When it comes to planning a trip, finding cheap flights can be stressful but it doesn’t have to be! I have put together a list for you to find flights that are affordable instead of breaking the bank.
1). Use the right search engines
There are many different search engines that you can use to find the cheapest flight. Some of these common search engines will inflate the prices more than others so it is always worth it to check multiple to ensure you find the cheapest price.
My top choices: Skyscanner, GoogleFlights, TripAdvisor
Many of the search engines will be compared automatically with each other already. I always recommend opening another tab to compare with a specific site or individual airline company.
Google flights is my personal favorite site to use when you are flexible on dates or just simply want to compare when the cheapest time to go is.
2). Be flexible on dates and times
One of the most important steps is to make sure you are flexible on the dates that you want to fly out and return. For example, on GoogleFlights I entered a flight from Kansas City (MCI) to Las Vegas (LAS) to see when the cheapest days were to fly there and back during the summer.
By choosing to fly a day early on Wednesday the 20th of June versus Tuesday the 21st, you would save $65. This is the same for almost everywhere that you are planning to fly. If you’re open to extending your stay a day or two, you may save more money than you would booking the exact dates you wanted.
As far as times go, flights will be cheaper really early in the morning and super late at night because they know not very many people will book them or want to fly at those times.
3). Fly Indirect
Flying direct is nice if you’re someone who doesn’t like to have layovers, but many times when booking flights you should chose to have a stop before arriving at your destination. I know a few people who were flying from the USA to France or Germany but made a stop in Iceland which saved them hundreds. (Also, who wouldn’t want an awesome layover there?)
4). Have multiple destinations in mind
Kayak has this awesome feature that I love to use where you can explore the world on your budget. It gives you options to change the price as well as see destinations around the entire world with the price it would cost to fly there from your selected airport. So if your budget is 1,000 dollars, as you lower the slider the destinations that are outside of your budget will disappear leaving just the destinations you can go too.
Basically every destination will have a sale at some point during the year. By having more than just one destination in mind, this will open you up to maybe even getting a sweet deal to another place for a cheaper price.
5). Travel During Off Season
Airline ticket prices are known to fluctuate from days of the week and certain times, to holidays and seasons. Many of us want to go somewhere warm during the winter time, so prices will increase to those destinations.
The key here is that if you chose to fly during holidays, when the kids are out of school, or weekend trips, you are going to spend more strictly because those are the times that everyone travels. If you chose to wait or go a different week in the year you can save hundreds just by choosing a time that isn’t the busy season.
It is definitely cheaper to fly during the middle of the week, like Tuesdays and Wednesdays, than the weekend would be. As someone who frequently goes to sporting events and festivals, airlines are known to increase their prices during those times as well. If you have longed to visit a specific destination, instead of choosing to go during the summer, wait until fall or spring when prices drop. (And there will be less people during the off-season)
6). Sign up for frequent flier programs
I am a rewards member for each of the large airline companies around the USA so each time I fly, I am credited with mileage points. By earning those points I am able to use them towards more flights with major discounts and sometimes for free. You sign up for free and every time you fly, points will be added to your account to achieve discounted or free flights.
7). Fly with Budget Carriers
I have done the majority of my flying in the USA and have found out about five budget airlines. I have seen travel deals go for $30 one way around the US as well as a sale that was $15 dollars one way for certain locations. Many of these airlines have major sales where you can find the cheapest tickets out there – but theres often a catch! Make sure and read all of their guidelines before you buy. These airlines make money by limiting amenities.
USA budget carriers:
- WOW Air (cheap flights to Europe from the US)
8). Check the airline’s website
Always compare a flight you find on a search engine with the actual airlines website. This can sometimes lead to getting better deals and cheaper flights. Sales will also be advertised on the front page to inform you of deals.
9). Delete your browser history and cookies
Have you ever searched a flight and then searched the exact same thing a few hours later and its even more? Ive done this many times and always wondered why. Apparently travel websites save what you searched earlier and might cause the price to go up.
Always try and search in a private browser mode to prevent this from happening.
10). Sign up for the email list of third party travel websites
You should sign up for a third party travel site because it will send you the best travel deals as soon as they are released. I currently use Travel Pirates where they send the newest travel deals straight to messenger on Facebook which I personally check more than my email.
Its also a good idea to follow your favorite travel companies on social media because you will scroll upon their deals while online.
11). Get a travel credit card
There are many different cards that give you travel rewards for using it on every day purchases. You can then use the points you earn for a free rental car, hotel or flight. Make sure and talk to your bank or do research on which card will be the best for you.
12). Keep your eye out for last minute deals
There are always last minute deals for everything. Some last minute vacations will be pricey but every once in a while you will stumble upon a great deal for a last minute trip. Chances are the deal will be limited and you may not have an option to chose the seat you want or time you fly, but it can be a great way to go somewhere new!
Are there any other tips you would add to this list?
Let me know in the comments below or contact me!