Every traveler has been there. Spending countless hours staring at a screen, repeated searching different search engines, trying to book the cheapest flight possible to wherever it is that they have their hearts set on. And, with the price of air fare constantly fluctuating, finding the best deal can seem impossible. Here, we’ve found a few key tips that are guaranteed to help save you time and money when planning your next adventure.
- Try a Travel Agent
Travel agents have access to rates that are otherwise inaccessible to every day people like you and I. They may not always be able to find you the cheapest price, so it is wise to do your own research first and then see if an agent can find a better price or not.
This is a great idea if you are booking a long-haul flight as even a small savings could save you hundreds of dollars.
Travel agent’s can also help extend your layovers at a particular destination so that you can enjoy a day or two relaxing rather than pulling your hair out in an airport terminal.
2. Check Local Airlines
Major search engines don’t always include smaller local airlines in their search results, especially when searching less popular destinations or remote locations. It is always a good idea to search online to see if there are any local airlines in the area.
Some of these smaller airlines may offer savings on their website which wouldn’t show up through a Google search. They may even offer savings or deals on flights on certain days of the week
3. Try Paying in A Different Currency
Prior to booking your tickets, you might want to consider if the rate is cheaper if paid in another currency. Oftentimes, budget airlines will make you pay in the currency of the country you’re departing from, but this isn’t always the case. Just make sure that you’re using a credit card that is free of foreign-transaction fees, or you might not end up saving anything at all!
4. Hide your searches
It isn’t a myth that flight prices change the more times that you search in your web browser. Based on the cookies in your browser, flight prices do increase when a particular route is repeatedly searched, as the site wants to scare you into booking the flight quickly before prices get even higher. Always search for flights in incognito or private browsing mode to see the lowest prices.
5. Find the Cheapest Day to Fly
While there are many theories about booking specifically on a Tuesday, the reality is that there has not been any consistent truth to exactly which days are cheapest to fly. Most of the time it is cheaper to leave on a weekday, though this isn’t always the case. Your best strategy is to get a quick visual of prices for a whole month to see what days are cheapest for your specific route. Here’s how:
Hop on the SkyScanner website . Enter your departure & arrival cities. Select “one-way” (even if flying round trip – you’re just determining the cheapest days to fly out first). Click “Depart” but instead of entering a date, select “Whole Month” so you can see which date is cheapest
Hit “search” and see which date is cheapest. Sometimes not all dates have a price listed, as indicated by the magnifying glasses. If you want to see a price that isn’t shown, simply click on the magnifying glass over the date.
Repeat these steps for your return flight if applicable. You can still book a round trip in one cluster, but doing these steps first will let you see which dates are generally cheaper to fly in/out on for your round trip.
6. Use ALL Search Engines
No single search engine is consistently perfect. As such, you may need to try a combination of search engines to ensure you’re not missing any results. There doesn’t seem to be one that gets the cheapest flight 100% of the time.
These are the best search engines to use: (Note that many do not include budget airlines.)
- AirFare Watchdog
- Google Flights
7. Try Budget Airlines
Budget airlines offer significantly cheaper tickets than their full-service counterparts. It should be obvious, but this comes with compromises such as less leg room and no “free” food/drink on-board (which by the way, is normally covered in your higher-priced ticket with full-service airlines).
Remember, if you want to book the cheapest flight possible (not service-of-the-year-award-winner), be adaptable, do your research, and know the budget airline’s requirements & restrictions.
8. Book Sooner Than Later
Rarely ever do airline tickets get cheaper as your departure date approaches, especially if you need to fly on a certain date. Budget airlines typically offer low rates as a baseline price, and as these tickets sell, the remaining ones increase in cost. This is very typical in Europe and Australia. If you know when and where you’re going, don’t wait on an unknown sale. More often than not, your biggest savings come from booking far ahead when you can.
9. Don’t Forget About Airmiles
If you’ve inadvertently forgot about those Aeroplan or Air Miles points you’ve been racking up for years, now’s the time to use them! For Canadians using Air Miles, the best bang for your buck is to use your points for in-country travel, as this uses the least amount of points for the distance, although if you are swimming in points, this is a good way to save serious bucks.