Finding cheap flights can feel like you’re slowly sinking into a black hole. With the power of the internet, there are endless search engines, flight booking platforms, and fluctuating prices it soon gets overwhelming for many of us after we’ve spent hours going round in circles trying to find the cheapest flights.
Over the years, I’ve gathered lots of inside information and tricks on how to lower the cost of your big travel expense – flights. Here’s some key tips that will save you time, money and stress when you’re next wanting to find the cheapest flights to any given destination.
Finding Cheap Flights – Insider Guide
Book Your Flights With JustFly
JustFly is an all in one booking platform. They search, compare and book thousands of flights with over 440 trusted airlines! Meaning, you’re likely to be finding cheap flights to your destination when comparing with many different airlines and departure cities!
Even their motto is “We love giving you cheap flights. We take pride in delivering discounted flights right to your fingertips.” What’s not to love?!
On their website they also give you top tips on how to find the cheapest flights! Including, which days of the week are cheapest to fly, how they find the cheapest flights for you, cheapest airlines by region, their trusty trend tool and much more!
I highly recommend signing up for their airfare alert, meaning you get price drop notifications sent straight to your inbox! To do this simply search where you want to go and for how long, once you do a popup box will appear, simply type in your email and you’re good to go!
Be An Undercover Spy When Finding Cheap Flights
To stop this from happening, make sure to always search incognito or in private browsing mode to see the lowest prices. If you’re unsure how to open a private browsing window follow these simple steps:
- Google Chrome/Safari: Command (Ctrl if using a PC) + Shift + N.
- Mozilla Firefox/Internet Explore: Command (Ctrl if using a PC) + Shift + P.
These short steps will open a new browser window that looks similar to the image below.
Every time you open a new incognito window your cookies are reset. Therefore, if you want to start with a clean sheet before each flight search, remember to close all your incognito windows, follow the steps above, and then perform your flight search.
Check Departures/Arrivals From Alternative Airports
Major hubs like London, New York, Moscow, Los Angeles and Rio De Janeiro all have multiple airports within a close proximity. Prices can vary greatly depending which airport you fly into. For example, London Heathrow mainly serves large carriers, whilst London Luton mainly serves budget carriers, thus Luton may be your best bet if you’re wanting to fly within Europe.
One thing to keep in mind, if you’re located within America, Europe or other nations with easy access to other countries, don’t rule out flying there and then taking the flight you originally wanted to book. For example, if you’re located in London and wanted to fly to Sydney, it may work out cheaper flying to Frankfurt and booking a flight from Frankfurt to Sydney. I do this a lot, and have saved hundreds with this little flight hack. Check out how I’ve travelled to 43 countries before I turned 21!
Be Flexible On Your Travel Dates
This means both for destinations and travel dates. You’re more likely to find cheap plane tickets by flying at unsociable times, for example during low season, early morning or mid–week. In the past we have seen that a difference of one day can result in hundreds of pounds being saved, purely because you’re travelling when demand is at its lowest.
If you are locked into exact dates, it will be more challenging to get the best deal.
Don’t Always Fly Direct
Whilst non-stop flights are usually more desirable, sometimes you can save a significant amount of money by booking flights with 1 or more stops. A 1 stop flight may also give you more options, and the chance to see another destination along the way.
I have seen some amazing places because I haven’t booked a direct flight AND it worked out cheaper!
For example, on one of my trips back to Europe from Australia I went via Abu Dhabi to Johannesburg, spent 5 nights in Kruger National Park (read about my amazing safari here), then back to Abu Dhabi and on to New York, where I spend 3 nights exploring what this amazing city had to offer (read how to see New York in 3 days), before heading back home! Yes it was a lot of travelling, but that’s what I love and I’m sure you wouldn’t turn down that offer either!
Budget Airlines Are Your Friend
Before you start to complain about their customer service, reliability and secret costs hear me out.
Budget Airlines and Low-Cost Carriers are usually significantly cheaper than their full-service counterparts, and if you’re only looking to get from A to B this is a great option. Although this does result in generally less attention to detail, stricter baggage policies, paid seat selection and other factors, if you’re wanting a cheap plane ticket this can be the way to fly.
There are a few downsides to booking with low-cost airlines, which include:
- Airport Location – Many tend to use secondary airports further away from the city.
- Check In Luggage Extra – These low prices only include hand baggage (which is strict as well). If you want to check in baggage you will have to pay extra. Note: Within Europe, nearly all carriers now charge for check-in luggage, even BA and Lufthansa!
- Don’t Forget To Print Your Ticket – Airlines like RyanAir, will actually charge you if you haven’t printed it out beforehand!
- Nothing Is Included – Forget food, drinks, seat selection etc. For nearly all budget carriers these are paid extras.
From my own experience, I think low-cost airlines are GREAT value-for-money, with their ticket prices ranging anywhere from 20 to 50% cheaper compared to usual airlines. I’ve flown within Asia, Europe and Australia with many different ones and never had an issue.
Below is a list of the most popular budget airlines around the world, and ones I recommend in each continent.
|North America||South America||Oceania||Asia||Europe||Africa||Middle East|
|Spirit (USA)||Azul Airlines (Brazil)||Jetstar (Australia & NZ)||AirAsia (All over)||EasyJet (All over)||Mango (South Africa)||FlyDubai (UAE)|
|Frontier (USA)||Viva Air (Peru)||TigerAir||IndiGo (India)||Eurowings (Germany)||Kulula (South Africa)||Air Arabia (UAE & Jordan)|
|WestJet (Canada)||Wingo (Colombia)||Vanilla Air (Japan)||Wizz Air (Eastern Europe)||JamboJet (Kenya)|
|Porter Airlines (Canada)||Sky Airline (Chile)||Scoot (Singapore)||RyanAir (All over)||FastJet (Tanzania & Zimbabwe)|
|Volaris (Mexico)||GOL (Brazil)||NokAir (Thailand)||WOW Air (Iceland)|
|Allegiant Airlines (USA)||Jet Smart (Chile)||Lion Air (Thailand & Malaysia)||Norwegian (Norway)|
|JetBlue (USA)||Easyfly (Colombia)||SpringAirlines (China)||Vueling (Spain)|
|Cebu Pacific (Philippines)||Transavia (Netherlands)|
Check If It’s Cheaper To Pay In Other Currencies
Before booking a flight, consider if the rate you are quoted is cheaper if you paid in another currency. Often budget airlines will make you pay in the currency of the country you’re departing from, but this isn’t always the case.
An important note when doing this: make sure you’re using a credit card that is free of foreign-transaction fees, otherwise your attempts to save money doing this will be lost, and you be actually be paying more money for the plane ticket in the end!
Search For Crazy Deals & Error Fares
This is my favourite part of searching for flights, I love finding error fares which are too good not to pass! Earlier this morning, I found a one-way business class flight from Sri Lanka to Frankfurt via Kuwait for £115 (roughly $150) and booked it a few hours ago! Deals like this are too good to be true!
So what exactly is an error fare?
Put simply, airlines sometimes make mistakes when posting their fares, leading to seriously discounted flights. This can happen for various reasons – currency conversion mishaps, technical glitches, or human error. If you’re in the know-how on where to find airline error fares, you can save yourself some serious cash on a ticket.
Note: Error fares usually do not last long at all, airlines pick up the error fare quickly due to the high influx of bookings, and thus alter the price back to its usual benchmark. If you want to use error fares to your advantage you’re going to need to be quick and willing to book a cheap flight ticket right away.
There are a few websites which are great for finding error fares and crazy deals, a few of my favourites include:
Sign Up For A Frequent Flyer Program
Frequent flyer programs are great for scoring free flights (only pay taxes) and free upgrades.
Even if you’re not a frequent flier I recommend signing up for an airline rewards program, as after all it’s 100% free to sign up. You can earn points by shopping at partner stores, taking advantage of special email offers (sign up for their newsletter) and by flying of course.
You might want to check which program best fits your travel needs. For instance, I fly a lot from Europe to Asia and Australia, so what suits me best are airlines that fly to both Europe, Asia and Australia, for example Etihad. I earn miles every time I fly with them, and as a result I’m a Gold Etihad Member. Because of this, I can use their lounges, priority check-in, upgrades are highly possible and more baggage allowance.
To be aware, some frequent flyer programs are more beneficial and rewarding than others, here is a list of the best frequent flyer programs around the world:
- North America: American Airlines (OneWorld)
- South America: Avianca Lifemiles (Star Alliance)
- Middle East: Etihad Airways
- Oceania: Virgin Australia
- Asia: Asiana Airlines (Star Alliance) and Japan Airlines Milage Bank (OneWorld)
- Europe: Turkish Airlines (Star Alliance) and British Airways (OneWorld)
- Africa: Ethiopian Airlines (Star Alliance)
Go Where The Deals Go
If you start with a flexible approach, with a fairly wide range of dates and you’re not too bothered on the destination, going where the deals go is a great way to find cheap plane tickets.
Searching specifically for a flight departing from London to Bangkok on the 26th March and returning on the 10th April isn’t giving you must leeway for price alterations. Being flexible and open can secure you some of the best deals around.
Before you say anything, I know! I’m probably one of the biggest packers out there so I know how hard it is to travel light! But trust me when I say it can save you hundreds on a round trip flight! A trans-Atlantic flight with BA will cost you an extra $100+ in check in baggage alone!
Packing smart and light with each person taking a carry-on bag only, will not only save you money but means you can walk straight out of the airport on arrival.
The only trouble is that because this is so common, if you’re on a crowded flight the cabin crew get a bit irritated with everyone trying to stuff their bags into the overhead lockers and will at some point insist that they go under the plane. Be early, or be prepared to put your luggage in the hold.
Securing and finding cheap flights has become the holy grail of travel today. Plane tickets are one of the biggest expenses of a travellers budget, so it’s no wonder people are constantly finding cheap flights as a priority.
The great news for everyone is that there are amazing airline deals happening right now. Over the years, the one thing I’ve learned is that finding these affordable flights isn’t as hard as you may think, as long as you know where to look at the right time. Hopefully after reading this post, you’re well on your way to finding cheap flights every time you travel!
And again, this just proves you DON’T need to be wealthy to travel!
As a final takeaway of this article, make sure you follow the 5 rules below.
- Search incognito for no alternations in price.
- Use the right search engines like Justfly.com, and don’t forget to look on the airlines website itself.
- Consider booking numerous stops and go where the deal takes you.
- Join a frequent flyer program.
- Keep a look out for error fares.
Play around with those search engines, try to be flexible on dates and times of the day you fly, and keep checking prices regularly.
But at the end of the day, have a price in mind you are comfortable paying and don’t be afraid to hit the buy button!
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