Money is the largest factor preventing most people from having the ability to travel. Flights, lodging, meals, and activities can really add up. Flights tend to be the most expensive aspect of travel. So, why not catch a break by taking advantage of cheap flight deals? I don’t know about you, but I am always happy to save money – especially when it’s related to travel. Flights will always be costly, but there are definitely ways that you can cut down on those costs. Everyone who travels isn’t rolling in money. They may just know how to play the game.
Within the past week, 5 friends(and I) have scored roundtrip tickets to various cities in Europe for $300-$500 EACH. Those same tickets are usually 5 times the price!!
There is no 100% way to predict fare prices. Despite this fact, there a variety of ways to find cheap flight deals. A bit of research can easily save you hundreds.
You may be wondering how or where some people find such good deals. Just know that it is possible and it isn’t nearly as difficult as you may be thinking.
Research is the best way for you to find insanely cheap flight deals. Shop around on numerous sites to compare prices. Google Flights, Kayak, Priceline, Expedia, Orbitz, SkyScanner, CheapoAir, are some of the more commonly used sites. Search on multiple sites, use different browsers, view all airlines, and search surrounding cities. Sometimes it may cost significantly less to drive 30min to the airport in the next town over. Fortunately, there are now so many resources available for us to search & compare fares.
I’ve recently been able to find so many flight deals via twitter accounts like AirfareWatchdog, Secret Flying, and The Flight Deal. Twitter is great because it shows you a constant stream of tweets that you most likely wouldn’t have otherwise seen. It’s best to try out multiple sites before booking a ticket because prices can heavily vary depending on where the ticket is being purchased.
Currently, Google Flights is my favorite flight search tool to use. In my opinion, it is the most usable, accurate, comparable, and reliable resource. There is so much to say about Google flights and what it offers, so I’ll just leave this link here.
Flexibility allows you to seize the opportunity and book a flight whenever a great deal arises. Finding flight deals can be much easier for you if you aren’t committed to specific dates and locations. If you’re obligated to visit a specific location for an event that is being held on a particular weekend, you’re options are limited price-wise. You’d have to hope that the prices would magically lower. With flexibility, you could simply choose a different date and/or wait to see if the price changes. You’re able to book a flight in the spur of a moment!
Using the flexible fare search option on most sites will allow you to see prices in advance by the day. On sites like SkyScanner, you don’t even have to enter the destination or exact date. After selecting a month and departure city, it will display the cheapest destinations around the world.
Searching in Incognito mode(via Google Chrome) prevents airline sites from tracking your search history. Airlines and Flight search companies are able to track fares that you’ve recently searched on the internet. They can use the internet cookies to raise prices on tickets as you’ve continuously viewed while shopping around for deals. Since the price is being driven up, you’ll feel more of an urgency to make the purchase. This may be why you’ve seen flights prices seemingly increase by the minute. Insane, right? There have been times when I repeatedly searched a fare and ultimately the price increased. I was bummed, only to do a search in incognito mode and discover that price remained the same after all.
Note – Incognito mode is only supported on Google Chrome. Clear your cookies if you don’t use Chrome.
Sometimes fares increase and sometimes they decrease – They can change in a matter of hours. Due to this unpredictability, it is best to search often.
There is a lot of speculation on the best time to purchase tickets. 6-8 weeks in advance is the general rule of thumb. Sometimes you can find the best deals at the last minute, but it’s best to begin looking early on at the least.
Most sites will allow you to save your itinerary and sign up for email alerts on your route of choice. You’ll receive an email when the price drops. I personally don’t do this, but I know people who have saved a lot due to fare alerts.
Just like most industries, travel has a low season and high season. Prices can nearly triple around holidays and big events. Traveling during low season will allow you to score some really great deals, flights included. Before booking travel during low season, do some research to determine why it is low season.
You can accumulate points to use on future flights by using an airline credit card for your purchases. You can also get free checked bags, sign-up bonuses(a FREE flight), waived foreign transaction fees, priority boarding, and additional perks depending on which card you sign up for. This could be the quickest way to earn a free flight. Just be sure to pay off the card immediately to prevent debt buildup. Check out this link to learn about the best Airline Credit cards for 2016!
With so much unpredictability, it’s important to act fast when you know you’ve found something good. Waiting days and hours can make the difference in hundreds or thousands of dollars. If you search often, you’ll know a good deal when you see one. A better deal may not show up. Most airlines will give you 24 hours to receive a full refund if you need to make a cancellation, so be sure to review their cancellation policy.
Let’s face it, flights will always be one of the pricier aspects of travel. However, there are certainly ways around this.
Doing ample research and taking advantage of all available resources can save you a pretty penny. You can then spend that money on some of the more exciting parts of travel.
With these tips, you might be booking your next flight sooner than you expected!
Hey, I'm Ciara. I’m a global citizen and lover of travel. Want to know more?
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