When you are preparing for a vacation, booking airfare and hotels go hand in hand.
Most of the times during the planning process of a holiday, accommodations are usually booked first. Then the panic sets in as you now have to book flights around the dates you have just nailed down with your accommodation.
Sometimes when planning around a booked hotel or resort, the frantic rush leads to more expensive flights to the destination of choice. How do i find cheap flights to my desitnation of choice in such a panic?
The good news is that there are some tips and tricks around booking flights, that can help avoid paying top dollar and find cheaper airfare tickets.
This post contains certain sets of Expedia, Airfare WatchDog , Booking.com, and Tripadvisor Website links to help you in your planning. I am given a tracking link, that when a potential buyer clicks through on that link and makes the purchase, I am given a small percentage of the end cost.
I need you to know that if you click through my link, no extra cost will be added to your final price just because I get a kick back. In fact, in many cases, you’ll probably get a discount for clicking through my links.
The Ultimate Guide In Booking Cheap Airfare Tickets
Everything is changing so fast these days that many of us can’t keep up. Gone are the days of actually walking into a travel agency to book vacations. Now everything can be done with just a click of a mouse.
Who knows what will happen five years from now, so lets take advantage of the glorious flight search engines that make finding cheap flights to anywhere a breeze.
At that time there was no competition for these companies, airlines could charge whatever they wanted, and the consumer had to no choice but to accept these insane airfares.
But with many flight search engines on the internet today, the industry has opened up a whole new world in terms of airlines to choose from.
When it comes to traveling, there are many different situations for every traveler and what they are looking for.
Some might be families that are just trying to secure a great value compared to the lowest price. While others have no problems with late night stopovers and limited features on airplanes to save a dollar or two.
Planning on traveling soon? Here is a guide to find cheap flights anywhere you want to travel.
Finding Cheap Flights Anywhere You Want To Travel
Do you want to save money on airfare for your next adventure? Here are some great tips to help you keep some cash in your wallet for souvenirs.
Get your search on its way as soon as you can
Airlines tend to release tickets to flights about 12 months in advance. As soon as you have decided on a destination for your next adventure, start your search and check in weekly.
Airfares are like a roller coaster, they constantly go up and down depending on the demand of certain destinations. Just like the stock market, set a buy price and once it hits that number you are comfortable with…Buy! Buy! Buy!
I understand that finding cheap flights last minute might be cheaper than what you paid for months before, but sometimes that doesn’t happen.
When To Purchase Airfare
There isn’t a rule on the opportune time to buy airline tickets.
But, you should keep in mind some trends when looking for inexpensive air tickets.
Peak season and Holiday weekends always are on demand, therefore expect higher prices. But you can counteract these prices by purchasing airfares at a certain time.
According to the travel industry, the optimal time to buy airfare is on average 7 weeks in advance(domestic). Other findings have suggested between 3- 7 weeks in advance.
The worst time to book is within 14 days of flying, or way off in the distance more than 5 months.
Internationally, the industry has suggested that the best time to nail down your airfares is 11 – 12 weeks before your departure date.
As for which day of the week to purchase your airfare, there really isn’t any day that is better than the other. Word on the street that buying on Tuesday or Wednesday secures the cheapest deals.
But, like Keysor Soze, it’s an urban legend that may or may not exist.
What is the greatest day to fly?
Trying to figure out what days to fly out on to save money? There are actual days to fly out on that are cheaper than others. Days to fly out on to save money are Tuesday, Wednesday, and Saturday.
These days are off-peak days for most airlines, and they tend to carry fewer passengers on these days. Which means you will have a better chance of snagging a cheaper flight as well as using frequent flyer miles.
Fridays and Sundays are usually the most expensive days to fly. And donʼt get confused with the theory that buying a ticket on a certain day will result in lower airfare. Thatʼs a separate thing to the day you actually fly!
It has been suggested to try these combinations:
Domestic: depart Saturday, return on a Monday. International: depart Tuesday, return on a Wednesday.
Have flexibility with your flight dates
The best tactic for how to find cheap flights to anywhere is trying to be flexible with your travel dates.
If you want to find cheap flights using flexible dates, give yourself the best chance by searching a couple of days or even weeks, either side of your favorite departure date.
If you are locked into accurate dates, it will be more challenging to get the best deal.
Adjust the time of day for flying
If you canʼt change the date of your flight, play around with the time of day you choose to fly, which can change the price of your air ticket dramatically.
Flying in unpopular hours, like the red-eye or early in the AM instead of the late morning through afternoon, increases your chance of getting the best deal.
Most of the time, the cheapest flights leave either extremely early in the morning or late at night.
Check alternate airports
If there is more than one airport near your origin or final destination, check them both before making your flight booking.
The more options you have in terms of airports and travel dates, the more likely you will be able to find the best deals on airfare.
And look at multi-city flights as well to save money.
Ensure you know where the airport is situated in relation to your accommodation and before you book your tickets.
I ran into a situation in Tokyo where I was flying into an airport much farther away from the city center.
It cost me extra to pay for a train ticket into the city center and a lot more in time than merely flying directly to the main airport.
Fly where the deals are
Looking to find cheap flights to anywhere in the world? What you should try instead is find cheap flights by destination, and then spending days or weeks trying to find a flight deal, looking on flying to where the cheap flights already are!
Choose a destination you can afford and enjoy. Use a flight search engine like Skyscanner or Airfare WatchDog that lets you type in your departure city and search for a set of cheap flights to anywhere in the world. Setting a price alert to search for cheap flights is a great idea, and you can do this through Airfare WatchDog and Expedia
If you are flexible with where you want to go, these are convenient tools and fun to play around with.
Book two one way fares
Sometimes trying to find cheap flight combinations, can net you a big win.
Booking a return trip sometimes is pricier than booking two one way tickets. It’s crazy but true.
I recently tried to book a return trip from Vancouver to Los Angeles and found out that by booking two one ways I saved 75 dollars.
This may not happen all the time, but what’s an extra few minutes of research before locking down flights.
This may take some time in finding cheap one way flights, but the effort can be worth it.
Avoid holiday times when flying
This is not really a tip, but it something to keep in your mind when booking.
If you can avoid flying up to 7 days before or after a major holiday period, you avoid the high ticket fares.
But, flying out on major holidays like Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day could save you a penny. (If you are flying out on Christmas Day, give the flight crew a Box of Chocolates. They are away from family that day, it’s just a nice thing to do.
Also, keep an eye of tourist season where you want to travel to. For example, Europe in the summer is the peak tourist season. Try visiting in the off-months instead.
Sure the weather might be a bit cooler, but the prices for flights (and accommodation) will be lower, and there will be fewer people lined up at popular attractions.
Keep In Mind Layovers
Many times you can find cheap flights by connecting with longer layovers. If you can handle 4 hours or more at the airport, you might save some money.
But, if you are facing an overnight layover of longer than 8 hours, it may not be worth it.
I was recently booking a flight from Vancouver, BC To Austin, Texas and I had to arrive on a Friday. The flights for Friday were $350.00 more than flying out on a Thursday.
So what I was able to do was fly out on a Thursday evening, stop-over in Los Angeles, stayed overnight in a nice Holiday Inn by the airport, and left the following morning to Austin and saved $150.00.
Join a frequent flyer program
Why not? These programs are free to join and you can earn points towards cheaper fares, upgrades, free companion tickets and even earning free flights!
But keep an eye on certain programs. I am a member of a particular reward program where if I want to fly anywhere with that program, I am facing overnight layovers on every flight.
Still, I don’t know why I still have that card. Probably because I have 50,000 miles to use with that program and one day I will be able to redeem my points for a reasonable flight.
Sign Up for an Airline Affiliated Credit Card
If you have a credit card, why not have one that can accrue frequent flyer points. Many credit cards offer excellent benefits and offer features like free checked baggage or companion fares for less.
All I can say, is pay off your card every month to avoid interest.
Sign up for flight deal Email Notifications
Many Airlines offer incredible deals in its e-newsletters, and the only way to see these deals is by signing up for the companies e-newsletter.
For example, Air Canada will occasionally send out incredible business class deals that if you are not an e-newsletter subscriber you would never know.
Refundable Flight Tickets
It really depends on the risk. If youʼre taking a short trip and havenʼt paid a fortune for it, donʼt worry regarding purchasing refundable tickets or trip cancellation insurance.
However, if youʼve planned a dream vacation and an event like a medical condition happens or the area you are staying that is prone environmental evetns, refundable tickets and trip cancellation insurance is a good idea!
Years ago I ran into a situation where I was to leave for a trip to Japan, and the day before departure, the country suffered a catastrophic earthquake.
I was more worried about the people of Japan more than my vacation, but I had refundable tickets so I could worry more about Japan and not myself.
Avoid airline fees
Most airlines are charging for everything these days, and if you have 2 bags or more, expect to be charged for it. It’s insane the jump in price if you check in 2 bags compared to one.
So what you should try to do before every flight keeping all your luggage within a single bag per person, and make sure your luggage is not over-sized.
Alternatively, look for airlines that donʼt charge fees and some airlines will waive bag fees for frequent flyers or members of its credit-card program.
If you do need to check baggage, paying for it a check in at home before your flight will be much cheaper than doing it at the airport.
Related Article: Ultimate Guide To Packing For International Travel
Know Your Plane
Now, this tip is not a money saver, but at least you can prepare yourself before your flight.
Try using the site called SeatGuru, which shows you the description of each seat on your flight. There you can tell which seat is the best and worst on the plane.
Plus, SeatGuru will give you details like the pitch of the seats, if they have powerpoints, personal TV screens, and so much more.
Do a mileage run
Some people do what is called a “mileage run” if they are close to obtaining elite status for a whole year with a particular airline.
What happens is they find a cheap flight anywhere and take that flight whether it be merely a day trip or a weekend away.
The cheap cost of the flight is seen as a tiny sacrifice to pay if the extra miles accrued allows them elite status for a whole year.
Also, you can use Points.com which helps the world’s leading loyalty brands engage their members in entirely new ways – both on Points.com and through their own loyalty program websites. It’s a great way on how to get miles fast.
Points.com is the world’s leading loyalty program management site, helping users get more flexibility and value from their airline, hotel, retail, and credit-card loyalty programs.
Delete your cookies/history when searching for flights
Some websites store your search data and will increase the cheap flights by price if they know the specific flights you are looking for.
So when you come back a second time you are pinged as being more ready to buy and so are likely to be offered higher prices than you originally saw.
It’s like bargaining with a vendor at a market in Southeast Asia. If you tell the vendor that you know a vendor around the cornor selling an item cheaper and leave, but 5 minutes later you come back, they have you, hook, line and sinker.
So when you are searching for cheap flights, donʼt forget to clear your cookies or load every site in a new incognito browser window!
Best websites for booking flights
No flight search engine is perfect and not all airlines, especially low-cost carriers appear on each search engine. For example, Southwest donʼt allow themselves to appear on any flight search engine.
Remember, if you DONʼT book a flight directly with an airline and book through a third-party instead, be prepared to pay fees if you need changing flight dates or periods, or even worse need to cancel your flight.
And donʼt forget to compare airline surcharges like baggage fees and whatever they want to throw in.
Different airlines charge differently and some of these search tools donʼt always show those costs. Sometimes you think youʼve found a cheap flight, but extras at the end add up!
Utilize the suggested search engines above, and be as flexible on dates as you can, plus keep checking prices regularly.
But at the end of the day, have a price in mind you are comfortable paying and donʼt be anxious to hit the buy button!
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