This guide was created to keep you informed on which of these air travel hacks are actually true. Our list is composed of 10 tips that will bring you closer to finding the cheapest flight tickets all year round. So make sure to finish reading this before you start planning your itinerary!
1. Avoid the common myths of cheap air travel
The are plenty of blogs, guides, and articles in the Internet that offer you these tips on how to find a cheap flight. You have to keep in mind that most of these frequently reused “hacks” are either outdated or not even true at all. Here are a few examples of myths that you should keep in mind:
- Flight tickets are cheapest when you book on a Tuesday.
- Flight tickets are cheaper when you clear the cookies of your browser or you search incognito.
- There are specific time periods or exact days that offer the lowest airfare prices.
- There are websites that predict airline prices accurately (most of the time they’re wrong, so don’t bother!)
Airline companies change the prices of their tickets based on a combination of the following factors:
- Passenger demand
- Time of year
- Time of day
- Festivals, events, holidays
- Competitor prices
Based on these factors, the ticket prices of airline companies are constantly updated using advanced pricing algorithms. So that means most of the old travel hacks are no longer useful. Always keep yourself informed!
2. Be Flexible With Your Travel Schedule
Flight tickets are more expensive during summer breaks, Christmas breaks, and major holidays because airline companies know that these are the dates when more people travel to visit their families or to go on vacations.
If you want to go to Europe, then plan your itinerary accordingly. You know that tourists commonly visit Europe during the summer, so book your ticket during spring or fall season because airfare is cheaper due to less competition.
If you want to visit some family members living abroad, keep in mind that flight tickets become more expensive around October to December, because that’s when a lot of people travel during the holidays or Christmas break. So plan your itinerary accordingly: book your flight 30 days in advance for domestic flights or as much as 4 months in advance for international flights.
Most people travel 1) on weekends because this is usually their free time, 2) right before holidays, and 3) during the middle of the day or early in the evening so they have time to rest before their flight. So naturally, the airline companies will increase the ticket prices during these times. If you want to avoid higher prices (and more people in the airport!), it’s best to book your flight on weekdays or after major holidays. Choose your departure date early in the morning or late in the evening, because most people hate waking up early to travel, therefore the demand for flight tickets during these times are lower.
Always be flexible in your travel dates and times. Be aware of the days and months when most people travel to your intended destination (“in-season” dates), so you can book your flight during the off-season.
3. Consider flying budget carriers
This would not have been possible years ago, but most budget airlines now capable of long-distance travel. This means you have a cheaper alternative to the traditional but more expensive major airline companies on your next international trip.
Here are some of the most popular budget airlines around the world:
- Air Asia
- Hong Kong Express
- Jeju Air
- Nok Air
- Peach Air
- Spice Jet
- Spring Airlines
- Tiger Air
- T’Way Airlines
- Vanilla Air
Budget airlines may have less perks than major airlines, but they’re way less expensive and offer even cheaper bundle deals every now and then. Make sure to check for additional fees aside from the ticket, because budget airlines sometimes charge for carry-on luggage, check-in luggage, online bookings, and other services. So every time you book, make sure to add up the total cost of the budget airline to see if it’s better to choose them over a major airline for that particular trip.
4. Round-trips and direct flights are not always the best options
Go one-way. Sometimes, it’s cheaper if you purchase two one-way tickets to and from the same city rather than one round-trip ticket for the same city. It’s always a worth a try to compare prices because you might get a better deal by choosing one-way.
Go multi-city. It’s more convenient to book a round-trip flight in and out of the same city, but it’s also worth considering to check if it’s better to fly into one city and out of another.
If you choose to book tickets on different airlines, make sure to have at least 3 hours between connecting flights in case there’s a delay in your departing flight.
Stitching up flights from different airlines takes up a lot more work than just a simple round-trip, and connecting flights mean add to the duration of your trip. But it can be a cheaper alternative which lets you save more money that you can spend when you finally arrive in your destination!
5. Use multiple search engines
It’s a good idea to check the individual websites of the airlines that interest you because they usually offer the best deals for their own flights.
Of all the travel fare aggregator websites and search engines, Momondo is the most popular and highly recommended by travel experts because it lets you find cheap airfare for both major and budget airlines, including non-English airline websites. Other international websites such as Skyscanner and Google Flights are also reliable, but some booking sites such as Airfarewatchdog, Expedia, Kayak, and Orbitz do not include non-English airline websites or airfare prices from budget airline carriers. WhichBudget is a good search engine for low cost budget carriers around the world.
No airline search engine is perfect, so it’s best to use more than one website if you want to find the lowest available booking price.
6. Use loyalty points whenever you can
Members of airline loyalty rewards programs can make you earn reward points every time they purchase tickets. You can visit Points.com to buy, sell, and exchange points between the loyalty programs of Aeroplan, Delta, Frontier Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines, Icelandair, and JetBlue.
If you’re not a frequent flyer, you can also earn miles and rewards points through activities such as online shopping, surveys, sign-up bonuses from credit cards, and more. Collect as many points as you can to unlock free seat upgrades and extra tickets!
7. Sign up for email lists and newsletters
Most email newsletters end up unread in your inbox, but this is actually one of the most convenient ways to snag a cheap flight deal without searching, because the airline company does the work for you! Signing up for mailing lists offers you access to special deals and flash offers that last for only 24 hours. Most of us spend a lot of time in our phones or laptops anyway, so checking your email every now and then should become a habit.
Consider signing up to the mailing lists of Airfarewatchdog and Scott’s Cheap Flights for the best flight deals in the US. For newsletters on international flight deals, some good suggestions are The Flight Deal, Holiday Pirates, and Secret Flying.
8. Don’t buy airline tickets in bunches
If you’re buying airline tickets for more than one person, you should still search for prices as one person because airline companies always show the highest price if you purchase multiple tickets.
Let’s say you want to buy four tickets, for you and three other family members. The airline will find four available seats in one flight and use the highest ticket price as the fare for all four seats. If three seats costs $300 and the fourth seat costs $400, the airline will price all four tickets as $400 each instead of adding up the individual prices of each individual ticket price.
So it’s more cost-efficient for you and your family if you buy four separate tickets and change your seat in the checkout process so all four of you will be sitting together.
9. Use the local currency of your destination when searching for tickets
International flights are generally cheaper if you buy them in the local currency of your destination, because converted rates make ticket prices more expensive. When visiting airline websites, make sure to select the native country as your location so the prices will adjust based on the local currency.
Another good tip that usually works is if your country’s currency is currently stronger than other countries, then search for a ticket from a country where the currency is weaker. For example, the US dollar is strong and the New Zealand currency is weak. I found a one-way flight from Australia to NYC for $1,000 USD but when I searched on the NZ version of the airline, I found the same ticket for $600 USD. It’s the same airline, same flight, and same booking class. It was just booked in a different currency.
Don’t forget to book your flight using a card that does not charge a fAlways use a no-foreign-transaction-fee card to avoid paying a surcharge.)
10. Book early, but not too early
The cost of airline fares will increase more the closer you get to departure, but there is no exact way of knowing when the lowest price for a particular flight will arrive. The general rule is don’t wait too long, and don’t book too early either. It’s best to book your flight around 6-8 weeks before your intended departure date, or even as far as 3 months in advance before if you’re planning to visit your destination in its peak season.
Remember, don’t stress yourself out when searching for a cheap flight! Keep searching for around 30-40 minutes, and when you find a deal that fits your budget, go for it before someone else takes it.
Now Go Ahead and Begin Your Search!
Follow the tips above to increase your chances of getting the cheapest flight on your next trip. Good luck, and have a safe flight!Return to top