poland to Sweden is the cheapest. Spain and Italy are also always easy to book for 20€.
There are a couple of things that need to be mentioned about booking on the website. To see the whole month calendar search through Skyscanner. And remember: you need to delete cookies every time before you look for flights on the Ryanair page, because your searches are saved and if you return to finally book the ticket you will see a higher price (10-15€ more). Browsing in a private window will do the trick too (if you use Firefox go to the menu on the upper right side and click on "New Private Window"). As you may have noticed while booking airfare, Ryanair often says "only two seats left for that flight, hurry up". This is not true, the sentence is supposed to make you book if you have doubts and doesn't mean anything else.
There was a lot of buzz and complaints about hidden fees on Ryanair in the recent years, so now you actually pay what the website and search engines advertise. Luggage is the only thing you might want to book (although you should travel with a carry on if you want your flight to be budget friendly). Flying with luggage costs 15-30€ per flight, depending when and where you fly. Every other fee is completely useless - priority boarding for 2€ (I have been on a flight where literally half of the plane had priority boarding), choosing the seat (starts at 5€, to avoid it make online check in as early as you can to sit in the front), insurance and a bus ride from airport to the city (those are always overpriced). None of the extras will make the plane fly faster. Hidden fees are not really hidden, just don't book anything except the ticket and use common sense.
Do you have any tricks to book cheaper flights with Ryanair?