1. Use the best search engines:
· Google Flights (calendar view tool used to easily compare dates and prices)
· Skyscanner (great tool to find deals from your location to anywhere in the world)
· Momondo (flight comparison site of 1000+ airlines and rates)
· Airfare Watchdog (great resource for finding sales and error fares)
· Jet Radar (flight comparison search tool that includes budget airlines and deals)
· Skiplagged (Airfare search engine for hidden-city ticketing)
2. Search in a Secret Browser
Always search flights in a secret tab or incognito mode. This action will hide your search history and make you look like a new user each time you visit that website or search engine, in turn, possibly getting yourself a lower price. Need help accessing this option on your computer? Review the step by step here.
3. Flex Your Schedule
Flexing your schedule is always a good idea and a great way to find great deals. Your best strategy is to use sites that provide a calendar view. For example, if you love United Airlines, when you search this site, select the box for “my dates are flexible”. This will pull a calendar view for the specified month and length of travel you’re requesting. If you love Southwest Airlines (my favorite), enter your search request, hit search, then select “Low fare calendar” on the results page. Now you can see what days are cheapest for your route. Several airlines offer this option. Other great sources for calendar view are Skyscanner and Google Flights.
4. Consider Budget Airlines
Expect to pay for premium service. But if you just want dirt cheap, safe, reliable, and you don’t need those added extras, it’s definitely worth searching these airlines. Always read the fine print! Read more about Budget Airlines here.
Sign up and subscribe to newsletters and alerts from your favorite airlines to be notified when a sale drops or discounts are being given. Many airlines have frequent flier programs and/or rewards accounts where you can collect points towards future flights. This is a great way to spend now and save later. You can also download apps like Hopper to monitor route prices and send you price alerts.
6. Use Flight Points
If you’ve already signed up and/or subscribed to your favorite airline or some cheap airline you flew a while ago but forgot all about it, log into your account and see what you’ve racked up. If you’ve been travelling this airline majority of the times you’ve flown, you could have a substantial amount of points/miles towards future travels. You may be due a free flight or 2. This is a great way to save big bucks!
7. Travel Off-Season
As you know, everything is high during peak season, travel included. Flights are no different. If you have a set amount of vacation and can use it at any time during a year, consider travelling when lines are shorter, airports are quieter and costs are cheaper. Research your destination and check out their holiday schedule and seasonal periods. Branch out when there is no huge event in town and tourists are not packed on the street like sardines. I promise you won’t miss that long line for an ice cream cone or that crowd of people who keep blocking and photo bombing your Instagram success.
8. Flex Your Destination
If you don’t have a specific destination in mind and you’re just ready for a vacation, jump on Google Flights or Kiwi.com and find the cheapest places to fly. Enter your departure city and date range to pull a full map view of prices across the world.
9. Consider Hidden City Ticketing
Search an airfare search engine showing hidden-city ticketing trips. Using this trick, you can find flights that save you money by getting off at the layover, rather than the final destination. Skiplagged is the best options for this! Download the app and give it a go. However, they are being sued for exposing flight savings secrets. Airlines look down upon this technique so don’t mention it in normal conversation with your flight attendant. Also, don’t attempt to book directly on Skiplagged. Use the search tool to search and confirm, then head directly to the chosen airlines website and book from there. For example, you are considering flying United Airlines from LAX to DCA but those flights cost $400 online. Well, Skiplagged may show you a similar flight from American Airlines LAX to DEN with a layover in DCA for $200, WINNING!! Go directly to the AA website and book that flight from LAX to DEN and hop off in DCA. DO NOT CHECK YOUR BAGS though. They will be headed to DEN.
10. Arrive Nearby
Many big cities and metropolitan areas are serviced by more than 1 airport. Check out the nearby airports for price differences. Depending on the location and date, you can save a ton of money on your flight and just call an Uber or find a cheap shuttle to take you where you intended on going. Make sure the distance in between is worth the savings. If you will spend more in commute upon arrival then you actually saved in flight purchase, don’t bother!
What tricks do you use to save money when booking flights? Got any hacks we could all capitalize on? Share them with us below.