How to Get Cheap Flights
We all know those people who always seem to be jetting off around the globe. And, if we’re honest, we envy them. Their lives are full of experiences, excitement and amazing pictures in front of the world’s best-known landmarks and most stunning scenery.
But we don’t always think of practical ways in which that could be us. Sure, we dream about it, but we don’t really commit to making it a reality. One of the top reasons for this will always be money. So how do these geniuses do it?
The answer is fairly simple yet complicated enough that not everyone is doing it. They have mastered the art of cutting unnecessary costs and finding a bargain for themselves.
Travelling enriches you. It costs money, but it rewards and is an investment in your life. Its reach goes far beyond the time itself; it changes you for the better. Don’t ignore the cost factor, find ways around it.
Flights are usually a big factor when considering the expense of a trip. That does not need to be the case.
Here are many great tips to help you find cheaper flights for your next adventure.
Use the Best Search Engines
A little bit of research here goes a long way. No individual search engine will have the lowest fares all the time, so it is important to compare and contrast to see which is throwing up the prices to suit you. Many will give you inflated prices to increase the cut that they receive per purchase. It is also important to remember that not all airlines feature on such sites, so be sure to check for other airlines flying to your destination.
Identify the Cheapest Day to Fly
Finding out which day is cheapest to fly is a simple way of limiting the cost. It is not always as simple as weekdays are cheaper; check specifically for your destination. If you are heading somewhere popular with people flying for business, it is quite possible that the more expensive flights will be during the week as opposed to the weekend. There is no universal rule, despite rumours that Tuesdays are cheapest, so check!
Find Cheap Places to Fly to
If you are open to where your plans could take you, then this can be a great way of finding really cheap flights. Apps online can help you to find cheap destinations, or you can type in to search engines some places you would love to travel and see what the best options might be. Not only is this an option to help you save money, but a fantastic idea for visiting somewhere you may otherwise not think of.
If you know when and where you want to go, get it booked. Don’t wait! Flights rarely come down in price as the time nears, unless you take a real gamble and hope for an offer very close to the time (in some cases, this will also backfire, and fares will soar close to the departure date). Generally speaking, as the plane starts to fill, prices will go up. Exceptions to this can be found (as mentioned later), but you are unlikely to find them if you are looking for specific destinations on a set date. Another way to save is to get covered for any flight cancellation or delay, so if and when it happens and unfortunately, it does regularly happen, you get compensated and don’t lose out.
Go Directly to Airlines (But Don’t Ignore Agents)
The vast majority of the time, you will pay less when booking directly with an airline. This makes sense because any other agencies involved will be taking a fee for their service, meaning that you pay for your ticket, plus any extra costs incurred by the airline in getting to the point of that sale. Therefore, when you find flights on any website or search engine, go and check out the airline’s own website to see if the flights can be found cheaper on there.
That isn’t to say you should not use agent sites. Either way, they are a great tool for finding flights in the first place, and you may occasionally find a cheaper price by using one. A general rule and lesson here: don’t accept the first price you see!
Be Your Own Search Engine
Not all airlines appear in the places you may expect, so make sure you look into which airlines fly to your destination from the airports near to you. Sometimes, the best price can be found with an airline that does not buy into search engines and only deals directly with the customer. Simple google searches can help you to find the airlines operating to and from different airports, then you simply need to find out what each offers on their website.
Pick When to Book
Prices can fluctuate through the week, with some suggestions that booking a flight at the weekend may be more expensive. Apps and sites can be found that offer ‘price alerts’. Consider signing up to them or doing the research yourself and seeing if you can spot a pattern. Other factors will inevitably have an impact too, so again there is no universal policy about this. However, if booking on a particular day of the week can save you money, it’s well worth your time and effort.
Search in Secret
Buy in Bulk
If you know where you are going and when, try buying your tickets in bulk. If you purchase a large number of tickets with the same airline you can often save a good amount of money, or if dealing with them directly, you are in a great bargaining position. This is particularly a good idea if you are looking for multi-city flights or an around the world trip. Although this can be a good suggestion, be sure to do your comparisons first, as it may end up being cheaper to book with different airlines. If you find that it is, you could always take this information to the airline you want to book with and see what they can do.
Check Prices Against Other Currencies
When booking a flight, see if it is possible to pay in a different currency. Some airlines may stipulate that you pay in a particular currency, but if not, this can be a way to save some money with favourable exchange rates. However, there are real pitfalls here. First of all, make sure that you are actually making a saving and, secondly, ensure you are paying with a card that will not incur fees for foreign transactions, or your attempt may end up costing you money.
Plan Carefully – Taking a Detour or Mini-Break
Sometimes, you may find that flying from somewhere else saves you a significant amount of money. For example, if you are planning a long-distance flight, it may be cheaper to fly elsewhere in Europe first before flying on a few days later.
Alternatively, you can look at routes that may take longer, but will save you a significant amount of money. While this is not an option for some people who hate flying, if you can manage longer waits, then there is plenty to be saved and spent when you make it to your destination. Finding a balance between comfort and savings is crucial, but if your main concern is cost, this is a way of saving big money.
Check for Charter Airlines
If your options of where and when to travel are open, you could wait and see if offers are released for charter airlines. These are the flights that are included as part of package holidays. However, if seats remain close to the departure date, you may find that they are released on the cheap as getting anything for the seat is better than it being left unsold. This option isn’t a great option for people looking for a specific location or time to travel, but for the last-minute deal hunter, it is perfect.
Sign Up for Deals
Yes, you’ll have to sift the rubbish and pointless messages that can come with signing up to airlines and sites that can offer deals, but if you are the recipient of a bargain, you’ll be glad you did! If you are travelling through a particular region or continent, sign up to mailing lists for relevant airlines before you go and you will find some of their best deals coming directly to your inbox. They can also be a great source of inspiration if your trip is open-ended.
A great way to ensure you are not paying top prices is to be flexible in your thinking and options. When looking for a specific destination on a particular date, you are very limited in your options. Therefore, you are put into a position of purchasing the flight or cancelling the trip. This means you will often end up paying whatever price is put in front of you. Unless there is a reason that you must go to that place on that day, consider other options and open a whole world of opportunities.
Look at that flexibility as an invite to take on an adventure you never would have thought of. If you are prepared to go anywhere, you wrestle back some of the control from the airlines. You are releasing the cards they hold and can pick off their very best prices. Also, you will get to go to some of the most incredible places that you would otherwise not have considered (or perhaps even heard of!).
Go Any Time
In the same spirit, release the shackles and constraints that come with pre-planned trips and be open to travelling at any time. This can include any day, week or month, but can also be specific to the time of day at which you travel. Overnight flights may be cheaper, or flights arriving late in the evening. Do your research and check, but an open-mind once more helps you to find the very best options for you.
Make sure you look into the possibility of using local, lesser-known airlines when flying internally across countries. As mentioned earlier, you can find online which airlines operate to and from different airports. Check the prices you are finding with major airlines against what you can fly for with local alternatives.
Mix and Match Airlines
Never take the first offer an airline gives you without first checking alternatives. If you are flying on a multi-leg journey, consider combining different airlines encompassing all possibilities from the largest to the smallest. Huge savings can be made here. Airlines know that many people out of ease and simplicity will look to fly with the same airline straight through. This is not necessary, so look into it and see what other options there are.
Book Your Own Connecting Flights
On a similar note to mixing and matching, take responsibility for booking your own connecting flights rather than leaving it to chance that you have got the best deal. Remember, the airlines want your custom as much as you feel you need them to get from A to B, so take back some control. Sometimes, booking straight through with one airline will be the cheapest option, but never assume that and if you are looking for a way to save money, ensure you look into what you can do for yourself here.
Budget Airlines and Travelling Light
Though they can receive a mixed reception, budget airlines are one of the best ways to cut costs. Many people focus on the negatives, such as less legroom, and limited baggage, but they serve a fantastic purpose. If you are able to pack what you need into carry-on baggage and sit through just a few hours of limited space, you can make savings that then enable you to significantly enhance the experience you have at your final destination. Know what you need and don’t be tricked into purchasing add-ons that you really don’t need and you will find that flying really doesn’t need to be so expensive.
Very occasionally, you may find that an error has occurred and an airline has released flights for well below their true value. Be ready to pounce on such opportunities and snap up a bargain for yourself.
Look into signing up with different credit cards or airlines which offer points for the purchases you make. If you are a frequent flyer, this can be a good way of clocking up enough points to take a flight for free, or at least significantly reduced. Never use a credit card to spend beyond what you can afford at that moment, but if you are able to pay it off straight away, then using the credit card can both be safe and rewarding in the points and effectively travel credit that you will receive
While not strictly a money-saving point, it is vital that you never sacrifice your safety in favour of money. Surprisingly, some airlines do have lower standards than others and safety records that are not as good. Make sure you consider this fact in booking; always research before you commit to flying with any airline.
The power and inspiration of travel can never be overstated. It is life-changing, exciting and invaluable. Take advantage of our tips, get booking your next flight and see what transformative power will be at work in your life.
Why do prices change for the same seat on a flight?
Ultimately, the airlines are a business and they want to make the best sale they can on a seat. There is no secret formula – if there is a higher demand for the seat, they can charge a higher price. On the other hand, they don’t want that seat to be empty and this is why we sometimes see prices lowered. The tips on this page aren’t a secret, they use the same logic as the airline, but are looking for prices going in the opposite direction!
Can a deal be ‘too good to be true’?
If you are concerned, make sure you do some thorough research into an airline and see exactly what they offer. Be sure, also, to check their safety record. Having said that, you do hear of people getting unbelievable deals, flying for prices in single figures at times. So while it will always be important to check if there are any catches on a seemingly great deal, there’s definitely no need to fear them when you do find them!
Can trying to find a cheaper option end up costing you more down the line?
Yes it can! You must always check to see if there will be additional charges and if they will be necessary or optional. For example, if food is available at a cost, but it is optional, you have the choice whether to make that saving or not. On the other hand, if you are travelling for months or have no option but to take a checked bag and that is going to cost a significant amount more, then it can end up costing you money. They key is planning and preparation. Know exactly what you need and find that!