After several years of traveling and browsing the internet for tips on how to book a cheap flight, I have collected the key tips in this article that will save you time, frustration and money when booking your next flight!
1. Keep your searches top secret
When searching for flights, always use the incognito or private browsing mode in your browser. If you search in your normal browser, the cookies will remember your previous searches, and when repeatedly searched, the flight prices will increase.
2. Book early for a cheap flight
The sooner you book, the better. Usually airlines ramp up prices during the final three weeks before departure. Booking as soon as possible is one of the easiest ways to ensure you will get the lowest price and seat.
3. Use tools to compare airline costs and to identify the cheapest day to fly out
I hope you are already familiar with this, because using tools to search for a cheap flight and days to fly out is one of the best ways to save money when booking your next flight. My three favorite tools are; Skyscanner, Momondo, and Kiwi.com. On Skyscanner you can get a quick visual of prices for a whole month to see what days are cheapest for your specific route. Very useful!
4. Use tools to compare airport costs
Like searching the cheapest airlines and cheapest days to fly out, you can also search for the cheapest airport to fly from. Usually smaller airports are cheaper, but this is not always the case! You can use Skyscanner and tick the ‘Add nearby airports’ option and see what airport is cheapest to fly to.
5. Book your ticket on a Monday or Tuesday
It is actually a fact that you should never book a flight ticket in the weekend. Flight tickets are on average 5% more expensive in the weekend than during the weekdays. According to my experience, the best day to book a flight ticket is on a Monday or Tuesday.
6. Book your departure on a Tuesday or Wednesday
While using the tools to identify the cheapest day to fly out, there is a high chance that you will see the cheapest fares on Tuesday or Wednesday.
7. Book a connecting flight
Sometimes booking a connecting flight can be cheaper than booking a non-stop flight. The search tools will let you filter flight itineraries by non-stop, 1 stop, and 2+ stops. Take into account the stopover times, so you do not need to stress to take your next flight.
8. Take advantages of one-way flights
While connecting flights may be cheaper as a non-stop flight, there might also be a price difference in booking a one-way flight or return flight. Most airlines put heavy surcharges on one-way tickets, but some airlines offer one-way tickets for roughly half the price of a return.
Tip: if you have booked a one-way flight, you are going to need an onward ticket to show immigration that you will leave the country. Don’t forget to book this 48 hours in advance of your arrival.
9. Consider discount airlines
While a major airline can get you just about anywhere, the costs are usually higher than when you would book the same flight by a discount airline. Below you can find an overview of discount airlines per continent;
When you already know the destination a long time before you will actually go, you can make use of the price alerts offered by certain websites. This price alter will notify you when a ticket price increases or decreases.
11. Be flexible
Another way to save money is by having flexible travel plans. Two of the easiest ways to find a cheap flight is to fly during the weekdays or during an actual holiday. You might also consider flying to a different airport or at a different date.
12. Use award miles
When you have saved some miles, it might be a good time to spend those miles rather than cash, or perhaps a combination of the two. If you do not save miles yet, search on the airline’s website for the miles programs they offer.
13. Search for airline error and sale fares
Airlines sometimes make mistakes when posting their fares, leading to a very cheap flight. If you know where to find these airline error fares, you can save yourself a lot of money. AirFare Watchdog is a great resource to stalk for finding airline errors and sales fares.
14. Browse airline specials
It is a good idea to visit some official airline websites where you might be able to find some airline specials or last-minute deals.
15. Do not book last minutes
In the past, this trick might have worked, but nowadays waiting until the last-minute is not something I would recommend. Usually airlines ramp up prices in the days before departure.
Flexibility and booking early are two of the best tips for booking a cheap flight. By comparing prices and options with the right search engine, you can easily find the cheapest airline to fly with, the cheapest airport to depart from/to and the cheapest day to fly out. Remember to always search incognito for consistent pricing and not to wait for last-minute deals.
Do you have some other sneaky techniques for booking a cheap flight? I would love to hear about them in the comment section below. Safe travels!