Best Tips for Finding Cheap Flights
It’s not a secret that flights can be the most expensive part of traveling.
Over the past years flights have overall become more expensive. There are many reasons for that.
Many airlines are under pressure to make more profit. Bankruptcy of some airlines and limited competition means airlines won’t reduce their fares as much.
Some others have reduced their services to certain destinations and instead fly bigger planes with higher capacities which means less incentive to offer special deals.
And even though the oil price has gone down, airlines won’t reduce their prices, because now is the time that they can actually make more money.
After years of travel, I’ve collected some advice that will help you finding cheap plane tickets.
Check out the best tips for finding cheap flights!
Identify The Cheapest Day To Fly Out
It is an old myth that flights are cheaper on certain days of the week. There really is no set day or time that tickets are cheaper. It all goes up and down based on destination and demand.
You can still find out when is the best time for you to purchase your ticket. Several websites such as skyscanner or momondo have a monthly price grid. Simply select your route and date and you will able to identify cheaper days for that particular route, depending on the season and demand.
Use Flight Comparison Sites
It’s important to check a few comparison sites before you book, as you’ll often see variations in prices, and you don’t want to miss a deal.
Also not all comparison site list all airlines and they don’t cover all airlines and all regions in the world equally. For example, some of them don’t feature all the budget airlines or airlines which don’t have an English website.
The downside of comparison sites is that they often add hidden fees as part of taking a cut from the airlines they advertise. The best search engines are the ones that have no affiliation with any airline and make their money via advertising, not bookings.
Check Flight Deals in Other Currencies
Sometimes it might be a good idea to change the currency before making a purchase.
If your country’s currency is currently strong compared to others, search prices in a country where the currency is weaker. It might not always work, but the possible savings are worth the extra exercise.
It goes without saying; the more flexible you are with your destination, travel dates and trip duration, the higher are the chances for you to get a bargain.
More and more websites and apps come with extra features to support that.
Airlines often have lower fares for less popular airports, so if flights into your target airport are too pricey, take a look at nearby, smaller airports.
Google Flights for example shows a map with all nearby airports of your chosen destination through their “Destination finder” feature.
Kayak has a similar tool “Explore” that allows you to put in your home airport and see a map of the world with all the airports on it.
Also, choosing the most direct route to your destination can often be more expensive. When it comes to saving money, try to look at alternative routes with one or two stops along the way.
Sign Up For Deals
I don’t want you to get spammed, but it it makes sense to sign of for the newsletters of the biggest airlines and flight booking websites. Many times, the cheap flights are only available for 24 hours, this means you need to react fast when you see a great deal in your inbox.
Another great way to stay up to date with offers is following those companies on social media. More and more airlines and tour operator are taking advantage of social media to spread their web-only fares, and promotions.
Use A VPN
There are many reasons why you should use a VPN. Getting access to better airfares is one of them. (Check out my post Why you should use a VPN when travelling).
Some airlines sell cheaper tickets depending on the location of sale, meaning based on where you purchase them. For example booking a flight from Beijing to Shanghai will most likely be cheaper when booked from a Chinese IP address than booked from an European or US IP address.
By using a VPN you will be able to switch to an IP address in a different country and “hack” those deals.
Know Your Final Price & Inclusions
Before booking, make sure you know what is included in your ticket. Some airlines charge low fares but they charge extra for certain seats, meals, luggage, extra legroom, etc.
If you know that you would want all those nice little add’ons, do the math. Maybe the budget airline with all the extra fees, despite the low base fare, will end up being more expensive than the other airline.