There are many quick tips and trick for how to get cheap flights. Some of these are internet myths, others worked with the old algorithms airlines used, but are now out dated. Ours have been tried and tested by travellers (including us) and are still a great way to get cheap fight tickets to stunning destinations.
1. Be flexible with your location
Being flexible with where you’re going can help you find the cheapest flights. If you’re set on a particular destination, you may find that getting there is quite expensive. This is especially true if it’s a popular tourist place. By being willing to change your destination you’ll not only save money on flights, but also find great places to travel that are off the beaten track.
Google Flights and Skyscanner both have ‘search everywhere’ features that allow you to hunt down the cheapest flights from your local airport to everywhere in the world! This is also a great way to pick a travel destination if you’re unsure where your next trip should be.
2. Be prepared to change your dates
When you want to visit a place can also have a huge effect on the price because most tourist destinations have high and low seasons. Visiting them during low season can mean you’ll get cheap flights and cheaper accommodation. You can also avoid the crowds. This is a great option for people who have their heart set on a particular travel destination but want to save some cash.
Flying a few days before or after your preferred departure date can also save you money. For example, flying on a Wednesday may be cheaper than flying on a Saturday because it’s less popular day to go on holiday. After all, most people book a whole week off work, leave on the Saturday and return the following weekend.
3. Use Google Flights
Once you know where you’re going and when, don’t just book through the first website that comes up on Google. Instead, check out Google’s own flights comparison feature: Google Flights, which searches thousands of airlines for cheap tickets. It also informs you if changing your dates slightly gives you an even better deal.
4. Use comparison sites
Flights comparison websites like Skyscanner and Expedia scan different airlines to find the best deal for your trip. Avoid comparison sites that have a short list or airlines they promote because they won’t give you a good overview of different deals. If you’re willing to put in a bit of extra time to save money, compare flight prices on all the biggest comparison sites. We’ve listed our top 12 favourites below:
5. Check prices in different currencies
When I was travelling New Zealand and looking to fly from Christchurch to Bangkok, I changed the currency from Great British Pounds to New Zealand Dollars and the price dropped loads. It’s worth changing the currency to the country you’re in or wish to travel to and seeing if you can get cheap flight tickets.
6. Change your location to a different country
Changing your computer’s location to a different country using a VPN can have a huge effect on how much websites charge you for flights. This is due to currency exchange rates and the varying living costs across the world.
A great example is India. Domestic flight there are relatively cheap and lots of people get around the country by aeroplane. However, tourists booking flights across India for an upcoming trip while in their home country may pay a lot more. This is especially true if they’re somewhere that’s relatively expensive to live, such as the UK or USA.
7. Book directly through the airline
Comparison websites make their money by taking commission from the airlines they promote. This makes their flights slightly more expensive than the ones on the airline’s own website. You can often get the cheapest flights for you dates by checking the comparison websites, picking a flight, then heading over to the website for that airline to book.
This isn’t always the case, though – on Skyscanner I’ve sometimes found that the prices are the same as on the airline websites. But it’s definitely worth the couple of minutes it takes to check because you can snag some great deals this way.
8. Compare the cost for everything – not just the flight
Some airlines offer cheap flight tickets, but then charge you extra for everything… Your seat, baggage, food and drink… You find that the price gets expensive very quickly. To stop being caught out this way, it’s best to add up the cost of everything you have to pay for and not just the flight itself. Compare prices for the top three or four deals you’ve found in order to not end up paying more than you bargained for.
9. Book flights far in advance….
When is the cheapest time to book flights? As far in advance as possible! Airlines increase the prices of flights when they get more in demand. As the departure dates gets closers and seats fill up, flights become more expensive. Even if very few seats are booked on a flight the prices still tend to increase. This is because airlines know that people booking flights are short-notice don’t have as much flexibility over their dates.
10. …Or six weeks before you fly
If your schedule doesn’t allow for you to book months in advance, try and book at least six weeks before you fly. As a result, six weeks before departure is when many airlines significantly increase their prices. If you book a day after the six weeks deadline then you just might be paying a lot more than you would have the day before.
Part 2 – more tips
We’ve got so many flight hacks that we’re having to split them into two blogs with 10 tips in each. Read part 2 now!