I love great deals, especially if they are for flight tickets. Just imagine being able to travel to your destinations at the lowest possible cost. But, a bargain flight ticket is difficult to score.
They seem to be very elusive, and usually, even if we think we already have a bargain, we realize that we do not because a much cheaper offer comes later on.
Over the years, however, I learned to be more observant, practical, and strategic with my flight ticket approaches. They became some of my techniques in looking for cheap flights. If you want to get them at a bargain—you surely want to—take note of these tips:
1. Do not go for business or first class
Even if I am doing business I do not fly on business or first class. Your business partners would not know that you are flying on economy anyway. If you do not like to look so haggard for your meeting, just give yourself at least a day or 6 hours after the plane has landed to sleep for a bit and freshen up. After all, these two types of seats are the most expensive. Even if they drop in prices, they are still significantly higher than economy seats.
2. Buy tickets early
How early should it be? Book your tickets at least 4 to 6 months before your actual flight. Though it is good to purchase your flights as early as one year, you do not really know if the prices will drop some more before the year ends. Besides, spontaneous traveling rarely works. You need to plan very well everything: accommodation, activities, the people who are going with you.
3. Travel light
Your cheap flight ticket becomes completely useless if you are bringing plenty of checked-in luggage. They can cost a lot, and it is not impossible to spend close to a hundred dollars for them. Unless you are staying there for a month, it is always recommended you just bring along the things that are truly necessary. Moreover, there is a good chance the accommodation you are staying has a laundry service or you can easily find one in your destination. The service these days is incredibly fast, so you will have clean and even pressed clothing in no time.
Just make sure, however, you can follow the guidelines of the airlines. They have their own definition of carry-on luggage. Know the weight and the dimension of the carry-on you have to bring.
4. Fly during the week
Majority of the weekday airline tickets are usually affordable, since not a lot of people fly during these times. A lot do during the weekends for their out-of-town trips. They do not have work to think about for two days or even more, especially if there is a holiday. The best time is definitely from Monday to Wednesday. Avoid getting Friday tickets as much as possible.
5. Use comparison websites
Comparison websites can save you a lot of headache when trying to compare flight tickets across airlines. What’s more, many of them are comprehensive enough you can already set your destination and even your preferred time for traveling.
Kayak is my favorite and so it Hot Wire. There are plenty of other comparison websites out there as well. They earn their living by providing us cheaper tickets by searching all possible tickets fares available.
6. Avoid connecting flights as much as possible
As much as possible, search for direct flights. Connecting flights are normally hefty because you sort of paying for another destination. Further, you can’t help but spend more money while you’re waiting for your next flight. You pay for short tours, food, books, and, if your flight is on the next day, accommodation.
It’s amazing how true this is, being very much frugal I saw myself buying something or the other from the airport shops at stop over airports. A chocolate, memento, show polish, a magazine or simple a coffee.
7. Wait for sales
Airlines aren’t really greedy. There are times when their tickets are incredibly low because they are on sale. However, know that these sales end very fast. It’s not impossible in a matter of hours, all cheap tickets are already sold. So how do you make sure you don’t miss them?
Subscribe to their e-mail alerts! Add yourself to their mailing list, so you’ll be one of the first people to know about their sale. Even if they say they’re selling tickets from this to that period, don’t dilly-dally. The truth is it’s when supplies last. Besides, not all seats are sold in incredibly cheap prices. Otherwise, the airlines will suffer from a terrible financial loss every time they fly.
8. Travel in group
When I travel, I seldom count on travel agencies, save for when I’m going with more people. A lot of them would give me great discounts. Added to that, we can all divide the total cost of traveling among ourselves. It’s not impossible for me to spend less than a thousand dollars. Most of all, I get to spend amazing experiences with the people that matter to me a lot.
It’s hard to catch the ultimate lowest ticket price, but if you are simply going to remember these rules, you can still end up paying way less than the others.
Michelle @ Making Sense of Cents says
Thanks for appreciation!
Internet Booking engine says
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Sure, go ahead with your plan
Kayak is my flight aggregator of choice, but I’d recommend Mobissimo as well. I also use Bing’s price predictor to get a sense of where airline prices are headed. And in a pinch, I’ve been known to take the train. Yeah, it takes longer to get where you’re going, but the extra time doesn’t need to be spent unproductively.
Ever since airlines started charging for checked bags, I’ve traveled quite a bit, and I’ve only paid a checked bag fee once. And that was because the silly airline employee told me my bag wouldn’t fit in the overhead storage bin(even though I knew it would).
Shwanda, thank for your comment. Interesting find, will check out Mobissimo next time I fly. I never really used Bings feature too. I always have relied on comparison sites and their price alerts.
Always factor in taxes and baggage fees. Sometimes it is much stress-free and cheaper to travel by bus if that is a possibility.
Good tips SB.
Some sites like Kayak do tell the all inclusive price with taxes. Agree they don’t factor in baggage. That way southwest is better. Always baggage is free.
I also just discovered Bing’s price predictor…it’s been a good tool. Hotwire has been my first stop, though Kayak seems to be great lately. I’ve never heard of Mobissimo….
I’d never thought of the extra expenses on connecting flights. Usually I end up on those because I find a better deal than on direct flights. Once I add in the cost of an extra meal in an airport, magazines, etc….the price difference isn’t nearly as high.
yeha if you start adding the stop over expenses you’ll amaze. At least, I did.
I try to book in advance too or at least start looking way ahead. That way I have more flexibility. When I have to buy tickets quickly, it never turn out all that well.
Yeah I have the same experience. The airline reservation system’s pricing model works that way. It has x% with fare calls A, then Y% in fare class B etc. As soon as lowest fare class books up. The price increases. So, buy as early as possible.
When I went to Mexico in 2010, I caught a red-eye that wasn’t a direct flight. It worked out great because – well, I was going to mexico, it’s not like I was going to get much sleep that night anyway – and, it was cheaper than some of my family members who went on a Friday night.
I’d probably never willingly pay for first or business class!
I too found red eyes as cheapest flights.
I recently heard about an awesome site for searching that also sorts by pricing. I’m loving it so far. It’s http://www.skyscanner.com 🙂
Never heard about this one! Thank you for sharing.
Will check next time we fly, thanks!
Miss T @ Prairie Eco-Thrifter says
We are huge travelers and these are great tips. We have found using reward points helps save on flights. We also use Kayak to find deals.
We have a lot in common it seems!
Andy Hough says
Thanks for the tips. You also need to search on discount airline sites like Southwest that usually aren’t included in travel sites results.
Whole heartedly support that notion, yes SW has their own reservation system. They do not participate in the common one.
Ironically, I always get the cheapest tickets buying them from the airlines websites directly.
Really? I have less than 20% success rate doing that. With a sample of over 20 travels. Flights for Lufthansa and Southwest comes to my mind.
John | Married (with Debt) says
Great tips. I’m actually pricing airfare to Europe and have a few months before I buy. Always good to brush up on the latest trends in purchasing airfare.
Enrol in a fare alert, set a threshold, based on your budget. As soon as it reaches you’ll get a mail.
Van Beek @ Stock Trend Investing says
Till recently I always thought that you could get better last minute deals compared to booking early. But that is not the case; not any more. Yes, book early. I have learned it the hard way with my holiday last year.
Great! And welcome to my blog. Appreciate your comment. Last minute deals do provide better price when seats remain unsold. Its the nature that pricing software is built. When it sees open seats at last minute, it lowers the open pricing tier.
Marissa @ Thirty Six Months says
I use HIPMUNK, its fantastic and has a dancing chipmunk. What else do you really need?
Yes, a dancing chipmunk is all we need 🙂
bing has a great fare predictor, too.
So is google, try searching something like “New York to LA” and see the price comparison. Thanks for the tip though!
Penny Stock Blog says
I only was on a plane once in my life about twenty years ago. I hate to think about what its like to fly today
Why you took a pain to read this then? 🙂
Cheap airfares says
Cheap airfares: On-line airline ticket booking process is really very simple. Here you now have to tell your supplies including your holiday destination, exit day and point in time.
Yes, I am very much agree with you that online ticket booking becomes very vast and easy where we can get many offers and choices as well.
If you are looking for cheap flight the best way is to book early 3 months prior to the departure.Flight Ticket fare change frequently so in order to get cheap tickets you should either wait for offer from airlines or call an local agent for tickets because they have many option for bulk booking for many sectors.Flight Ticket Booking can be done through airlines also by online website.