Finding Cheap Flights
With the cost of airfare always on the rise, it may seem like that dream vacation is further away than ever. However, finding cheap flights is possible, and with a few helpful tips, you can be on your way to your next big adventure in no time.
So how does one go about finding these great airfare deals?
After two years on the road flying from all corners of the globe, I’ve picked up a few tricks that I often use to find cheap flights.
Ones that make sure my money goes towards more exciting ventures like learning to scuba dive in Thailand or getting deathly ill on a jungle trek to The Lost City in Colombia; rather than a costly flight that I’m probably going to sleep through.
Using Airfare Search Engines
In my opinion, this is the best method for finding cheap flights for both domestic and international travel. An airfare search engine will ask a few small questions like origin, destination, and dates, and then it will search all corners of the interwebs for great flight deals for you!
Most offer helpful tools like price mapping based on destinations, price prediction, and email alerts when the price of your tracked flight goes up or down.
A Few Great Search Engines:
It’s always smart to shop around when you’re looking for cheap flights on the internet. Most of the time it seems like I find the best deals on Google Flights compared to the other airfare search engines.
Google Flights gives you the option to buy from a third-party seller like Expedia.com but also lets you book directly from the airline. This guarantees you a spot on the plane unlike when booking with a third-party. I’ve heard horror stories of seats being canceled days or even hours before a flight.
Make Sure To Use A VPN
Making sure to use a VPN (Virtual Private Network) that masks your location ensures that the outrageous location-based tactics of some airlines won’t affect the flight price.
Example: Booking a domestic flight from outside the country can often cost more than when booking from inside the country.
I have been using a company called Private Internet Access for the past few years, and I’m more than happy with the service that costs only $40 per year.
If a VPN is out of the question, then at least make sure to delete your browser ‘cookies’ consistently. Airlines also like to charge more each time you return to look at the same flight. 😡
Sign Up For Fare Alerts
Signing up for fare alerts will allow the airfare search engines and airlines to know exactly what you are looking for. They will keep an eye out for any deals that pop-up that closely match your criteria.
There are a few dedicated fare alert sites out there as well, but you have to be very flexible with the date and time as the best deals usually go quick. Here are a few:
Join Airline Newsletters
Airlines and search engine sites have newsletters that you can sign up for that will keep you up to date on all of the flight deals going on. They have some flights at an extreme discount, sometimes as much as 50% off, and the only way to find out about them is to be a subscriber.
To avoid being overloaded, simply apply a filter in your preferred email platform to send them all to a selected folder.
Keep Your Dates/Times Flexible
If you’re flexible with your flight date or destination, it can save you loads of cash. Leaving during the middle of the week versus the weekend can mean a difference of hundreds of dollars.
Book Tips: I often try to book flights for the morning on Tuesday or Wednesday.
Always Remain Flexible
Every country has peak seasons for tourism, and the airline companies know to bump up the price of tickets during that time. For instance, flying to Europe or Canada during the summer will be much costlier than flying there in the winter.
Usually, flights with long layovers are significantly cheaper. A twelve-hour layover may seem like a nightmare; however, if you do some research on the airport you will be held up in you will find that some airports such as Doha, Qatar (DOH) or Singapore (SIN), can be a mini vacation on the way to your actual one.
Price Based Destinations
Another great way to find cheap flights easily is to us the price mapping feature on sites like Google Flights and Momondo. This allows you to pick a starting destination and view a map of all the available flight locations around the World.
Sometimes spontaneity is key.
Frequent Flyer Miles
If you are from the U.S. or Canada, this is an extremely easy way to get cheap flights. It’s also an option for many other countries around the World; it’s just not as lucrative. Many airlines have a credit card that can earn you frequent flyer miles via flying or just by making daily purchases.
This can save you lots of money, but can also be a burden at times when you have to choose between the cheapest flight and the flight that your specific airline provides. That’s why it is best to diversify your travel cards, so your options are not so limited.
Consider Alternate Routes
Consider Alternate Routes
Long distance flights; especially international ones; can be astronomical in price not to mention a hell of a long time to sit in just one plane. Sometimes it’s better to do a little more research and consider breaking up your trip into small portions. Below is a perfect example of when this works perfectly.
I was recently researching a flight from Bangkok, Thailand To Quito, Ecuador. The initial price was way too much, and I knew that I could definitely find a better deal.
After a few days of searching the web; using the tricks I’d learned over the years; I finally found the cheap flight I was looking for.
A flight from Bangkok to Madrid, Spain left a day earlier than I’d planned and would only cost me $280. That’s insane!
But I, of course, still needed to fly halfway around the world to South America. When I typed in Madrid to Quito in the Google Flights box, I couldn’t believe my eyes. Only $475, seriously? That was a total of $755 and a savings of $421.
Cheap Flights In Conclusion
So now you have all the tricks I’ve learned over the years at your disposal. If you haven’t caught on by now, flexibility is key. Putting in just a bit more time for some research can save you more than half the price of a long-haul ticket and spontaneously choosing your next travel destination will mean getting to explore remote parts of the World you hadn’t even considered.