How to get cheap flights
When trying to book a flight to any location, anyone who has had to go through this process understands how difficult and tedious looking for the cheapest priced flights can be. Getting an economical flight can be a herculean task especially with prices changing at every moment and numerous search engines available. If you need advice and tricks to get you the best prices on flights while also saving your time, we’ve given some of the best tips below.
- Ensure your search is a secret
Are you one of those who thinks the price of flights changes when you open the same site on your browser over and over? Well, you’re correct. As a way to get people to book flights, by increasing the flight price of a route you have searched for repeatedly using information from cookies, you are made to believe that if you do not book early, you may have to pay more. To get the lowest flight prices, you need to ensure your browser is on privacy mode or incognito.
To open your browser on incognito mode is similar on different computers. When using Google Chrome or Safari browser, you will need to press the control or command key together with the shift and “N” keys while the control or command key with the shift and “P” button is used for Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox. The browser window opened prevents prices from fluctuating since it does not keep records of your activities.
Note: these tips may not work for older versions of OS X. here, you open Safari, then on the menu bar, click on “Safari”. On the list that pops up, choose “Private Browsing”.
You will need to close your open incognito windows and open a new one when you wish to search for a new flight. This is to reset the cookies. An incognito tab clears your cookies when you open it, so your records are deleted. This prevents prices from increasing.
- Research and use the best flight search engines
Depending on the search engine you use when searching for flight prices, you may notice that some come with cheaper prices than others for the same flight. This is because search engines are entitled to a commission from the airlines and increasing the prices play a part in gaining this commission. Learning which search engine always gives a great price is important.
You can try any of these when booking a flight
Google Flights (cannot use to book flights)
JetRadar (includes budget airlines)
AirFare Watchdog (this search engine is great at finding airline sale & error fares)
If you need to use a budget airline, you may need to go further in your search. The search engines mentioned cover wide areas and may not include budget airlines in your region.
While you may find a search engine that gives you a cheaper price on a lot of flights, it is possible it may not be the best for all flights. You need to use different search engines to be sure you are getting the best deal on each flight you are choosing.
One search engine which we have seen yield positive results most of the time is Skyscanner.
How to find cheap flights
- Identify the cheapest day to fly out
A lot of flights are cheaper on weekdays, and a lot of people believe Tuesdays are the best days to book flights. While these may be valid on some occasions, your best alternative is to get a look at the prices for an entire month so you can see what days have the cheapest flights to your destination.
To do this using Skyscanner, follow these steps:
- Open the Skyscannerweb page, or you can also consider downloading the Skyscanner app.
- Type in the city you will be departing from and the city you will be arriving at.
- Since you just want to know the days with the cheapest flight, it doesn’t matter if you are going for a round trip, choose “one-way”.
- Once you have selected all these, click on “Depart” and select “Whole Month”.
- Click on the “search” button to get a look at the different days with different prices for you to compare and see which date is cheapest.
In some cases, you may get a day which does not have any price displayed but has a magnifying glass over it. The magnifying glass indicates that you have to click on it to view the price.
If you will be taking a return flight, follow the same steps. This can help you get an overview of the cheapest days for a round trip or a one-way trip.
For something that functions like Skyscanner, you can try Google Flights. It offers you a map view so you can identify the location of the airport but it does not come with the function to book flights on it.
Other search engines like Flyr and Hopper can also give you a good idea of the days which have the cheapest flights.
- Make a habit of using budget airlines
Compared to airlines which offer full services, a budget airline gives customers the chance to get tickets at a lower price. While it may be cheap, you should know that there will be some areas where they will have to cut down on costs. You may need to pay for food/drink and the cabin may be less spacious.
We have listed some budget airlines for different places around the world. Some places do not have a large number of budget airlines while some do not have at all, for such places, we compiled a list of companies which offer the cheapest prices available.
Before you jump into booking a flight with a budget airline, it is always important you understand the details of the fine print. You should also ensure you do the following;
You must be sure of the location of the airport. Lots of budget airlines usually land at airports which are located outside the town.
Make sure all your luggage is booked and also pay any luggage allowance charged. Budget airlines usually charge based on the weight and number of luggage so they have a limit to the amount of luggage, weight, and height so they can keep their prices low. Follow these rules correctly, or you may be charged for any excess.
You should also make sure to read the terms and conditions of the airlines. This can be a deciding factor if you will have to pay extra. A good example of a situation where reading the terms and conditions can save you money is with Ryanair. This airline states that you should print your ticket and failure to do so will lead to extra charges. This warning is usually in the first sentence of the confirmation email sent.
For anyone who is out to get the best prices on any flight, you must learn to be flexible. Budget airlines always have restrictions and conditions, do your research properly and learn all these.
How to find the cheapest flights
For budget airlines in the United States
Traveling from Australia
For European countries
Norwegian Air (prices are great if you wish to fly between Europe/North America)
Air New Zealand
Hong Kong Express
How to get the cheapest flights
For any flight you need to take to any of these destinations, your best bet is to start following any information you can get on these airlines. You can choose to visit their web page regularly or also follow them on social media platforms like Facebook or Twitter. These give you an edge as you will easily be notified of any great deal available. Some airlines which usually have special offers often are Ryanair, Tiger Air, and Air Asia.
If you need a more detailed list of budget airlines, you can use Wikipedia. We recommend Wikipedia since the information available list specific airlines for each country. This is good to identify all the choices available to you, but you should note that not all may be budget airlines.
- Book the individual flights yourself on a long-haul flight
When traveling to certain locations, you may need to take a transfer. This means you will travel to a first location before taking another flight to connect to your final destination. An example of such a flight is one from Canada to Australia. Most times, you will need to go from Canada to Los Angeles (LA), and then connect from LA to Australia. Doing this entirely on your own can save you $300 or more on both trips. Note that while this may be a cheaper means of choosing your flight, it is best you have a few days to yourself before the next flight. Booking two flights which have only a few hours between them is not a very good idea.
The first thing you will need to do is to find out about budget airlines from your current location to the first landing location and from this location to the next. Through this, you can book your own multi-day layover. Doing this can give you a few days to have a fun time sightseeing in a new environment before you have to take the next flight, and what makes this great, it comes at the price of one destination.
A great search engine we have found is Kiwi.com. It gives you the best airlines to use when taking multiple flights by showing those with the cheapest routes.
- Find the cheapest place to go if you just feel like traveling
Using Kiwi.com to search for flights can be a good way to save some money especially if you just feel like traveling with no particular location in mind. It is also useful if you have a location. All you need to do once you are on the site is give the city you will be departing from and choose a range of the date you will be comfortable flying. It then gives you an overview of all the cities you can visit from your departure city while they are sorted according to prices. This makes it easy to get the cheapest places to fly into.
Kiwi.com has a significant advantage when it comes to looking up the cheapest flights to any destination. This is because it can mix different airlines to get you to your destination. If for instance, you are looking to travel to Rome, Italy, from Washington, USA, you can search on Kiwi.com or Expedia. You notice that you may get a TAP Portugal single route flight at $631.20 while Kiwi.com can get a price of $459.80 by mixing flights from JetBlue, Norwegian Air, and Vueling. This can effectively save you $171.40.
This makes it great for long-haul flights and the time to travel between the locations is also shorter than most single flights
One factor which people see as a risk when taking a trip with different flights is what happens when one flight gets delayed or rescheduled. Since there is no connection between the different airlines, you may either lose money or have to pay for your flight to be rescheduled. Kiwi.com offers a great deal where they can give you an alternate flight or simply give a refund in the case of delays or a canceled flight. This is only if you can contact them as soon as you learn about such changes. This offer makes it worth any risk.
- Use a travel agent
Although their prices may not always be the best for all flights, travel agents usually have rates which are better than what may be available to the public. To make the most of the travel agents, you need to find some of the cheapest flights you can get and then show it to them if they can offer a price better than that. If you use travel agents for a long-haul flight, you may be able to save up hundreds of dollars, and they can also fit in additional layovers, so you get more time to enjoy the view of a new city. This beats sitting in the airport waiting for your next flight.
- Local airlines should not be overlooked
In a situation where you need to go to a location which is not well-known, search engines may not be your best option. A lot of airlines which travel to regions in remote locations are usually small airlines which are not referenced in search engines. When going to a less frequented area, find out if there is a local airline within the area and also search using Google.
On some search engines, small airlines may pop up in the search results. In such cases, you should still visit the official company site. This may lead to you learning about great offers which are available and may not be listed on search engines.
- If you know the location and departure date, book early
It is known that in most cases, especially in Australia and Europe, the prices of tickets are more likely to increase as the departure date gets closer. While budget airlines make booking flights cheaper, once the tickets start reducing in number, the prices of those that are left start to go up. Booking your flights as early as possible once you are sure of your destination and departure date helps you save a lot of money on the flight.
- Check if it’s cheaper to pay in other currencies
Depending on the currency you choose in paying for a trip, you may get cheaper prices. Although it may not always be the case, on many occasions, a budget airline may require you pay in the currency of the country you will be leaving from.
If you wish to pay in foreign currency, avoid using a credit card which charges a fee on each foreign transaction. This may prove to be ineffective in saving your money.
- Search for errors in airline fares
In some instances, you may be lucky to find a ticket price which has been cut down excessively. This is a mistake from the airline which may be due to human error, error in currency conversion rates, or a technical issue. If you are well versed in spotting such errors on tickets, you can save up a lot of money on tickets you buy.
A good source of ticket prices which have been cut down is AirFare Watchdog and Secret Flying. If you also use Skyscanner to book flights and you follow the tip on using the prices for a month to find cheap prices, you may notice some days with prices which are extremely low when compared to other days. This is a good way to spot errors on airline fares.
- Consider hidden city ticketing
Hidden city ticketing describes a situation where you purchase a flight which has a connecting flight, and you drop off at the point where you are supposed to connect to the next flight. This is mostly because some flights which have a connecting point at your original destination may be cheaper than taking a direct flight to your original destination.
While this may be a good way to save money, it also comes with its risks. Some things you need to consider before embarking on such a trip are stated below.
You should only use carry-on luggage. This is because, in a situation where your luggage is checked in, it is likely to reach the final destination of the flight.
Some connecting flights do not allow passengers of the plane. This is if the same plane will be taking the last trip.
An airline may find out that you did not get on the connecting flight. The repercussions of this can be hard to say as it is common for people to miss their flights.
If you want to find hidden city tickets, you can make use of Skiplagged. This search engine works great, but since hidden ticketing is not a welcome development, United Airlines is currently suing the search engine.
You should be careful when deciding to use hidden ticketing.
- Use your flight points when you can
Air Miles, or flight points, are the number of miles you’ve flown over a period. By changing these miles to points, you can get a free flight from an airline to different locations. The number of points required for each location varies and the number of points you get also varies for each flight. You can also get flight points by using credit cards based on the number of dollars spent on flights. In some cases, it is best you use your points for travel within the country as these usually require a lesser amount of points. Using your points offer significant savings especially if you travel a lot.
Some important things you must always remember;
- Always use incognito browsing
- Booking your flights very early saves a lot of money
- Discover and make use of the best search engines
- When going on long-haul flights, book individual flights on your own and include layover
- Look for error fares