How to Book Flights Cheap & Save on Travel
Who doesn’t love to occasionally get away vacation to escape the daily grind, or just to experience a completely different part of the world and the unique cultures that are out there to explore? Traveling is awesome, but it can be expensive too. However, you don’t always have to sacrifice your journeys in the name of travel costs! Luckily, there are plenty of ways to save on one of the most expensive parts of traveling: airfare.
Considering how much money you can potentially spend on flights just to get from point A to point B, looking for ways to cut back on airfare costs and find the cheapest flights ever can really help make traveling much more affordable. All you need are some of the best airfare hacks to book flights cheap, so you can get to your destination without breaking the bank. Read on to learn our best cheap airfare hacks, so you can be boarding as soon as possible.
1. Don’t Fall for the Travel Myths
Have you ever heard the notion that airlines and travel sites trace your IP address on your computer when searching for flights? Well it’s true, kind of. By doing so, they can check to see when and where you’re planning to travel and hike up the price the next time you check for flights.
To get around this, many would-be travelers go “incognito” to fool travel search engines and camouflage their flight searches. But, the thing is, airlines have become very sophisticated with their pricing algorithms, which means their flight prices vary for different times of the year, days of the week, and even times of the day. At the end of the day, knowing what buyer demand is like helps airlines stay as profitable as possible.
When you want to book flights cheap, going in an incognito window can help you find cheap airline tickets, but sometimes it won’t make any difference at all. The more important airfare hack to keep in mind when you’re searching for the cheapest flights ever is the one just below this, so keep reading.
2. Be Flexible with Travel Dates & Times
If you absolutely must stick to specific travel dates, you’ll be at the mercy of the airlines. Traveling during peak times of the year will almost guarantee you the highest prices on airfare simply because of the high demand. If you can swing it, consider flying during the off-season so you can enjoy hefty savings and book flights cheap.
Flying is generally more expensive during the holiday season, spring break, and the summer months. Therefore, the best times to book flights cheap are typically in September and October or right after the Christmas holidays in early to mid-January, after kids have gone back to school. Flying on a weekday is also cheaper than flying on the weekend usually. Not only that but flying at the crack of dawn or late at night can also help you save money on flights. If you don’t mind getting up before the rooster crows or being on a plane when you should be heading to bed, you may be able to save a few bucks on your plane ticket.
3. Be Open to Different Destinations
No, we don’t mean you have to completely change your final destination; that wouldn’t exactly be an airfare hack now would it? We mean consider flying in and out of different destinations. Although, there’s always a flight deal to be had if you’re open to being flexible about where you go. If you’re really not set on any destination at all, then you can surely snag the cheapest flights ever.
Airline search engines have developed savvy technology that allows them to create a simple way to search across the globe to book flights cheap so people like you can take advantage of amazing airfare deals. All you have to do is play their game. Don’t stick with just one arrival and departure airport when searching for the best flight deal, be sure to widen your search to nearby airports. You might be able to find a neighboring airport that has a cheap terminal transfer service to get you straight into your destination city for free anyway, or you might realize there’s a train at one airport that can get you to your hotel faster than a taxi stuck in traffic from another. Widening your flight search to include nearby airports will give you more potential combinations for your trip, which means more options to book flights cheap.
4. Fly with Budget Airlines
Big name airlines, like United and Delta, are well known air carriers that are inevitably very popular among travelers simply because of their brand names. But, due to this popularity, they tend to charge a pretty penny for flights, because people are willing to pay for it.
Other smaller, lesser known airlines, however, tend to offer travelers the chance to book flights cheap because they need to reel them in somehow. There are loads of airlines you’ve probably never heard of, and often these can be the best airlines for travelers trying to stretch their airfare budget. Smaller, budget airlines tend to offer the best prices and cheapest flights ever. While they might not offer all the frills of brand name airlines, like first class, rewards programs, or specialty meals, the money you’ll save will be well worth these “small” sacrifices.
However, this is one of those airfare hacks that comes with a big disclaimer. Be sure to research what extra fees your budget airline of choice might charge you for various add-ons you might assume are included (like a carry on bag!) to ensure your savings will be as big as you expect.
5. Consider Flying Indirect
Direct flights generally cost a lot more than indirect flights, for obvious reasons. By flying indirectly and opting to take a layover, you can effectively slash your airfare costs by quite a bit in exchange for a little inconvenience. Seem worth it? Depends on your travel goals and timeframe.
Another flight hack you can take advantage of if you don’t mind having a stop over is to fly to another destination that a major airline flies to for cheaper than a direct flight to your final destination. Then you can pick up a direct flight on a budget airline to your final destination and save some money on flights. Of course, this trick only makes sense if the total of both flights is less than the direct flight, so make sure to do your math before going this route!
If you decide to try out airfare hacks like this one, be sure to map out all the options, with prices, in a spreadsheet so you are positive you’re actually saving money in the end.
6. Mix Up Airlines
It’s most common for travelers to book roundtrip flights. Many people believe that booking this way is the more affordable way to go. However, oftentimes two one-way tickets can actually be the best way to book flights cheap. And, you might even find that different airlines have their own flight deals for each leg of your journey, so you can get a deal on both your departure and return flights.
7. Use Airline Rewards to Earn Free Flights
For starters, by starting to use a credit card that offers airline rewards, you can earn rewards on your everyday spending and end up with the chance to snag a free flight after collecting enough points. Airline rewards programs can be a great way to not only get free flights, but also free upgrades—such as complimentary checked baggage—that can help you save money on airfare costs.
If you aren’t already part of an airline rewards program, you should sign up for one now! There are all sorts of options to choose from, and you don’t have to get a credit card to be able to start racking up miles every time you fly. However, some credit cards with travel rewards will award you with bonus points just for signing up, so you’ll already be on your way to a free flight without spending a dime.
8. Don’t Book Flights Too Far in Advance
You want to book flights early enough to get the flights you want without paying more for last-minute fares, but you also don’t want to book too far in advance that flights are nowhere near cheap. Booking too early or too close to your travel dates will leave you vulnerable to paying peak-like prices. The best time to book flights cheap is between six and eight weeks before departure, so be sure to add a reminder to your schedule if you want to travel in the next couple months.
Don’t Pay More for Flights Than You Have to!
Like any product or service, there are always airfare deals out there for budget savvy travelers to take advantage of. All it takes is a little time, effort, and insider knowledge on how the airline industry works to apply the best flight hacks and book flights cheap. Use these airfare hacks the next time you’re booking travel to get great deals on flights every time.