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 sites? Or put the savings towards a future trip? I love to do all that and that’s why I love finding deals on flight tickets! People are often surprised and curious about the deals I am able to find on my travels. It’s no big secret or anything. I have just worked out a system. Let me share it with you – here’s how I go about finding cheap flight tickets on my world travels:
1. Have Flexible Dates
To find the best deals one must be flexible with their travel plans. 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 are on tight family vacation schedule. For everyone else you can really benefit from choosing the “flexible dates +/- 3″ option when booking online or by informing your travel agent. I always book online and on average save $100-150 simply by keeping my dates flexible.
2. Buy Tickets in Advance
The sooner you buy the cheaper you ticket will be. This is simply because airlines want to sell tickets as quickly as possible so they will give you an incentive to buy now. Buying in advance is one of the simplest tactics of finding a cheap ticket. If you incorporate more of my strategies I discuss here, you will save even more!
3. Book Flight Tickets Online
I always book online except on rare occasions when I would go up to a ticketing desk or a travel agent. Online I feel I have more control and access to better deals. You just have to be a little patient and it pays off. Different websites use different “algorithms” to find you the cheapest ticket using different routes and flight combinations. Over the last year I have used www.bookingbuddy.com quite frequently. The reason I like it is because Booking Buddy connects me to all the actual booking sites that have the best options for my trip. Each website has their own promotion and you’re not likely to find the same deal twice – on the same website. You might find yourself buying a ticket from a different booking site each time. In the last year alone I have found good deals on all of these websites on different occasions: OneTravel.com, Orbitz.com, BudgetAir.ca, TripAdvisor.com, and Vayama.com, among others.
4. Budget Airlines
Budget airlines can often only be booked directly through their website or ticketing office (phone and in person). These no frills airlines can be a great option for budget travellers with tickets as low as 10-15 Euros at times. The greater the gap between your booking and travel date, the cheaper your ticket will be on a budget airline. The lowest fares, however, are to be found during a promotion or on the date of departure once the last ticketed passenger has checked in. Budget airlines usually fly within a certain region. That’s why you probably have never heard of most of them. In the past year I have had experiences on Air Transat between Canada and Europe and Wizz Air within Europe but there are plenty out there. Use regional references in your online search to find them.
5. Travel from Smaller Airports
Your flight ticket includes “airport taxes” and “airport improvement fees” that some airports charge for expansion projects. Airports like London Heathrow and Paris Charles De Gaulle are amongst the most expensive airports to land at because of exorbitant landing fees. Try and find a smaller airport within or near your final destination. For example, if you want to visit Paris try finding a flight that lands at Orly or Luton when travelling to London. You can also try airports in nearby towns or cities and start your trip with a tour of the countryside. Flying to low-key airports you also support the local economy outside the main tourist areas.
6. Fly Mid-Week at an Odd Hour
Pick times when it is inconvenient for most people to travel. Airlines always reduce ticket prices to fill as many seats as possible during odd hours and certain days of the week. For example, avoid travel on Friday – that’s when the business travellers, local politicians, and students are trying to get home for the weekend. Sunday night and Monday are also to be avoided because the people that travelled on Friday are on their way back. Choose days like Wednesday or Thursday that are mid-week. Similarly, travel very early morning or late night. Most people prefer to travel during more convenient hours so airplanes are half empty. That means you can have 2 seats by the window just for yourself while paying less than the price of one!
7. Search at different hours
Here’s trick that only a few people may know. I learned it because my father worked in revenue management for an international airline. When searching your ticket on a popular website, try your 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. Search then. Websites are automated to increase the likelihood of a sale while making the most possible profit. So if site traffic is low, prices may also be low. When many people are searching and booking, prices go up! Not every website functions this way but I just save CAD$180 just last week by checking at a different time.
8. Fly during low-season.
If you have the option and flexibility avoid times during the year when most other people travel. Christmas season, July/August summer vacation, Spring break, these are all times when ticket prices shoot up. Stay local during these times and rediscover your home town or region. You’re likely going to meet a lot of travellers visiting your city anyways.
9. Buy return or bundle multiple destinations
Always remember, return tickets are always cheaper than one-way. If one-way is going to cost you $100 (for example), return will cost $140 – that means you actually save $30 on the one-way. You can also bundle multiple destinations. For example, an “Around the World” ticket with even as few as 3-4 airport landings can be a lot cheaper option than winging it on the road. This tip is useful if you are the type of person that likes to plan ahead and usually sticks to those plans. If you’re going the “bundling” route, I advise you to stick to one airline network, like Star Alliance or Sky Team, for the whole trip. I also advise you to approach the network, or use the network website, to plan and purchase you bundle. This way you can negotiate a bit and get a better deal than a regular booking website.
10. Last Minute Deals
Finally, let me tell you this, for airlines it’s lost income to let a flight take off with empty seats on board. So it’s not unheard of to find tickets below cost and even free (during low season). The easiest way to find such deals is to simply show up at the airport ticket counter with your backpack. Budget Airlines, especially reduce their ticket prices incredibly. It has happened to me. I purchased a ticket for a low, low price, arrived at the airport and found out that I could now purchase it for half the price I paid online. Unfortunately there are no refunds.
There you have it friends and fellow travellers. My priceless saving tips so you can find cheap flight tickets. If you found this article interesting or useful, then post it on your favourite social media website, email it to friends, and remember to bookmark it. I have also created a page where you can find discount coupons and deals for your next flight, check it out – www.living-being.com/cheapflights.