In this article, you will find ways to buy affordable flights, along with a bunch of tips, some of which you will know, and some you will not. If you do not fly very often, then these tips will probably be very valuable to you.
Use Travel Comparison Websites
Comparison websites are a mixed blessing. They put you in contact with a bunch of airlines and travel agencies, but they are quite willing to mislead and cheat you.
Your best bet is to use a range of different comparison websites to find a series of different companies. Make a list of the top five on each comparison website. You should now approach them personally and research their prices on their websites. Do this to look for hidden charges, and do it to see if their website actually offers a cheaper price.
How To Manipulate Comparison Websites
Make the list, as it said in the previous section, but also make a note of each quote. Do not be disconcerted if one website shows the same company with different quotes. Take the cheapest of the quotes and create a screen print. Send a message to the other contenders and ask the airlines or travel agents if they are able to beat the quote you have just researched. Once you have a few offers for lower prices, then take the new lowest price, create a screen print, and contact the other travel agencies/airlines to see if they will beat the price. Keep doing this until you get the very lowest price.
How Comparison Websites Are Manipulating You
There are plenty of tricks they pull. They are often paid a commission if you buy from one company over another. One trick they pull is to only show the companies that pay them a commission and leave out all the companies that do not. Another trick is to leave out any companies that have lower prices than the company they are promoting.
Another trick is to make one company appear cheaper by artificially raising the price of other companies. The airlines and travel agencies will cheat by only submitting their lowest priced offers that do not live up to the expectations you had on the comparison website.
Another trick is to show a price on a comparison website, but then to add hidden fees when you make the purchase. This is actually a very common trick with comparison websites that sell insurance or items. A company will show an item that only costs a dollar, but when you make your order, you see that you need a paid membership to get that price, or you see that the delivery fee is outrageously massive.
How About a Travel Agent
The world is now a very lonely place. There was a time when you could make friends with the local butcher and get free nibbles for your dog, and the occasional bag of bacon for a lower price. You could make friends with your local vegetable stall owner and get extra carrots when he had too many, and he would give you the off cuts for free for your rabbits. These days, you can’t even get a free plastic bag from the grocery store. In the UK, they cannot give them away by law–they have to charge people.
Is there any use in sticking with a travel agency in the age of online booking sites? Well yes there are a few benefits. For example, if you learn how a travel agency system very well, you can often manipulate their system or dig out the best deals.
You may also make friends with the people at a specific travel agency. This is especially handy if they give you the best deals. If you become a regular customer and keep using that same sales agent, then that agent may receive commission and so give you the best deals in return for continuing to place your orders through him or her.
Note that travel agents sometimes have offers to deals and discounts you, as a regular person don’t have. That includes offering cheaper prices on some flights than the travel booking sites may be able to get you.
So it’s worth checking in with a travel agent (or a few) and seeing what they can offer. You may be pleasantly surprised.
Try the Discount Airlines
(Especially If You Book Hotels Separately)
There are some very cheap airline companies out there. Some travel agents will bundle together hotels and cheap airlines and make their prices look especially low, when they are actually overpriced.
If you can find a good price on a hotel or accommodation, then booking via a very cheap airline may help you save money. You’ll have to find cheap airlines in the country or region you are in.
For example, in Europe, you may want to look at Ryan Air. For India, Air India. For Asia, Asia Air.
Search For Deals Rather Than Prices
There are some people that use this trick to great effect. They do everything from setting up alerts with certain companies, to setting up Google alerts for new offers and deals. Sometimes, travel agencies are incentivized by chain hotels to pass customers over to them, and these agencies take full advantage by offering discount deals.
Compare Between Booking Sites (some might be cheaper)
There are booking companies that do not make their money through adding profit onto holiday and travel packages. They only make money from the commissions they receive from airlines, travel agencies and hotels. These companies are often able to offer negotiated deals with prices that the hotels and airlines will not offer to the general public.
This means you need to LOOK around. Don’t just use the first price that’s offered by one of the travel booking sites like Kayak or Expedia — you may find other 3rd party companies are cheaper.
Ask People For Tips
You my be surprised at how cheap you can get flights, if you ask people in your network.
Ask Other People For Help
Yes, you can find very cheap deals by asking other people for help. Other people may know of cheap websites or cheap airlines. They may also know people that work in the industry and that are able to pass on their cheap deals to you.
Ask Your Friends And Family
Specifically, ask them what company they used last time and how much it cost them. Ask them if they know ways to get cheaper flights and if they know of any offers that are on at the moment.
Ask People On Social Media How They Did It
When people say they went on holiday on social media, ask them how they got there. Ask strangers on social media because there are sometimes some very helpful people out there. You can also ask the Yahoo questions and answers system.
Ask The Travel Agent For The Best Bundle Deals
Tour the travel agencies and press the staff for the best deals. Once they have given them to you, or not, go to the next and find out what they have. Keep touring the travel agencies and showing each one what you got with other companies until you get the deal you want. Many travel agency staff members get a commission, so it may be worth pressing them a little to get their juices flowing for a sale.
Use Rewards To Pay For Flights
Since this website is mostly aimed at trying to help people save money and build wealth, it should be noted that this is a usability idea, but a really bad one. Nothing is worth getting into debt over, and so few people are able to manage their debt, so getting a credit card is a very bad idea under any circumstance.
The idea is that you sign up for credit cards that give you rewards for flying and such. You have to spend a certain amount on the credit card each month, and when you do, you get things such as air miles or points that you put towards a package deal or airline flight.
Here’s how to use reward mile credit cards properly.
Spend On Purchases That You Would Have Made Anyway
If you are going to use a credit card in this manner, then only spend money that you already have and on purchases that you were going to buy anyway. For example, if you have a budget of $200 for food during a month, then keep your $200 in the bank and spend it on the credit card. At the end of the month, take the $200 from the credit card and pay off the credit card. Do not make extra purchases in order to reach the desired spend amount for the month. Just put on bills and expenses that you were going to pay with your wages anyway, and then put your wages towards paying off the credit card balance.
Check To See If Your Purchases Count Towards Your Reward
Here is a trick you can try…that doesn’t work! Sign up to a gambling website, which is frankly easier in Europe than it is in the USA. Upload as much money as you like to the website and let it register on your card by leaving the money in your gambling account for a few days. After a few days, you withdraw the money, you pay off the balance, and you have spent enough on your card to give you rewards…right? Wrong! The credit card companies have massive lists of all the purchases that do not count towards your rewards points, especially where the purchases may be deemed as cash advances.
Credit Card Companies Are Not Being Altruistic
They are not giving away rewards because they are all nice people. There is always a catch. The smaller companies have catches such as standing charges on your credit card (less common these days), or rewards that require a purchase, or horrible interest rates, or time-limited rewards, or unrealistic spending requirements. However, most of the biggest credit card companies offer rewards just so they can get their claws on you. They know that as soon as you are in credit card debt that you are going to be in it for a long time.
Be Wary Of Limited-Time Deals And Standing Charges
Standing charges are where you are charged for having a credit card. They are less common these days, but they may catch you with something similar that they may call a membership. They charge you to have a membership, but it is the same as having a standing charge on your card. They give you a slew of benefits, but they are basically charging you for the privilege of having a credit card.
Time limited deals are nasty ways of tricking people. They give you a certain amount of time to claim your reward with the hopes that you will forget. Another trick is to give you time limited rewards, such as having your reward points only last three months before they expire, so that you cannot accumulate enough points to get free flights and such. As mentioned earlier, the credit card companies are not acting altruistically when they give away rewards.
Use Fare/Price Trackers And Fare Alerts
If you are able to leave in a few hours and jump on a plane, then last minute price trackers are for you. There are also fare alerts you can use to buy your tickets in advance. For example, if you have a trip coming up in three months, you can sign up for fare alerts and buy when the price drops suitably low.
Look for Retro-Refunds If You Can Get Them
Some people have a lot of success by monitoring prices after they have made their purchase, finding a cheaper price, and then having the company refund them the difference. Obviously, your ability to do this successfully depends on the policies and offers that the airline has running at the time.
Consider What Date You Should Make Your Order
There are plenty of websites that claim certain months and certain days are better for buying cheaper airline tickets. Each airline and each route seems to have its own route, so you may have to do some research.
Consider Last Minute Bookings
Some people use last-minute booking sites to get cheap flights. However, they are not always worth it, depending on how you get that booking. They are not worth the money if you are paying a subscription to use the last-minute-booking website. Some people claim they have lots of success waiting in the airport for deals and offers with last-minute no-shows where they sell off the tickets at a discount. It may be worth considering if you are flexible enough.