It's no surprise that traveling can be an extremely costly endeavor, but there are in fact ways to travel cheaply. It may come as a surprise to discover there is actually a myriad of tips and tricks to use specifically for finding the cheapest flights.
Whether you're an experienced or amateur traveler, flying domestically or internationally, using these tricks of the trade will inevitably help you reduce costs and find the best deals on flights. Familiarize yourself with some of these strategies and techniques and you're guaranteed to master the art of finding cheap airfare.
Hop on the search engine train
If you haven't discovered this tactic yet, it's time to hop on the bandwagon and learn how to navigate your way through travel search engines. There are hundreds of airlines out there, so checking various airlines' websites for cheap flights is incredibly time-consuming and doesn't guarantee you'll find the best prices on airfare.
Search engines, on the other hand, can compare and contrast all airlines, showing you the best prices, dates and times to fly. Various search engines have a number of filters and options for finding cheap flights. If you're the type of traveler who throws a dart at a map on the wall in order to choose your next destination, search engines like Skyscanner even allow travelers to search 'Everywhere' in order to see a list of the cheapest destinations at any given time.
Search engines such as KAYAK allow users to bundle up on airfare deals with hotels, rental cars and cruises, making them a one-stop-shop for all your planning needs.
Sign-up for price alerts
After familiarizing oneself with various travel search engines like Skyscanner, KAYAK, Expedia, CheapOair and Momondo, it would be in a traveler's best interest to then download these apps onto their laptop or phone and set up price alerts.
Setting up price alerts will eliminate the obsessive need to constantly check prices for flights on various search engines. Most search engines have this nifty feature, allowing travelers to add the dates of their expected trip(s) and then receive e-mail or text notifications on price increases or decreases.
Always search in incognito mode
As an avid traveler and individual who has spent an extended amount of time abroad, there have been several instances where friends and family members wishing to visit have searched for flights without using incognito mode on their browser, only to discover that incessantly checking for flights on various travel search engines, airlines and aggregators will cause your prices to skyrocket. The reason for this is that these search engines and airlines use "cookies" in order to track your search history and are aware of when you are attempting to book a flight. Prices will in fact increase in order to scare travelers into booking now, for fear of future price increases. Searching for cheap flights in incognito mode will block sites' ability to track your searches, thus resulting in finding lower airfare prices.
Searching in incognito mode can be done in Google Chrome by clicking File>New Incognito Window or on Safari by clicking File>New Private Window. Those using Mozilla Firefox or Internet Explorer can do this by clicking Command>Shift>"P".
Take time and day into consideration
This tactic is arguably the most unknown way of finding cheap flights. While the topic of when to find the cheapest flights is heavily debated and changes annually, various airlines and search engines conduct yearly airfare studies to discover the best time to book flights.
According to this year's study by Cheapair.com, the best time to buy a flight is 70 days before departure. This number is significantly different from last year's study, in which the best time to buy a flight was approximately 54 days in advance.
Travelers can research these trends in order to determine the best time to buy a ticket. Momondo has previously stated that booking during this time will help travelers save up to 26% on holiday travel costs.
Flying out on certain days and months of the year can also help reduce ticket prices. According to Business Insider, the cheapest day of the week to book a flight used to be Tuesday, but recent studies demonstrate that the day you book a flight is now less important than the day of departure. Check out BI's article for further information on the best days and months to travel in 2018.
Travel during low season and check for holidays
If you really want to save big on flights, travel during a given destination's low season and make sure you check to see when a country or city's holidays fall.
In Europe, for example, June through September is typically the continent's high season for travelers. During these months, flights will be more expensive, sites will be more crowded and, generally, it will be hot, hot, hot. If this doesn't sound appealing, travel during low season for better prices on flights, fewer crowds and an overall more enjoyable experience.
Another insider tip on when flights are cheapest to book is checking to see when a destination's local or national holidays occur. If you're traveling to a destination during a celebrated holiday, prices on flights will likely be more expensive and many hotels will be completely booked. It may be in your best interest to avoid visiting during a major local holiday.
We hope that following these guidelines will aid fellow travelers in discovering when flights are cheapest to book. Have more suggestions for us? Contact us and let us know! As usual, happy trails!