22.01.2017 at 20:00
1. Search for flights during the week
Airlines tend to launch their sales on Tuesdays and end them on Thursdays, so don’t limit your searches to the weekends. Advertised fare sales generally target the next two or three months of travel and have 14- to 21-day advance purchase requirements.
2. Search for two one-way tickets on different airlines
While some airlines charge extra for a one-way fare, it can pay to compare. Just make sure to triple-check the dates, times and cities so you don’t book two tickets from, say, Seattle to LA. This trick can save you lot of money especially with cheap low cost flights airlines like Ryanair or Easyjet which offer point to point flights. Try Kiwi.com to find some hidden deals, as this search engine allows you to book flights of airlines that normally do not cooperate together.
3. Search for one ticket at a time
Even if you’re flying with a group. Airlines often sell multiple fare classes at different prices, with a couple seats in each class. If there’s only one seat left in the lowest fare class and you search for four seats, most automated systems will show you the highest fare class for all four tickets. Try searching one at a time, just in case there are limited seats on sale. This way, you’ll rest assured that at least some, if not all, of your tickets were purchased for the lowest possible price. If you lock in the cheap fare and have the option to select seats, pick one next to an empty seat; then, immediately book the second ticket and select the seat next to the first one. It takes a little time and effort, but can really pay off.
Here’s example from Ryanair: If you try to book a single ticket from Dublin to Barcelona for the next weekend you get the lowest price of €114.99. If you book immediatelly for group of 4 people, the lowest offered price is €135.99. That is €21 difference, and there are 2 cheaper tickets for the lower price, so you save €42 on this flight with this trick.
4. Don’t avoid flying on the actual holidays
Changing your departure or return date by one day can save major cash. The biggest savings typically come with flying on Thanksgiving or Christmas Day. The exception is if you’re traveling over a three-day weekend around Labor Day or Memorial Day. Then, everyone is looking to fly on the actual holiday, so that’s the perfect time to try and extend your vacation by a day.
5. Try to fly at least one leg of your trip on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Saturday
Because planes are least full on these days of the week, these flights usually have the lowest fares. There is also another benefit: Getting through airports is usually a breeze.
6. Don’t rule out alternate airports
Always check also alternate airports, as they very often offer much lower price because they are served by low cost airlines or simply have lower fees for the airlines. For example you can fly to Brussels main Zaventem airport or to much cheaper Brussels Charleroi and take 1 hour bus ride. Don’t forget to factor in the additional price for the bus/train ticket, as some alternate airports are served by expensive or overpriced connections (especially in UK). In USA this difference is even bigger, for example, JetBlue mainly flies to Long Beach instead of LAX — so if you can fly into LGB, you might save as much as $50-$100 on the flight. Consider the same for Chicago, New York, the Bay Area, Dallas, Houston, South Florida, San Francisco (Oakland) and Washington, D.C.
7. Do know when to be loyal and when to buy cheaper flight
Keep a loyal rewards membership with favorite airlines to rack up points when it makes sense. Sometimes, it’s worth it to book a slightly more expensive ticket when it earns you points. Many airline credit cards offer generous sign-up bonuses that are enough for a free flight, not to mention perks like priority boarding, free checked luggage and more. But, to make an informed decision, it pays to compare all available fares before booking.
8. Book in the right time for the best price
The cheapest flights in general are available in certain period before your flight. For longhaul flights this is usually 3-5 months before your trip (e.g. Europe to USA). For short haul and low cost flighs the best period to buy the flight tickets is 5 weeks before the actual flight.
9. Don’t be scared of transfers / layovers
Even though a nonstop is ideal, you can sometimes save $100-$200 by stretching your legs during a plane change. Some airlines, like Icelandair, also offer free stopovers — meaning you can extend your stay in the layover city and make it part of your vacation. Others like TAP Portugal even provide you with free hotel stay if you have long overnight layover.
10. Travel in low season
During months when destinations see a lower volume of visitors, they respond by lowering flight and hotel prices. For example: Don’t rule out Europe in winter. Flights are a bargain (think €300+ less than what you’d pay in peak months for longhaul flight). Many European low cost airlines also offer really cheap flights like return ticket for €20 in Winter. In addition to fewer crowds, you can check out picturesque Christmas markets and escape feeling guilty for spending all your time indoors wandering museums, palaces and cathedrals.
11. Check also flight+hotel packages
If you need a hotel in addition to your flight, it may be cheaper to buy a flight-and-hotel package than to book each separately. Many hotels take this opportunity to hide a very aggressive discount within a packaged price versus discounting the hotel alone. This is a great opportunity to find deals at big brands that are hesitant to have a low price next to their name. You can find great package deals on Expedia, Ebookers or Opodo.
Do you fancy a 3-night hotel stay in Las Vegas for $1?
12. Be flexible!
The best deals are always error fares or extremely discounted offers in last minute or low season. Check sites like RushFlights.com for super cheap deals that can save you over 50% from the regular price. The key here is to be flexible – you have to book the flight as soon as possible, usually within few minutes or hours, before the price gets fixed or the seats are sold out. You also have to be flexible in the travel dates as the best offers are usually with departure during the week or within few days.