Expensive flights are the bane of any budget traveler’s existence. While a trip to a foreign destination can seem affordable in regards to food and accommodation, the flight is often the straw to break the camel’s back. In other words, expensive flights are one of the most common deterrents to taking vacations or traveling. People simply think that cheaper flights are either incredibly rare or a part of a pipe dream. In reality, there are several ways to find affordable and even incredibly cheap flights. These strategies aren’t defined to one specific location on the globe either. Here is a definitive guide to booking the cheapest flight possible to anywhere.
Choosing the Correct Search Engines
When people are searching for flights online, they are often compelled to use commercial search engines such as Expedia or Kayak. While these websites can yield cheaper results at times, there are certainly more reliable flight search engines. Skyscanner, based in the UK, is one of the most popular websites for budget travelers seeking an inexpensive flight. Skyscanner effectively searches all major and budget airlines to deliver the most inexpensive choice. Some other reliable flight search engines include Momondo, Cheap-0-Air and Jet Radar.
Flying on the Cheapest Day
Many people may be surprised to realize how much of a price difference the day of a flight can make. Flights can easily cost $100 or more within a few days of one another. While there are many reasons behind this drastic price difference, it is important to avoid the most expensive days. Typically, flying on the weekend (i.e. Friday, Saturday or Sunday) will be considerably more expensive than flying during the middle of the week. This is generally due to the fact that a majority of people fly on the weekends. Not only does this increase the competition for flights, but airlines also hike up the prices knowing that people will still fly. Most flight search engines offer an option to compare the prices of a flight throughout each day of the week to find the cheapest.
Make Use of Advanced Search Features
As mentioned above, there are several advanced search features that can help in finding the cheapest possible flight. A majority of flight search engines include these additional filtering features. Perhaps the most effective search feature is the flexible dates option. Instead of selecting a specific date, some search engines allow users to choose a flexible date option, which compares the prices throughout a week or month timeframe. A few sites, such as SkyScanner, allow users to search a whole country for flights instead of a specific destination. The results will then show the cities with the cheapest connections in that specific country.
Hide Your Searches
While hiding search history regarding flight schedules may sound paranoid, there is good justification. In fact, many airline websites have cookies that take account of a browser’s search history. If the same flight is searched over and over again, the prices may begin to rise. These websites figure that if the same flight is constantly searched, than it will be purchased even if it’s a little more expensive. In order to avoid this possible extra expense, it is advisable to enable your browsers history masking feature. For Chrome, this is known as Incognito Mode. This way, flight search engines won’t be able to determine how many times a particular route has been searched. Another strategy to avoid this problem is to use multiple search engines to compare the prices results on each.
Use Budget Airlines
Although not near as popular as commercial airlines, budget airlines can offer significantly cheaper flights. The only issue is that budget airlines offer far less connections and options than larger companies. In fact, it is their small flying radius that allows them to offer very affordable prices. However, finding the right budget airline in your desired location of travel can yield the cheapest possible option. This strategy will take some extra research since budget airlines aren’t often featured on larger search engines or as well advertised. You can easily do a Google search by typing in the name of the country or area of travel and ‘budget airline’. This search should reveal the local budget airline with connections in that specific area.
Find the Cheapest Connections
People are often conditioned to think that they must fly directly form the nearest airport to their desired location. While this may be true for those on a tight time schedule, more flexibility can offer great opportunities to save money. Another great method for finding the cheapest possible flight is to find the cheapest connections. Airlines typically have more connections (and therefore cheaper flights) out of larger airports. Instead of flying from a small, local airport, it may be cheaper to commute to a larger one. The same goes for a larger destination. For example, flying from Miami to Berlin, Germany will be more affordable than flying from Ft. Myers to Bonn, Germany. Even though the larger airports may not be a final destination, they can offer significantly cheaper flights.
Booking cheap flights is not as impossible as some people consider. They key is to be patient and never settle for an incredibly expensive flight. Remember that flight search engines are your best bet for finding affordable flights. Also, their advanced search features are a great way to boil the results down to the perfect option. Most importantly, travelers need to think outside of the box when searching for the cheapest flights.
Flying is one of the quickest and easiest ways to get from one destination to another. Whether you’re going on vacation, seeing family cross country or exploring a new culture overseas, the airfare is probably going to be one of the most expensive things concerning your trip. Many a traveler knows the woes of airfare tickets and fees. It’s not uncommon to spend thousands of dollars just for you and your family to fly. However, travel experts have come up with a series of tips that can help you become a more budget-savvy flyer.
Why You Need to Compare
The reason you need to compare flights, tickets and prices is because you’ll save a ton of money doing so. If you go with the first flight that you see, you’re likely not saving the amount of money that you could have by doing a bit of comparison shopping first. While it can be confusing, annoying and time-consuming to comparison shop, you’ll be glad you did when you come away saving tons of cash on the same type of flight to get to your destination.
Sites like Google, Travelocity and Fare Compare offer easy-to-use comparison tools that help you determine which flight is the best fit for your needs. These services are often free to use and can be highly advantageous to those working on a budget. Also, be sure to look for an app that you can download to your mobile device that will allow you to compare flights even if you’re nowhere near to a computer or laptop.
Get Airfare Alerts
You can sign up for airfare alerts that are sent automatically to your phone, tablet or email account. These alerts are specific to flights that have been lowered in price and are at their cheapest. These alerts are set by only the most budget-savvy travelers, so it’s vital that you act fast before the good seats are taken. Remember that everyone who is flying is looking for the best deal, so the cheapest seats are always the first to go.
Getaway maps are unique because they are not specific to a location. If you set your getaway map to send you alerts, you’ll be given information on cheap flights available to different areas of the country or overseas. This could be a flight to the Philippines or a connecting flight to California. If you don’t care where you travel to and just need to get away, this map is a wonderful option for you.
When to Fly to Save Money -Days and Times
Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays are the cheapest days to fly in the United States. Most people fly on the weekends for weddings, vacations and overnight getaways, so flights are often the most expensive during these times. Also, in order to save a bit of money, look into taking a flight that other people may not be interested in. Overnight flights are often the cheapest because people don’t like flying at night due to jet lag and exhaustion. Early morning flights are also relatively cheap because it’s not a prime time for people who need to then rush to the airport just to catch their plane.
When to Shop for a Flight
It’s advised by travel experts that you book your flight weeks or even months in advance to the actual trip. If you book a flight the night before you have to travel, you’re going to pay full price for the ticket without much slack. This can become increasingly expensive if you’re going to be traveling with a large group of family members or friends. If you know that you’re going to be taking vacation in August, try to make the flight arrangements in June to save as much money as possible and to ensure that seats are not sold out. The summertime is a prime time for travel, so expect flights during this season to be more expensive than if you were traveling in the middle of winter. However, even with careful comparison shopping and booking flights weeks in advance, you should still get a relatively good price.
In order to save money on a flight, you need to be as flexible as possible. If you only want to travel in the afternoons and don’t want any connecting flights, don’t expect to get the best price available to air travelers. You need to take an overnight flight or go on a plane that has two or even three connecting flights in order to save a significant amount of cash. Flying is expensive enough and you don’t want to make it even worse by being rigid in your plans.
There are also many rewards programs that you can become a member of that can save you money over time. Don’t be afraid to join multiple reward program incentives so that you gain points no matter which airline you’re using. While Southwest always tends to be the cheapest, other airlines offer fantastic deals that you would otherwise miss by only flying Southwest. The reward programs essentially work by allowing members to accumulate points the more that they book flights. In fact, you could get free flights or save thousands of dollars over the course of several years just by being a member of one of these reward programs.