How to Find Cheap Flights: Tips from Travel Bloggers
Not up for paying thousands of dollars for flights? Well neither am I! And guess what I don’t!
As a travel blogger, I have become extremely savvy with how to find cheap flights! There are endless search engines and with continually fluctuating airfares, the process of frugal planning and booking can become overwhelming.
I’ve called upon my fellow travel bloggers to share some of the tips and tricks they use to find the cheapest airfare available!
Choose the Right Day
One of the biggest cost savers we have found after nearly 10-years of travelling as a couple is to fly out on a Wednesday. Airlines are more then happy to offer cheaper airfares to help put bottoms in seats on planes that might be flying back to their base. On a recent trip to Europe from Australia, I saved over $500 by flying on a Wednesday and not a Sunday/Monday.
Firstly you miss out on the rush tickets for business travellers who want to fly out on Monday and be on the Friday flight home. Those tickets, especially if flying domestically, go at a premium price.
Secondly, you miss out on travelling with families who like to take a solid, basic week of travel Monday out and Sunday home.
Finally, the perk of this trick, is that if you do have a regular desk job you can still work the Monday/ Tuesday and have extra income coming in while you are away on holiday.
When searching for your flights, make sure you click the button that says Flexible dates or the +- 3 days. This will show you the price difference between the days on either side of your preferred travel date.
Use the “Search Everywhere” Function on Sky Scanner
A great tip for finding cheap flights is using Skyscanner ‘search everywhere’ tool. During your search, you can choose the airport you want to fly from and then pulls up all the destinations you can fly to with the cheapest flight for each destination.
All you need to do to is type your departure point into the search box on the home page, for example, Sydney or you can opt for selecting the whole country to find the cheapest flight leaving from anywhere in Aus! Next in arrival just start typing ‘everywhere’ and a blue box pops down with a globe symbol and the words “can’t decide where?” Select this option by clicking on it. Next, click on the green ‘Search flights’, you will then be given the cheapest flights in order. See screenshot below.
Not sure when you want to leave? If you’re still researching and don’t have specific dates you can select the whole month tab which allows you to search ahead to compare flight prices on different days during a particular month! So, for example, you can basically ask ‘where is the cheapest place for me to fly from Sydney to during the month of April’! I use this feature all the time! Such a great way of finding cheap flights.
Embrace the Layover
If you want to find cheap flights, then you’re more than likely going to need to embrace the layover! Sometimes flying direct works out best, but most often layovers can help decrease prices by as much as half! And sure, you can find some decent layover suggestions by using Skyscanner and Momondo, however, why stop there?
Over the years, we’ve discovered that purchasing two separate flights and effectively creating your own bespoke layovers are the best ways to capture a bargain. Take, for example, our journey from London to Mexico. We designed a trip which included a 2-night layover in Chicago.
We could have got the same price with just a few hours layover, but 2 days allowed us the chance to stop off and explore the city! To do this, we searched for the cheapest flights from anywhere in America down to Mexico. We found a few cheap states and then searched to see which of these was cheapest to fly to from the UK.
Sure, this will, of course, take more time and more planning. However, it allows you complete freedom over how you plan your trip and how much you spend. To re-enact this process, I recommend using the Skyscanner search tool which allows you to search based on whole countries. In our case, we did “London (All Airports)” to “USA (US)”.
Use a VPN
When searching for cheap flights I use a combination of 2 methods to help me locate the best-priced tickets. First of all, if you haven’t got a VPN for travel to assist your search for cheap flights, I suggest you look into getting one. I use my VPN for when I’m booking solo flights and when travelling in a group.
Individual ticket prices are usually the cheapest. The trick I have found is that when using Skyscanner, if travelling with a partner, normally you’d think to select 2 adults in the search. Rather what I do, is start a search for 1 adult but in 2 different browser tabs to get the cheapest ticket price. I then purchase the tickets one at a time.
This doesn’t guarantee your group will all be sat together, but you can get around this by either: 1. Requesting the travel agent after booking or 2. Turning up to the airport a little earlier to choose your seat at the desk. Either way, you will able to get a cheaper flight result by employing this method.
Be Flexible About Where You Fly From
One of my best tips for saving money on air travel is to be flexible about your departure airport. Your local airport might be the most convenient, but sometimes the savings that you can make by going to a different airport are astronomical.
For example, London is generally the cheapest city to fly from in the UK. If you live in Birmingham, for example, a train ticket to London can cost less than £20 and you’re likely to save much more than that on your flight.
The same can be applied for airports in other countries. When I spent one month in China, I scored an amazing cheap deal from Zagreb airport and planned to spend a few days in Croatia before. These plans fell through, and flights from London to Zagreb looked expensive – so instead I flew to Ljubljana in Slovenia for £40, took a train to Zagreb for €8, and boarded my £150 flight to China.
It was definitely the long way round, but this way I saw a bit of Ljubljana and Zagreb, and scored a really cheap flight deal! Using this money-saving method is perfect for backpackers and long-term travellers.
Cookies are data files created by a web page, which are stored in the browser. This is where your preferences are saved, such as username and passwords. They time by not having to fill in the same data again and again. This, of course, also applies to flights. That way, when we visit flight booking pages, companies already know – thanks to our search history – that we have compared prices on different websites and adapt their price. So they tend to raise it enough to get more benefit.
However, there is no reason to be alarmed, since both cookies and browsing history can be eliminated (a very simple international travel hack), thus reducing the price offered. A quick google search ‘clear cookies + browser’ will tell you how to do it. Happy searches!
Inma Gregorio from A World to Travel
Sign up to Deal Sites
Have you ever heard of people getting ridiculously cheap flights like $400 Round-Trip to Europe or one-way flights to Asia for $150? Well, there’s a way you can snag those same deals! There are several different companies that search the internet all day long, compile the best airline deals, and email them to you once a day, week, or month.
A couple of my favourite are Scotty’s Cheap Flights and Dollar Flight Club! They are FREE subscriptions, so you don’t even need to spend any money (but apparently the BEST deals are on the paid subscriptions). I’m subscribed to most of their free lists though, and it’s super fun to see what kind of deals are happening at the moment. It takes nothing to sign up, and you never know how the universe will reward you! That dream trip might just become a whole lot closer!! Definitely worth checking out.
Editors Tip: This is also the best opportunity to take advantage of error fares and scoring a ticket for next to nothing!
Sign up to Loyalty Programs
When you sign up for airline loyalty programs (which are completely free to join), it’s incredibly easy to rack up miles doing things you’d normally do, like buying plane tickets, online shopping, or going out to dinner. These miles can be easily converted to free in-flight upgrades (hello, business class!), plane tickets, or even companion passes (note that you usually have to pay limited fees and taxes for these perks)!
In reality, flying is probably the slowest way to earn miles- if you want to get a huge injection of free miles, keep an eye out for awesome special sign-on bonuses for credit cards. Lots of premium cards (my go-to is Chase Sapphire Preferred) offer up to 50,000 airline miles if you spend a designated amount of money within the first few months of opening the card.
If you pay for all of your living expenses using one of these cards (and most importantly, pay off your balance every month), these miles will add up super quickly and you’ll be hitting the skies before you know it. My husband’s and my upcoming trips to Mexico and Vietnam were both “paid” for, in large part, by frequent flyer and credit card miles. So what’s the cheapest way to get airplane tickets? For free, of course!
Use Incognito Mode
You go to your favourite flight booking site and type in the destination and dates for your trip. The price seems high, and you decide to keep checking to see if it ever drops. You’ve heard that prices tend to be cheaper when they’re booked on Tuesday or Wednesday, so you try then. No luck: the price has gone up. You’ve heard that six weeks before travel is a good time to book. Again, no luck; it’s gone up even more. Eventually, you give up and just buy the tickets, at a higher cost than you intended. Or maybe you rethink your plans and choose somewhere closer to home.
Does this sound familiar? Has this ever happened to you? Here’s why: the flight booking websites install “cookies” on your computer: mini-programs that let them know you’re a repeat visitor searching the same flights. Since they know you’re interested enough to keep checking, they raise the price.
So how do you stop it? Go incognito. In the Chrome browser, press control+shift+n. In Safari it’s called private mode. In Incognito, the flight booking site doesn’t know you’ve ever been there, and chances are you’ll see the price drop from the last time you checked.
Another option is to delete your browser history and delete cookies before you search. The problem is that that will delete all cookies, which might not be a good idea for you.
Rachel from Rachel’s Ruminations
Use a Travel Agency
In the world where seemingly everything is done online, the opportunity to make a bargain with an old-school “offline” travel agency remains. Yes, they still exist. And they still have access to unique prices and inventory, although this exclusivity is gradually diminishing with online travel agencies such as Expedia and Booking.com increasingly gaining power.
Truth be told, travel agencies don’t always have better prices and sometimes charge a fee, but if you’re lucky you can get an amazing deal way below anything you have found online. This is especially the case if you are looking for something more complex than getting from one city to another or are planning a group travel.
Next time you’re shopping for flights, drop by a travel agency around the corner to see if they can offer you a better deal. It will only take a couple of minutes and won’t cost you anything unless you book. Worth a try!
Lookout for Airlines offering discounted fares for Kids
All airlines offer Zero Base Fare tickets for Infants in the range of 0-2 years. But as the kid turns 2, they charge full airfare even though it’s a universal truth that even till reaching an age of 4/5, kids never use their own seats. We are a family of 3 with one kid who has turned 4 years now.
Last year, while planning our trip from Delhi to Singapore we found Malaysian airlines has the policy to offer 50% discount for kids on regular fare when accompanied by 1 adult. So its proven to be a life-saving deal for us and surely can help fellow family travellers. Even many European airlines offer ” FAMILY FARE DEALS ” where they offer a discount on kids airfare when booked directly on the airline’s website. So every time you plan to book , call customer care or check the website for such policies.
So they are the best tips on how to find cheap flights! If you follow the tips above on how to get a cheap flight, you’ll always get score a great deal, save yourself time, stress, and avoid being the person who paid the most for their ticket!
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