How to Get Cheap Flights

The Ultimate Guide on How to Find Cheap Flights

When it comes to booking a trip, flights are often the most expensive element. With bankrupt airlines increasing their prices dramatically and suddenly, and more people traveling to far-flung destinations, airlines have had little reason to reduce their costs.

What’s more it can be extremely frustrating look for the best deals. You search over and over again only to find the flight prices increasing and cheap flights becoming mysteriously unavailable as soon as you click on them. It’s enough to may you give up on your adventure. But please don’t.

dont give up quote

There is hope, and lots of it. Despite all of these reasons you don’t actually have to pay over the odds for flights. With some savvy searching and travel prowess, you can get the very best deals and cut your travel costs dramatically. Here’s how:

Top 12 Cheap Flights Finders

The Internet and its many wide-reaching resources is still one of the best ways to find a good deal. What’s more, there are a number of flight search engines that search across airlines for the cheapest fare on the market, and here’s our top ten:

Flights will vary across these platforms, so make sure you check all of them before booking to make sure you have secured the best deal out there. Some will also be best for different regions, although all of these cover worldwide flights.

Keep Your Search Anonymous and Don't Be Fooled by The Cookies

You aren’t going crazy when you see your selected flights increase as you search. This is because of the clever yet dramatically painful “cookies”. Cookies track your movements online and know what you are searching for and when. But don’t panic, there is a way to stop them from watching you.

By making your browser “incognito” your cookies are reset everytime you open an incognito window, which means the site won’t remember your previous searches and won’t know to increase the prices.

How to make your browser incognito:

> Open up your browser

> If you are working Google Chrome or Safari then hit Command or Control, Shift, and then

> “N” to put your computer into “incognito” mode

> For Firefox or Internet Explore hit “P” instead

> A new window will open – use this one

Capture1

Another method is to use a VPN, this catches out airlines that are trying to offer more expensive fares to some countries. A VPN, or a Virtual Private Network, can hide your location or even make it look like you are somewhere else in the world.

ZenMate VPN is easy to use and free. Alternatively, you can also try simply changing the address line to another country – this often works.

ITA Matrix is another way to simulate another country online.

Flexible Dates and Times Can Go Long Way

It’s probably one you’ve heard before, but being open to when and where you travel will help you to find the best deals. Instead of being dictated to by the airline, you can choose to go when flights at their lowest.

The way to do this is through search engines, such as Skyscanner, which allows you to search the “whole month” this means you can see which dates are the cheapest, and fly then. There’s even an option to pick the “Cheapest Month”.

skyscanner

Being flexible with your location is also a great way to get cheap flights. Google Flights, Kayak and Skypicker, all have an explore map, which presents different locations on different dates for you to choose from. It’s also a great way to visit somewhere new and exciting!

More Tips

There are many suggestions (which many of them we haven’t corroborated) and lots of theories about finding cheap flights. Here’s some of them:

– Look around 4-10 weeks before your trip

– Try to travel on Tuesday, Wednesday or Saturday – they are the cheapest days of the week to fly

– Morning flights and overnight flights tend to be cheaper

– Long layovers usually make flights less expensive

– Travel out of season

– Book your flights in January – the cheapest flights for the whole year are often released at the beginning of the year

– Check in the morning – the best deals tend to be uploaded in the morning

Let Explore Feature Websites be Your Guide

Both Google and Kayak (and now also Skypicker) have the option to search via location flexibility, using their “explore” feature. The option allows you to fly to the cheapest location and is a great way of trying somewhere new. Using this option can literally find you the most cost effective place to visit, without having to do the work!

12

While in Chile, we only knew that our next destination will be Brazil, but we didn’t have any plans or dates, so we checked on Kayak for flights to Brazil during December and booked the cheapest flight we found to Rio.

This is also a great way to find a cheaper detour to your desired destination. For example, if you are travelling long distance, sometimes it’s best to get to the continent, wherever that may be, for the cheapest possible price and then take a cheap domestic flight. Europe is a great example for this, some parts of Europe are cheaper to fly to than others, so start there and then find the cheapest way to get from there to your chosen destination.

Book Smart

20160122_185228_LLS-001

If you can’t be flexible about your dates and where you want to go, then as soon as you see a price you are willing to pay for your flights go for it! There’s no use in hanging around and waiting for the prices to go up – there’s no time like the present, so be smart and book.

DIY Scheduling: Break Down Your Journey

Instead of relying on a search engine to plan your flight, do it yourself. DIY flight schedules can save you hundreds of dollars.

f935a64ce94ad6b33fad64208442bd0a

Why is it Cheaper?

Many search engines do not factor in budget airlines on their sites, and so you can make your flight cheaper by going to airlines direct and separately, and combining primary airlines with budget airlines for the best deals.

Great for long haul flights

This works best if you are taking a long haul flight that is going to include a stopover by booking each leg of your flight separately, or adding another destination. It is often cheaper to stay in another destination overnight and then fly the next day. It’s not only cheaper but you also get to see another destination and avoid eternally long layovers in airports, or on the other hand rushed changes between flights. It can be a great way to travel.

flight

It can also be cheaper to book a one way flight there and a one way flight back – spend at least half an hour experimenting with options, you never know!

Just make sure you give yourself enough time between flight changes/transfers – if you have booked with two separate airlines they usually won’t forgive a delay and you will end up missing your flight and losing money.

Fly With Budget Airlines

IMG_3198

Despite the increase in flight costs, there has also been an increase in the number of budget airlines on the market, which in most cases offer cheaper deals. Looking on their websites or contacting them direct can be a great way to get flights at a steal, as many of them do not appear on the main search engine airlines sites.

Here’s a list of budget airlines in different regions around the world:

Europe/UK

EasyJet

Ryan Air

Norwegian Air

Vueling

Aigle Air

Aer Lingus

Wizz Air

Wow Air

 


Australia/New Zealand

Jetstar

Tiger Air

Scoot

Air New Zealand

US/Canada

Spirit Airlines

JetBlue

Porter

SouthWest

Allegiant Air

Frontier

Porter

Air Transaat

 

 

South America

Colombia: VivaColombia
Easy Fly

Brazil: Azul Brazilian Airlines
Gol Transportes Aéreos

Chile: Sky Airline

Asia

China Southern Airlines

Air Asia

Tiger Air

Eastar

Jeju Air

Jetstar

Hong Kong Express

Scoot

Peach Air

Dragon Air

Spice Jet

Spring Airlines

Vietnam Airlines

Nok Air

T’Way Airlines

Vanilla Air

It is important to note, that the cheap prices often come with a cost. Most of these budget airlines charge extras for things like a checked in bag, a carry-on bag, food and drink, and sometimes even allocated seats. Make sure you factor this in before booking as it can sometimes be cheaper to get everything thrown in and pay slightly more.
Some budget airlines request you pay for baggage in advance, make sure you are aware of this otherwise you may end up paying their excessive fees at the gate.

We recently booked a flight from Quito to Bogota with VivaColombia (Via Skypicker) which offered a very cheap rate for only $150 pp, but with the luggage fees we ended up spending almost $200 each.

mskypicker (1)

It is also important to note that some budget airlines fly to airports that are outside of the central location. Make sure you check this before booking and allow for the additional cost.

Other airlines will charge to print your boarding pass at the airport, such as RyanAir, so make sure you check in online and print your boarding pass out yourself.

Most budget airlines have extremely strict baggage requirements, and if this is exceeded they will charge you to check it in at the gate, so be very careful about the size of your baggage.

Make friends with these airlines by following them on Twitter, Facebook and signing up to their newsletters. This way you will be the first to find out about new flight deals and dates.

Go Local - Always Check For Local Airlines

Search engines do not always include small local airlines, particularly in remote regions and on less-popular routes. If you are flying somewhere a little unusual find out if there is a local airline you could use instead. The chances are they will be cheaper than a major airline that rarely travels to that destination.

Airlines like LADE Air in Argentina, which offers cheap flights within the south of the country, and Hawk Air, which flies in and around Western Canada offer great deals and is always worth a check.

Try Alternative Airports for Maximum Savings

Spend time playing around with different airports to fly in and out of. Many large cities will have a number of airport options and some can be a lot cheaper than others. It may require a drive or extra public transport at your final destination, but it could save you a lot of money. And you may even get to see another part of the country/city you didn’t expect to.

Many European city airports will have great to connections into the city regardless, even if it takes an extra hour or so to get there.

Use a Travel Agency

20160109_133157

As a result of the general acceptance of online search engines as the best way to get a good deal, travel agencies have been a little bit left behind, and as a result have had to reduce their fares to make themselves competitive. This is the part that can really benefit you.

With so many travel agencies being left behind, the good ones have stepped up to the plate to offer better deals that can often undercut online prices. Many also offer just flights and often have deals with airlines to give you the best rate, although this isn’t always the case.

Booking with a travel agent can be great for long haul flights, as they can find the cheapest option, including dates and times, for you.

Travel agents will often be able to get a great deal as part of a package, which normally includes your flights and hotel. This can save you a lot of money on the flights. Edreams, TravelNation, LastMinute and Rumbo are all very well known online travel agencies.

Use Skiplagged for Cheap Traveling – but only if you are traveling without luggage.

Have you heard of hidden city flights? Most people haven’t, but they are great if you are traveling without check in luggage.

Essentially, you get a flight that connects to a city and hop off and you miss the connection, which is why you can’t take any luggage. There is a downside to this, if the plane does decide not to stop at the connection location and continue to the final destination you will be stuck going there.

There may also be a possibility that if you miss the connection the airline will not allow you to travel with them again – apparently Spirit Airline are one such company.

You can use Skiplagged to find hidden flights, but be aware that they are being sued by United Airlines, so you may be taking a risk with this option.

Take Advantage of Student Discounts

Picture 434-001

Student travel websites have some great offers, especially if you are actually a student. STA Travel offer great deals for students and young people under 26, and have an easy to use flight search engine. If you are over the age of 26 you can still get some great deals on the site. Other sites, such as studentuniverse.com, are aimed solely at students and while we were tempted to use it our student days are long gone…

Earn Your Air Miles

You may think it’s difficult to sign up for a frequent flyer program with an airline, but, in fact, it is super easy. You can do it all online and within minutes you will have your unique ID number and password. Every time you book a flight with that airline you enter your number to receive points. The more you fly, the more points you get!

A great way to rack up points is by using a company credit card to book all of your travel. Before you know it, you will have enough points for a domestic flight (this is usually the most economical way to use your points for the most amount of miles).

To get the most amount of points from flying choose airlines you know you will fly with a lot, or that have partner airlines such as Air France, which is connected to Delta, and Singapore Airlines, which is connected to United Airlines.

mmm 607-001

You can also earn air miles by:

-Shopping at stores that are partnered with that particular airline

-Looking out for special reward points, when you might get triple the number of points on certain purchases or even by doing something for free like signing up to one of their new apps or websites

-Take long distance flights – the more you fly the more points, so why not book that 50 hour flight around the world to get a free flight?

Sign Up For Newsletters and Fare Alerts

how to find cheap flights

Newsletters are a great way to be in the know. Airlines and travel sites will often advertise an up and coming sale via an e-newsletter, and the sooner you open that email and click on that link the better. Flights that aren’t sold out may also come to you via email, and can be cheaper because the airline is trying to sell off the final seats.

Some airlines will automatically add you to their database, especially if you don’t make yourself incognito (see point two) and for some you will have to sign up to their mailing list on their website, but it will be worth it.

 

Final tips to save money when you fly:

– Always book with a credit card if you can, in case the company goes bust or your flight is cancelled.

– Always get travel insurance – when you take risky flights you never know when you might need it, and you can always cancel it.

– If you are driving to the airport book parking in advance – you’ll get the best rate that way.

– Eat before you fly or bring your own food – budget airline food can be super expensive and low quality, bring your own or eat before you leave home.

What Are You Waiting For?

20160213_135100

There is a world of opportunity waiting to be discovered for a lot less than you thought. So start spending an extra hour a night on the hunt, and we are sure you will come up with an incredible deal for yourself.

It takes the knowledge (which you now have) and the patience. You can do it…. And if you check the next day and the flights have gone down, then use the 24-hour cancellation rule to cancel and the book the cheaper flights… It’s well within your rights. Happy searching!