There is no week in the year that I don’t search for cheap plane tickets online. And sometimes it can be ver
In this blog post, I want to share with you how to find cheap flights online in order to have more to spend at your destination :D.
Some of you have heard of the term travel hacking before and I’ll be honest I only did last year. I was very excited to read up on it and thought I’d be enlightened with the insider tip of the century, just to find out that I have been practicing most of these things anyway. Given our beautiful sisterhood, I want to make sure that you as well can travel the world for little money, so I’m happy to share my little wisdom with you. Let’s get started.
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1. Go incognito
This one is the first and most crucial step for a good search process!
You know these little things called cookies? No, I don’t mean those yummy chocolate chip cookies at your local Walmart. I’m talking about the browser cookies used to save your browsing history on the internet.
Based on your cookies, flight search engines increase the price of your desired flight if you repeatedly search for the same route. Because the search engine is told that there is a high demand for this flight. Bummer!
In order to avoid that and be able to book the flight at the lowest price, you should always search your flights in incognito mode. It’s a private browsing mode, that allows you to roam the internet without saving your history. Therefore, every time you search a flight, the search engine won’t remember you and show you real-time prices.
2. Browse first, then decide
Most of the time, you already know where you want to go and then start looking, right? Well, I suggest, you change it around. Always start your search by browsing the internet first. Look for cheap airfares on booking engines like Skyscanner, Momondo or Kayak and find out which destinations and months are the cheapest. Try to be as flexible as possible with your dates in order to avoid peak travel times.
3. Search for Error Fares
The first thing you might ask yourself now is “What are error fares?”. No worries, I got you!
Simply out, error fares are when an airline puts in the wrong price for an airfare. These flights are then much cheaper than the average price and oftentimes go unnoticed by the airline.
How can you find them? Easy! By checking out great websites like Secret Flying, Airfare Watchdog, and Travelpirates. These sites find error fares worldwide and share them on their homepage and social media channels.
Disclaimer: I am not a flight hacking expert and have never spotted an error fare by myself, but I have benefited from them multiple times. I snatched a roundtrip flight to Panama City for $154 and a roundtrip flight to Cuba for less than $250 before.
If you want to learn how to find airline mistake fares, then check out Thrifty Nomads.
4. Use flight booking engines
One of the most underrated tips to find cheap flights online is the use of flight booking engines. No matter which airline you use, you will always pay more if you book through them directly.
Actually, just for fun, look up a transatlantic one-way flight from Europe to the US on any of the big airlines like Lufthansa, British Airways or Emirates. Now look up that same day and route on Skyscanner. See what I mean, it’s absolute bonkers!!!!
Of course, there are some flight booking engines that have inflated prices. This allows them to get a piece of the pie. However, a lot of times they will still offer better fares than the original airline because they combine multiple airlines to create cheaper routes.
They will include budget airlines that you may not know of to find you a better deal and a more affordable flight.
Here are some of the flight booking engines we use and love are:
Related post: Best travel websites for girls that love to travel
5. Book 3-4 months in advance
Booking your flight at the right time is as vital as the time you want to travel. Why? Because airlines categorize prices according to different booking windows. These are timeframes before the flight, used to increase or decrease the price.
For example, a great time to book international flights is 3-4 months in advance, which is within the ‘Prime Booking Window’. During this time airlines start to lower the prices based on demand.
If you’re flying domestically the best time to book is usually around 21 days in advance. After that ticket prices will increase rapidly as it’s now considered a last-minute airfare.
6. Google domestic airports
Did you know that Newark airport is only 45 minutes out of Manhattan, New York, and usually offers cheaper flights than JFK?
A lot of times smaller domestic airports offer cheaper alternatives to the bigger, more prestige airports. They tend to host most of the major budget airlines, that are trying to avoid high airport taxes.
Which reminds me. Don’t be bougie and try out Budget Airlines!
Yes, some Budget Airlines are crazy cheap but will stress you out because of their strict luggage policies or booking methods *cough cough Ryanair. But others such as Southwest or WizzAir are more enjoyable and offer great customer service.
So take advantage of domestic airports by researching local budget airlines and their routes.
7. Choose the right day to book
Another important factor that will influence the price is which weekday you make your booking.
Airfares will fluctuate a lot during the week as airlines are trying to fill up the plane. Thankfully, one of our classes in school called Revenue Management taught us how airlines set their algorithms. They monitor the number of website visitors and increase the prices as demand rises.
This year Tuesdays and Thursdays are the cheapest days of the week to book a flight. And if you want to go a step further, then you should wake up at 5am to book. Those are the days and times that booking engines receive the lowest website activity.
Either way, I suggest that you monitor a flight for at least one week before you book and see if certain days offer better prices.
8. Get-away mid-week
Most people prefer traveling on the weekends and therefore book their flights for Friday or Sunday arrival. This encourages airlines to increase prices on the weekends.
So if you want to save money, consider flying out on a Tuesday or Wednesday as airfares are guaranteed to be notably cheaper mid-week. An easy way to identify the cheapest day to fly out is by using Skyscanner’s “Whole Month” option.
All you need to do is to put in your desired route and choose ‘One Way’. But instead of exact dates, you click on “Whole Month”.
The system will then give you a view of the whole month and the rates for each day. As you can see below Tuesdays offer the cheapest airfares while Fridays are always the most expensive.
Related post: 25 easy ways to save money to move abroad and travel
9. Think outside the box
A lot of airlines have adapted rates for different countries. Meaning that the same flight can sometimes be cheaper if booked from a different country than the outbound country.
I remember when I lived in the U.S. and was looking for a return flight to Germany. It turned out that the same exact flight from MIA to DUS was cheaper from my parent’s IP address in Germany than it was from my IP address in the U.S.
Therefore, it is worth a try to visit the airlines’ foreign (local) website to see if it offers a different price. For example, if you’re located in England, search Lufthansa.de instead of Lufthansa.co.uk to see if the airline offers a cheaper flight in Euros (note that the BP is stronger than the Euro and therefore a currency conversion could save you some coins too).
10. Book separate flights
The beauty of booking your own flights is that you can mix and match them the way you like it. Find out which airlines fly the cheapest FROM your departing airport and which airlines fly the cheapest TO your destination airport.
For example, last summer I flew from Düsseldorf to Atlanta. While a direct booking with one airline would have cost me far more than $1,000 USD, I paid less than half for mine by booking two separate flights.
How did I manage that? I decided to fly from Germany to Miami with Eurowings (who just started flying to the US last year and therefore still offers low prices). And flew from Miami to Atlanta with Delta Airlines. Both flights together cost me less than $500 USD. I saved a ton of money that way!
Related post: 15 smart travel hacks that will save you money
All these suggestions I was blessed enough to benefit from myself, but are not always promised. It mostly comes down to this: If you don’t mind being flexible about your time, route and destination then you will be able to apply and benefit from these tips. And if you don’t know where to start, there are great websites like Secret Flying that will do the travel hacking for you and keep you updated about travel steals around the world.
Do you have more tips to find cheap flights online? Let us know in the comments BELOW!