Try for an easily navigable website that offers a full range of booking services from weekend trips to ferry crossings. The selection of budget air fares and special travel deals is well marked and quick to use.

But the free search for flights tends to select rather expensive flights, ignoring the services of low-cost airlines such as Go.

For a good chance of finding bargain internal flights, go to The site offers some great deals, especially from London to Scotland. Also useful is a list of airline contact numbers – if you can't find what you are looking for on the site's flight search, which again often overlooks budget airlines.

Don't forget Searching for flights can take a while – but you'll be given updates on how the search is progressing. The site is great for what its name suggests – last-minute bookings. Otherwise you could be paying more than if you tried an airline directly.

Deal with the airlines direct. The low-cost airlines such as Ryan Air, Go and Buzz all have easily navigable sites and offer good deals if you book well in advance. Lufthansa has a surprising array of low-cost flights but you'll need patience to deal with its website – give it a call instead.

Read the papers: all sorts of deals are advertised in the daily papers and magazines, which if nothing else will give you an idea of the going rates of flights around the world. Another advantage is the agents who you telephone will be the ones searching databases while you relax.