There are many myths regarding finding cheap air fare. In this article we will review the Top 7 ways to find cheap flights to embark on our new adventure!
Air Fare usually represents the biggest cost of any vacation. What if I told you there is a way to find that cheap air fare that gets you across the globe with a couple of hundred dollars instead of thousands?
I’ve had a lot of success the past few years finding these incredible deals and I would like to share some tips and tricks with you to achieve the same results.
Since 2017 I’ve flown to Europe from Los Angeles 6 times, spending on average $428 per round-trip ticket. With some tickets being as low as $250 round trip. It has literally been cheaper for me to fly from Los Angeles to Europe than Los Angeles to New York City. I would also like to add that I could have gone cheaper than this but I value food, baggage, seat selection and have most of the times included it with my flight.
Lot of time consuming work but I’m hoping this article speeds up the process and gets you in the right track to finding your next getaway.
1. When to Book
- In my experience, it does not matter which day you book your flight.
- I avoid booking during the holiday season as these prices are usually higher.
- Searching in Incognito Mode has not helped me find cheaper deals.
- It’s extremely hard to predict prices and all predictions should be taken with a grain of salt.
Airline pricing is done by algorithms that change pricing based on demand, availability and holidays. Competition plays a major role in pricing as well.
2. Date Flexibility and Destination Flexibility
Being flexible with your schedule is a huge advantage into finding your next cheap getaway. I start off my search using SkyScanner’s search to Everywhere feature and then select “Cheapest Month.” This gives me a rough base on what I can look for and which dates I need to consider.
HOT TIP: Search for deals on a daily basis, with same search parameters. It is the only true way to get that deal as notifications are usually delayed and gone by the time you see them.
That is how I was able to find my flight to Barcelona for $250, the inaugural flight of LEVEL Airlines. A few hours after I booked the flight, all the fare alerts were posted and were gone.
Fly off-season and don’t be afraid with to change length of stay as some fares have special rules like minimum night stays, weekend stays, etc.
3. Fly Low-Cost/Budget Airlines
It has become a lot more common to fly budget carriers in the recent years. They can offer great pricing for those much needed getaways. Although budget airlines come with a lot of limited perks, they can definitely be a pleasant surprise. Be wary of additional fees as sometimes they can cost more than a ticket on a traditional carrier. I would recommend comparing both prices and make a decision based on your needs and price difference.
4. Flying Direct vs. Layover
Flying direct can sometimes be a cheaper alternative but that is not always the case. Many times hub to hub connections have little competition and prices may be inflated. It is always good to check multiple routing options. Direct is a huge convenience as it reduces a lot of the stress of flying and chance of bags being lost. It is up to you to decide if the price difference is worth the sacrifice.
Flying from Los Angeles, I found Amsterdam to be a great Direct flight destination but occasionally favoring 1 stop itineraries in Dublin or London. Amsterdam itself is a great hub for all of Europe. I’ve had a lot of good finds using AMS as a lay over for my final destination.
5. Search Everywhere!
Not all search engines are equal. When I mean search everywhere. Search EVERYWHERE. Some search engines display delayed data and fares may not be available, sometimes it’s the complete opposite. Even attempt to bundle the flight with hotel or car rentals as these sometimes release different ticket pricing.
- Google Flights
- Official Website for the Airline
- Matrix ITA (Advanced Search Engine)
I would be here forever if I list all search engines. Take note into which fare the tickets are offered. Sometimes the flights may be cheaper because they don’t include certain things. Be certain that the ticket includes the same or better options.
6. Search for Flights in Different Currencies
When searching for flights, always check different currencies or different versions of the website you are visiting. If you are booking through the Airlines Official Website. Change your location setting or your main currency to their local currency.
These prices sometimes change and could be to your benefit if you book in a foreign currency. Of course! Be careful with foreign exchange fees your credit card may incur. I recommend you have at least 1 No Foreign Fee credit card. Not only for travel but for booking purposes as some booking agencies are not local and will charge your card in their local currency.
7. Booking Early
I’ve found the best time to book has been between 60-90 days for international flights and 30-45 days for domestic flights. Booking too early sometimes may give you incorrect pricing. Booking too late usually has the price surge quite a lot. It is important to consider the timing of your purchase, but you will not see a major change until the last few weeks when prices sky rocket.
Hopefully this article has shed some light into finding your next adventure. Be sure to check out our other articles on How to Budget and plan your next adventure.
HOW-TO: TRIP PLANNING
HOW-TO: TRIP PLANNING – ROUGH BUDGET
HOW-TO: TRIP PLANNING – DESTINATION
HOW-TO: TRIP PLANNING – TRUE BUDGET
HOW-TO: TRIP PLANNING – ITINERARY
Disclosure: Please note that some of the links above are affiliate links. At no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you make a purchase.