We all know that flights can be the most expensive part of traveling, and it can be quite frustrating when traveling on a budget. After years of travel, I’ve collected a few tricks to help bring down the costs of long trips by finding cheaper airfare.
Check out my top tips to finding cheap flights!
Use a Fake Location
Some airlines sell cheaper tickets depending on the location of the sale, so it is based on where you purchase them. This is especially the case if you’re trying to book a domestic flight, for example, buying a ticket from Bangkok to Chiang Mai. If you buy it in the USA, it’s much more expensive than if you buy it in Thailand.
Avoid this with a simple internet hack: change your country location on the airline website.
Sometimes this will force you to navigate the site in the local language, sometimes not, but that’s what google translator is for! You can find more information here on changing your location and the science behind flights pricing!
Know When To Buy
Though some claim that there are certain days, Tuesday afternoon, for example, is the best time to buy tickets, there really is no set day or time that tickets are cheaper. It all goes up and down based on demand.
However, you can see which dates are cheaper on any given route. For example, looking at a month view with prices will help you identify cheaper days for a particular route, depending on the season and demand.
I will say, however, that airlines will increase the price as fewer seats become available – but there are always special cases where you can get a great deal at the last-minute, one week and less before a flight, as airlines want to sell the last few seats.
Take Advantage of Search Engines
Search engines are great for comparing prices between different airlines. The downside is that they often add hidden fees as part of taking a cut from the airlines they advertise.
Sign up for various airfare alerts to keep track of deals and discounts. Airfare Watchdog is an amazing resource that will alert you for cheap flights on a specific route you’re interested in.
You can even set it to alert you for any flights departing your city whatsoever! Just be sure to pounce when there’s a deal because they tend to sell out quickly.
More and more airlines are taking advantage of social media to spread their web-only fares, promos, and two-for-one deals. Make sure to subscribe to their email lists and follow them on Twitter and Facebook to get the most up-to-date offers!
Consider Extra Fees
Before purchasing, make sure to weigh in all the end costs and extra fees. Some airlines charge low fares than charge extra for certain seats, meals, luggage, extra leg room, etc.
For example, if Airline A sells a ticket for $150 and Airline B sells the same for $200, but you end up buying seats and paying for checking luggage on your Airline A trip, you will end up spending more than the other flight in the end.
Be very thorough when purchasing tickets!
Try Different Combinations
Taking the most direct route to your destination can often be one way to pay top dollar for your flight tickets, so when it comes to saving money try to look at alternative routes with one or two stops along the way.
Sometimes booking one-way flights on different days will end up being cheaper than a round-trip journey. I always look to see if it would be less expensive to book two different legs to my destination rather than just one, and maybe use the stopover to explore a new destination.
Don’t know your return date? Generally, nonstop one-way flights are more expensive than the one way of a roundtrip flight. If you don’t know your return date, consider purchasing a roundtrip flight then paying the change fee of $200-300 to change your date.
Helpful Tip: If you’re going to take two flights on separate days, try to buy these on the same ticket, even if it’s not roundtrip.
Check Alternate Airports
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. Look into flying into Orange County instead of LAX, Fort Lauderdale instead of Miami, or Baltimore instead of Washington DC, etc.
Do you have any tips for finding cheap flights? Let me know in the comments below!