What would you do if you save a few hundred bucks on your flight ticket? Would you treat yourself to an amazing gourmet experience? Explore a few more places? Or put the savings towards a future trip? People are always surprised and curious about the deals I find when traveling. Here’s how I do it:
Have Flexible Travel Dates
If you’re not in a rush to get somewhere choose the “flexible dates +/- 3″ option when booking online. You can save as much as $100-150! Flexible simply means that you don’t mind leaving 2 or 3 days before or after the date you would have ideally travelled. This might not be an option if you are travelling for business or a tight schedule.
Buy Tickets in Advance
The sooner you buy the cheaper the ticket will be. Airlines want to fill up their airplanes as quickly as possible so they offer incentives for you to buy sooner. This is one of the simplest tactics of finding a cheap ticket. If you combine this with some of my other tips you can save even more!
Book Flight Tickets Online
I book online except on rare occasions when I have to speak to a person. Different websites use different algorithms to find you the cheapest ticket using several routes combinations. I often use www.bookingbuddy.com because it allows me to submit my search to multiple booking sites at the same time. Each website offer their own promotion and you’re likely not to find the same deal twice. Make sure to search as many sites as possible to find the best deal.
Fly using Budget Airlines
Budget airlines can be a great option to travel cheap. Tickets can be as low as 10-15 Euros at times. The earlier you book the cheaper your ticket will is, however, I found great deals buying last minute – by that I mean just a couple hours before flight departure. Budget airlines are usually regional so find the ones for places you want to travel. Budget airlines are not always well advertise and you may only find out about one when you’re in the region they serve.
Travel from Smaller Airports
Your flight ticket includes “airport taxes” and “airport improvement fees”. Airports like London Heathrow and Paris Charles De Gaulle are among the most expensive airports to land at because of exorbitant landing fees. Fly to-and-from smaller airport near your destination. For example, if you want to visit Paris look for a flight that lands at Orly or Luton if you’re travelling to London.
Travel Mid-Week at Odd Hours
Pick times when it is inconvenient for most people to travel. Airlines reduce ticket prices to fill as many seats as possible during odd hours and on certain days of the week. Avoid traveling on Friday, Sunday, and Monday when business travelers, politicians, and students are communting to work or home during the weekend. Days like Wednesday and Thursday are generally best,especially very early morning or late at night. An added advantage of flying odd hours is it’s easier to get luck with an entire row to yourself!
Search Flights Online at Different Hours
Search at different hours in the day. Focus on hours when few people are likely to be searching. For example, at 7:00 am on Monday morning, very few people would be thinking of booking flight tickets. Most websites are designed to increase the likelihood of sales. If site traffic is low prices a generally low too. When lots of people are searching and booking, prices go up!
Travel During Low-Season.
I prefer to peak travel seasons as much as possible. Christmas season, July-August summer vacations, spring break are all times when ticket prices shoot up and places are crowded. During these periods travel to places that would be avoided by other travelers. Try Greece in Winter or Morocco during Ramadan and meet more of locals whilst saving on flight costs.
Buy Return Tickets and Bundle Destinations
Return tickets are cheaper than one-way. If a one-way ticket costs $100, a return may be $150. If you bundle destinations costs goes down further. If you’re planning extended travel and know all the places you want to visit, an around-the-world ticket might be a less expensive option than looking for tickets while you’re traveling
Take Advantage of Last Minute Deals
Airlines loose revenue and marketing opportunity when a flight takes off with empty seats. Last minute tickets can sometime be below cost and even free during low season. The deals are usually at the check-in counter, at the very last minute. So if you’re in no rush, show up at the airport ticket counter with your backpack and offer to accept the cheapest fare if there a seat available before check-in closes.