The first thing most of us look for first when booking travel is usually airfare. It’ll determine a lot about our trip. If you’re on a budget, then that spot that’s on the other side of the globe or that really remote island you’re obsessed with probably isn’t cheap to get to and might not make it onto your itinerary. With a little research and know-how, though, it could be.
Here I’ve rounded up my favorite general tips and also booking websites from around the web, with the hope that some of these will make your booking process a bit easier. Good luck!
People say this all the time, but it’s because it’s true! If you’re hankering for a vacation but aren’t picky about where, then do a search for cheap destinations leaving from your local airport. The more flexible you are, the better chances you’ll have of finding an affordable flight. You might even find an amazing place you’d never think to go! Try SkyScanner to get a list of destinations available from your city, or use Kayak Explore to see prices from (literally) around the globe.
Book on Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday
I’ve heard different things around the interwebs, but these tend to be the traditional “cheap” days. It’s worth keeping an eye out for your flight on these days.
Browse in Incognito Mode
Most websites use your stored cookies to instantly know more information about you and what you’ve been searching for on the web; this includes any travel you’ve researched. It is rumored that some travel sites may inflate prices based on what they know you’re interested in. Browse in incognito or private mode to hide your cookies and browsing history from travel sites.
Travel When Others Don’t
Think about when people don’t normally travel. One example, I found a cheap flight to LAX from DFW the weekend after Memorial Day weekend. Since so many people travel and go out of town Memorial Day weekend, most opt to stay in the weekend after, making prices significantly lower than those of the recent holiday weekend.
Use a New/Local Airline
Using budget airlines is great for saving some money if you don’t mind skimping on other perks. Airlines that are smaller or new to your city/airport, however, will sometimes offer budget-airline prices with perks to entice people to use their service for the first time. Interjet, for example, is a budget Mexican airline that recently started operating out of DFW and offered some pretty amazing deals for first-time fliers. They currently only fly to destinations within Mexico (and some surrounding spots) from a handful of cities in the US, but if that’s where you’re going, then it’s perfect!
Sign up for Everything
I hate getting junk mail as much as the next person, but signing up for emails and offers from different airlines can sometimes lead to great deals! The last ticket I booked was because of an offer directly from the airline. They had my destination on sale and I jumped on it.
Credit cards often get such a bad rap, but you can score amazing rewards if you’re smart about it. Our Italy flights last year cost us $0 because I racked up enough miles on my reward card. Use the card when possible to pay for things you’re buying anyway (groceries, bills) and try to enroll when there’s a sign-up bonus; these can sometimes be up to 50,000 miles.
Do Your Research
Nothing beats some good old-fashioned research. And I mean, don’t just go on Expedia! Exhaust all avenues of the internet; it’s a giant place. There are so many great sites for finding and tracking fares, but these are a few of my favorites: SkyScanner // AirfareWatchdog // Kayak // Google Flights // TripAdvisor
There’s an App for That
Take advantage of having your phone attached to your hip and get alerts when fares go down. Hopper is a good one, but there are tons of awesome apps that will do most of the legwork for you.
I hope these tips for finding a cheap flight were helpful! Please feel free to share any tips that have worked for you 🙂