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22 Sneaky Tips For Scoring The Cheapest Flights

Dropping all your money on a flight is no way to start a holiday. That’s why we love a ‘getting the cheapest flights’ hack: those sneaky strategies that help us to wrangle the sweetest price on our flights. To find the best flight deal and start your trip stress-free, follow these tips!

Sign up for price alerts…

Deals come and go. To get the most value for your money, set a price alert for the flight you want. Do this by using a tracker like Google Flights or Hopper. For example, say you want to fly from Sydney to London on a specific date. You can search for that date and select the option to ‘track price.’ The trackers will then monitor price fluctuations and send you an email when it drops below a certain amount.

Not only does this save money, but it saves you from having the stalk those sites every day.

And airline newsletters, too…

Airlines reward loyalty. By simply signing up to their newsletters, you’ll find out about sales in advance – before they’re posted on travel agent sites.

Read The Flight Deal obsessively…

This no-frills newsletter gets a special mention – it’s that good. Every day, a simple list of flash sales will land in your inbox. The team collates all the last-minute and special deals on offer, and puts them in one list so you can scour them to see if any suit you.

Follow deal finders on social media…

Does the thought of extra emails give you anxiety? Stay on top of travel deals by following flight finders on Twitter, like The Points Guy, Scott’s Cheap Flights, Airfare Watchdog and Secret Flying. They do the research for you. Most of the cheapest flights they post are only available for 24 hours, so if something pops up, jump on it!

Search for flights in an incognito browser…

Have you ever looked up a flight, only to search it again a few days later and see a huge price hike? Yep, airlines and travel sites use cookies to remember your search history. If they know you’re interested in a flight, they’ll raise the price. To outsmart them, go incognito so you can search undetected. And here you were thinking that browser was only for your most embarrassing Dolly Doctor questions. 😉

Take advantage of student discounts…

You work hard – now it’s time to let your student status work hard for you! If you’re a student (or under the age of 26), there are tons of discounts available to you. Ask the guys at STA Travel and Flight Centre about student discounts: you might be able to slash 20-30% off the standard fare.

Download the Swagbucks extension…

You know how you can use Honey to find coupon codes for online shopping sites? Well, Swagbucks does the same thing – but for travel. It’s partnered with travel sites like Orbitz, Expedia and Travelocity, so it’s great for finding cheap hotels too.

Getting the cheapest flights

Pack carry-on luggage only…

No suitcase = no baggage fees (and let’s be real, excess baggage fees). Showponies, are you up for a challenge?

Look into hidden flights…

Here’s how it works: if the direct flight to your final destination is exxy, you book a fare with a connecting flight – and hop off at the connecting airport. In other words, you don’t get on the second leg of your flight. Airlines don’t exactly appreciate this, so avoid checking a bag or linking your loyalty number. To find these deals, search on Skiplagged.

Fly mid-week…

The cheapest days of the week to fly are Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays. Fridays and Sundays have the most sky-high prices, which makes sense because everyone is jetting out/flying back home on those days.

Buy mid-week for the cheapest flights…

Who knows why, but it’s usually cheaper to purchase flight tickets during the week.

Book early, but not super early…

Nine times out of ten, fares will keep rising as you inch towards the travel date. But there’s a sweet spot when the airlines start to lower or increase their prices based on demand. The best window to book is around 6-8 weeks before your flight. If you’re not a risk-taker, Skyscanner says to book international flights around 22 weeks in advance.

Unless you’re planning to travel in peak periods…

If you’re planning Christmas in New York, for example, the sooner you jump on those flights, the better. Since those flights usually sell out, there’s no need for airlines to resort to a sale.

Keep a beady eye out for early-bird specials…

Are you the kind of person that has a five-year plan? You’ll love this tip. Airlines often post early-bird fares in September and October for the following Euro summer. You’d have to commit almost a year in advance, but when you know, you know.

Try to be flexible with your travel dates…

It can help you to save hundreds of dollars. Even if it means getting to the airport at 5am, taking off after midnight, or flying out on New Years Eve, it’s worth it! Think of all the dinners/drinks/dresses you can buy instead. The same goes for holiday travel. If you can fly just one or two days before the big event, you’re golden.

Use multiple flight search sites…

Don’t just use old faithful, Skyscanner. Save the most money by comparing the cheapest flights on Kayak, Google Flights and Momondo. This is because search sites have their own criteria. Some don’t list budget carriers, and some steer clear of foreign airlines. Others only comb through airline fares and skip over third-party booking sites.

Cheapest flights

Mix and match airlines…

Kayak is brilliant for finding ‘hacker fares,’ which are return flights made up of cheap, one-way flights from two different airlines.

Search for flights as one person…

Sneaky airlines strike again! In a group of tickets, they always show the highest ticket price. For example, if you’re searching for three seats, the airline will find three seats together and use the most expensive ticket as your base price. So if seat A is $300, B is $400 and C is $500, it will show those tickets as $500 each. To combat this, search for tickets as a single person, and then at checkout, select your seats so you’re all sitting side-by-side.

Think about nearby airports…

To save some cash, don’t just fly into your destination’s biggest airport – consider surrounding airports, too. For example, in New York, JFK, La Guardia (LGA) and Newark (EWR) are the most obvious choices, but it might be way cheaper to fly into Westchester (HPN) or Stewart (SWF) and catch the train to the city.

Travel in the off-season for the cheapest flights…

Europe is steamy in August anyway, so why not go in September? Flying just a few weeks either side of the peak period can seriously cut down the cost of your flight. And if you have time off but haven’t decided on a destination yet, try a new city/country. It’s always off-season somewhere in the world.

Add stopovers to your flight path…

Sure, they’re inconvenient, but you can embrace them knowing you’ll have more money to spend on the other side. If you can stopover in Singapore, do it. Changi Airport is the world’s best airport, and is decked out with rooftop pools, cinemas, shopping malls and even a butterfly garden.

Fly with budget carriers…

Budget airlines used to only fly domestic routes, but now they bounce all around the world. The prices can be insanely low. Just watch out for the fees – that’s how low-cost airlines make money! Book, and then say no to things like extra legroom and food (pack your own – it’ll taste 100% better).

Comment below if you have any additional hacks or tips for getting the cheapest flights!

 

Tips by Katia Iervasi. 

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