A guide to finding cheap flights
Everybody wants to find cheap flights, isn’t it? While I’m not an expert in the field, I have some tips and tricks about how to find good deals. I wrote a comprehensive list about useful travel apps you might need for your next vacation, you can check it out here. Here’s a list of my tips to remember next time when you are searching for deals:
Before searching for a flight delete your cache/cookies/history
Airline’s website store data and can increase the price if they know what flights you are searching for (by dropping cookies). If you visit the same website in a short period, it means for them that you are more likely to buy a ticket, so they are showing you an increased price. Some websites claim it to be just an urban myth, but I think it never hurts to clear your cookies and history. You can easily do this from your browser’s settings page.
Search in incognito mode
Similar to the first point: always search for a flight in incognito mode. The cookies are reset each time you open a new incognito window. So before booking, close all your windows, and open a new one in incognito mode.
On Google Chrome and Safari you can do this by hitting the CTRL+SHIFT+N combination, on Mozilla and IE use the CTRL+SHIFT+P keys.
Google is your best friend
Did you know you can search for flights in Google? Yes, you can use Google Flights to search for your dream destination with a cheap ticket. Google Flights compares prices for you, and also identifies the cheapest dates to fly to your destination. It also has an interactive map that shows you all the deals!
Learn how to use Skyscanner
Skyscanner is probably the most used price comparing website. Here are a few tricks you can use to search for the cheapest possible prices:
Try the ‘Everywhere’ search option to see where are the best deals
Search for the cheapest month with this easy trick:
Subscribe to price alerts to receive an email if the price for a destination drops!
Compare prices on several websites
Besides Skyscanner, there are several good websites that compare the prices to show you the cheapest airplane tickets. Before jumping into the first deal, check the prices on several websites. Here are a few:
Tuesdays and Wednesdays are the best days to search for flights
People tend to plan their plan their travels on weekends, so searching for a flight during mid-week can be the best option, as the prices tend to be low on these days. Friday-Sunday is the worst times to search for a ticket. Airlines often release their weekly prices after the weekend, so these days are usually the cheapest. Also, flight prices are cheaper during the morning. Nobody wakes up at 5 AM thinking: ‘Oh, wow, what a great time to search for a flight!’ (Well, I’ve heard of some :D).
The best time to book a ticket is 7-11 weeks in advance
Airlines release ticket usually 11 months in advance. With the prices constantly changing, if you know your destination you should check the prices weekly at least to find a cheap airline ticket. CheapOair has released has released a study and according to them the “sweet spot” was to book 11-12 weeks ahead. If you don’t want to plan ahead for 12 weeks, here’s another tip: the WORST time to book is 14 days in advance.
Probably the most important if you are looking for the cheapest way to find airplane tickets. Who said a vacation has to last 10 days in an island paradise? (Well, a lot of people actually 😀 ). Why not go on spontaneous trips on weekends several times during a year? If you see a cheap airplane ticket, get it and go! Life is too short to plan ahead.
Avoid holiday periods and “tourist season”
If you are searching for a cheap ticket during the holiday period…well, don’t. Plan ahead, buy the tickets at least 2 months before your upcoming trip, this way you’ll save a lot of money.
Sign up for email alerts
You don’t have time to check regularly on cheap tickets? No problem, sign up for email alerts! You can set up the optimal price you want to pay for a ticket, and you’ll get a notification via email if the price drops below the amount you specified.
Sign up for newsletters
Yes, I know you hate signing up for things and giving your precious email address to anybody. But signing up for an airlines newsletter might give you extra discounts that are not available to anybody who visits their website. I scored a few cheap tickets this way. Airlines (or even Skyscanner) will send an email if they have some cheap flights. This usually happens if they can’t sell all the tickets at a certain price and they need passengers. Win-win 🙂
Follow airlines and third-party travel websites on social media
Same as signing up for their newsletter: airlines sometimes have different promos/discounts on different channels. Follow them on Twitter and Instagram too! Be a stalker for discounts and deals! (hey, you do it for free with your crush 😀 ).
Fly where the deals are
Does this need an explanation? Set that search to Everywhere and fly to the cheapest possible destination!
Check the airline’s direct website
Instead always using Skyscanner or any other third party sites, check the airline’s direct website. If the price is the same, ALWAYS book with the airline’s website. If anything happens (delay, lost baggage), the airline’s customer service would be more convenient to call than some third party site.
Book a last-minute trip
Airlines often offer last minute deals on flights, so keep your eyes open for these deals. You can check this awesome website, the Secret Flying as they post a lot of great deals and last-minute discounts.
Search for error fares
Please email me, if you find any 😀 Thank you in advance. I guess you just have to be lucky.