WANT TO KNOW HOW I FIND CHEAP FLIGHTS?
I feel that after taking numerous flights around the world for business and leisure, both last minute and planned; I have become pretty savvy in the booking process. But rather than keep my travel tips to myself, I thought I would share them with you.
I know that posting this in August may be a little late for some, but after being asked how I manage to find such cheap deals so often, I thought it would make a great post and hopefully it will also be helpful to you all.
Whether it’s a last minute travel decision or a planned one, I am always on the look out for the cheapest flights, and find myself stalking of a handful of websites. That’s right… I become obsessed with the notion that I can find better deals than the first price received; and here is how I do it:
Firstly it’s important to know that the days you shop around and book a flight, the days you actually fly, if you stay a Saturday, and booking too early or too late, will have an impact on the price. Let me break this down:
BEST DAYS TO BOOK
The best days to book a flight are Monday through Wednesday, with Tuesday being the optimal day. The reason for this is airlines generally release their weekly airfare sales during this period. Obviously there are an abundance of different airlines, thus I have stated a window of Monday through Wednesday, but Tuesday is generally the best day to shop around and book.
CHEAPEST DAYS TO FLY
The cheapest days to fly are Tuesdays and Wednesdays, with Fridays and Sundays generally being the most expensive.
STAYING A SATURDAY NIGHT
I learnt about this whilst travelling for work, if you stay a Saturday night it greatly reduces the cost. I.e. if my trip away does not include a Saturday night stay, the cost can be more than double. I found this was the case on most of my flights, especially all the long haul ones. So if you are able to stay a Saturday evening, yes you may have an extra night in a hotel, but most likely you will still save.
BOOKING TOO EARLY OR TOO LATE
Obviously this isn’t always possible, but I have found the sweet spot to be about 2 months prior to flying. I wouldn’t book more than 3 months in advance unless it was a long haul flight and even then no more than 4 months. Anything less than a month before flying and the prices tend to skyrocket; but you could be lucky and find an amazing deal, in that case grab it with both hands and celebrate!!
Now that you have the days sorted, lets talk about time. The best thing to do is to think about it like this, what time during the day would you least like to fly; these are generally the cheapest times. As a rule of thumb, I would put the following times in the ‘cheapest time to fly’ window: overnight, very very early in the morning, very very late at night, and possibly lunch and dinner.
Taking a direct flight usually costs more than connecting flights, so do take this in to account when shopping; and if you are travelling as a family or a group; also check the flight costs as an individual person and again as travelling as a family. By purchasing individual tickets, you may find a reduction in price.
WEBSITES FOR SEARCHING
Now on to websites, I have my favourites; and as I mentioned earlier I tend to stalk them until I find the best deals. These are in order:
BEFORE SEARCHING, MAKE SURE YOU SET YOUR BROWSER TO INCOGNITO OR PRIVATE MODE! It has been said that sometimes prices increase whilst browsing due to stored history, but is this really true! To be honest, I can’t say for sure, but surely it’s a good thing to protect your prices anyway right?
I generally stick to Skyscanner and use this for most of my flights, as you can also choose dates by the entire month which will show you the cheapest days. When you have chosen your destination and dates, it will compare sites and airlines giving you a good selection of options. However, I will generally follow up by checking Expedia and Last Minute to see if there is anything better. Secret Flying is a whole different matter…. This site shows any airline errors that may currently be available, therefore being able to purchase a super cheap flight before the mistake is found and corrected.
Please also note that some airlines may seem cheap at first, but if you are planning to check luggage they may add this charge later, and it turns out not to be so cheap after all. There are many that include the cost of luggage in the flight price, so do double check this.
Be as flexible as possible, if possible; by looking at alternative departure and arrival points. You may find that by traveling slightly further on either side, could actually save a lot of money.
I would also recommend if you haven’t already, sign up to collect flyer miles with the airlines you fly with. These miles are fantastic to use against a flight ticket to reduce the cost, to pay for a hotel, use against car hire, vacation packages, shopping etc etc.. Each mile club is different in what their miles can be used for, but they always come in handy and are very beneficial; trust me it’s definitely worth the 5 minutes it takes to sign up, and it’s free! Make sure to sign up before you fly, and add the flyer miles number to every booking you make so that you collect the miles earned. If you don’t add the number to your booking, then you won’t receive the miles, and it can be a long process to claim them after.
And finally my favourite site I literally obsess over, is Seat Guru. I use this to look at seat maps and get an idea what the best seat to sit in is. I also check this before buying a ticket as it may sway me based on reviews, type of flight and services available. For example: not all airlines have inflight entertainment, and when taking a long haul flight, I definitely prefer a backseat screen over an isle monitor. Also if you are travelling with family, and need a basinet, then you can find this info on Seat Guru. It also tells you in depth detail about the flight, seat width and leg room by seat number; how awesome is that!
So now that you have all of my flight booking secrets, I hope you manage to find some pretty good deals and enjoy the savings!
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