travelling on a budget, the first thing you’re probably looking to save money on is a flight.
And sometimes, finding the best deal on a flight can be the deciding factor on where you’re going to travel to. Cheap flight prices are available, but you need to know how to find them.
First things first, stop believing the myths.
Searching for a flight in your browser’s ingconito mode is not going to save you money, nor is booking a flight on a Tuesday rather than a Saturday.
It is also not cheaper to fly on Western holidays, such as Christmas day (actually, it is usually more expensive). Although those myths sound like they make sense, there is no evidence that proves this to be true.
Many bloggers will tell you that you need to delete your cookies, or search in incognito mode – but they won’t be able to give you any evidence that this actually makes a difference.
What is true, however, is that flight prices fluctuate, and this is why you might see a flight for $400 one day and $700 the next.
The reason for this is down to bookings. The price of a seat on a plane is determined by the price of the previous seats that have been sold.
First things first, stop believing the myths.
Now we’ve got that out of the way, let’s get on with finding the cheapest flights.
- BE FLEXIBLE
- If you want to bag the cheapest flight, you’re going to need to be FLEXIBLE with your DATES and maybe also with your DESTINATION.
- Be aware, flights around holiday seasons are going to be EXPENSIVE! If you can, avoid flying at Christmas, Thanksgiving, New Year and Easter. Also remember that school holidays = more expensive flights.
- More importantly, it is always cheaper to fly mid-week rather than on a weekend. Not many people want to start their vacation on a Tuesday, right? Therefore, airlines are likely going to hike up weekend fares.
You can save hundreds of dollars by being more flexible with the day you travel.
If you’re simply looking for a cheap getaway, keep your destination OPEN! Be Flexible! Search engines today make it very easy to search all destinations in the world.
If you’re looking for a city break, or somewhere warm to escape the winter or maybe you just want to get a cheap flight to ANYWHERE, it has never been easier to do so, as long as you stay flexible.
Don’t be afraid to add more stops in your journey.
Sometimes, we know where we want to go but we can get there cheaper by adding our own layovers, especially if we’re travelling far.
For example, I knew I wanted to go to Vancouver, Canada in November. I was starting from my home in Porto, Portugal.
Below is the cheapest flight that I found on Skyscanner , searching by month (I was flexible with my dates). This is a one-way flight.
No way was I going to pay $461 for a 19hour journey with a connection in Lisbon and Newark. I had no interest in going to either of those places.
I knew I had to break the journey up myself.
Porto, Portugal is not an ideal starting place for transatlantic flights. I needed to go from another European airport with better links across the pond.
Visiting Porto Soon? Use this guide bellow to find the best things to do
I thought, I have friends in Barcelona who I would like to visit. Barcelona has fantastic links to destinations outside of Europe.
BOOM! I found a solution. Low-cost airline Level from Iberia airlines offers direct flights (13 hours) from Barcelona to Los Angeles LAX. I booked my transatlatic flight for $100.
Flights between Porto and Barcelona are very cheap thanks to budget airlines such as Ryanair and Vueling. I got my flight for $15.
So, now I just needed to get from LAX to Vancouver. Back to Skyscanner. Easy. $90.
New total = $205 from Porto, Portugal to Vancouver, Canada
Plus, I get to spend 1 night in Barcelona, like I wanted!
Don’t forget nearby airports.
If you’re flying to/from a region which has multiple airports, make sure you check out the options from all of them.
We often assume that bigger airports mean more options, and more options mean lower fares. However, that is not always the truth!
Take New York for example. How many airports are in New York? Check Google if you don’t know.
Wrong. There are FOUR and the one you’re probably missing is New York Stewart International Airport. Despite being 60 miles away from Manhattan, flying to this small, relatively unknown airport, could save you hundreds of dollars.
Norwegian Air offers some great deals from Stewart to transatlantic destinations such as the UK, Ireland
You need to bear in mind that this airport is 60 miles North of Manhattan and will take you 1.5 hours to reach. It’ll also cost you almost $20 on public transport to reach the airport from Manhattan. But, with those flight prices, I think we can handle that small added cost and journey time!
- USE MULTIPLE SEARCH ENGINES but be selective! The ones which I have found to give the best results are:
- Skyscanner – This is my absolute
favourite. Why? It’s easy to use. You’ll find most airlines, even budget airlines on there.
- Momondo – It’s a close-call between
skyscannerand momondofor me but I prefer skyscanner’sinterface
- Google Flights – Why do I like it? It’s insanely fast and it’s a great search engine for price graphs showing flexible date options.
I am a skyscanner addict. I spend a lot of my time browsing this site. It is my number one go to site for cheap flights and it should be the starting point of your flight search. Skyscanner will show you ALL the options. It includes low-cost and traditional airlines.
If you’re flexible about your dates, which you need to be if you want the cheapest deal, you can search for the cheapest flight by month on skyscanner. Having the ability to see the price of flights on different days can save you a lot of money. A flight can literally cost hundreds of dollars more from one day to the next. You’ll often find that flying on a Tuesday or Wednesday is a lot cheaper than flying on a Saturday. It makes perfect sense. Who wants to start their vacation on a Tuesday? Not many!
If you’re flexible about when you travel, maybe you can be flexible about WHERE you travel. Have you ever thought ‘I need a break, where can I go?’
Skyscanner’s ‘EVERYWHERE’ feature is a dream for people who just need to GO! You’ll be able to search the cheapest flights leaving your departure airport, on any date to EVERYWHERE in the world. Cool, huh?
It’s by using skyscanner’s ‘EVERYWHERE’ feature that I’ve managed to find some real deals. Such as, $47 for a direct flight from Cancun, Mexico to Bogota, Colombia (flight time: 3hr 25mins)
How could I resist that? The answer…. I didn’t.
If you’re not pressured for time, you can also take advantage of skyscanner’s price alerts feature. Like I said earlier, flight prices fluctuate. The price alert notification’s will alert you when the prices rise or fall.
Many people prefer Momondo, and I understand why. This search engine will search most airlines and websites in the world and unlike many search engines, it will also pick out those that are not in English. Momondo is the go-to website for almost all travel experts that I know. Make sure you use Momondo and Skyscanner before you check out any other sites – you’ll save a lot of time, and money.
Google Flights was launched in 2011, after Google purchased ITA Software, a travel and reservations software company. But, still today, not many people know about Google Flights and many people are put off by the appearance of the site. It really doesn’t catch your eye like other online flight agencies. Remember not to judge a book by it’s cover – this tool is powerful, and you should be using it.
Google flights is also ridiculously FAST. It’ll show you the cheapest price for each day instantly. This makes it an excellent tool for selecting the cheapest departure date.
On top of that, they have also rolled out a new feature recently which will predict the likelihood of delays that haven’t been announced by the airline themselves. Google flights won’t flag these delays until it’s at least 80% sure, though.
- KEEP AN EYE OUT FOR AIRLINE ERRORS
Airlines often make mistakes in their pricing and this can lead to you saving a lot of money!
Here are some examples of mistake fares which I have found today:
- Flights between European cities for $4
- Business Class from European cities to New York, USA $460 return trip
- Miami, USA to Brasilia, Brazil for $154 return trip
Mistake fares are usually the fault of human or technical errors.
BEFORE YOU BOOK! be aware that since 2015 it is no longer a legal requirement for airlines to honor these mistake fares. If they wish, they can cancel. They don’t always do so, because the airline doesn’t want the bad PR.
Where can I find these mistake fares? Finding these deals on your own is pretty hard! Unless you want to invest a lot of time doing so, I recommend following the experts.
https://www.secretflying.com/ is the best resource that I have come across and this site will show you worldwide flight pricing errors, every day. You can also subscribe to this site via email, Twitter or Facebook.
Do you know any other ways to save money on flights? Share below and don’t forget to share this guide with your friends and family!