How to Find a Cheap Flight to Anywhere: 19 Secrets for Better Deals
Searching for cheap flights can be a difficult experience with several different websites displaying different prices, making choosing a cheap flight an overwhelming experience. Flight prices are determined by a variety of factors that include the airline company, departure times, and connecting flights. This article will provide many helpful tips to help you find the cheapest flights possible.
1. Use the Best Flight Search Engines
There are several different flight search engines available on the internet with each claiming to have the best prices available. Many people will automatically uses sites such as Expedia, not knowing there are other options available that can feature cheaper prices. Be sure to use multiple search engines when looking for a flight to ensure you are finding the cheapest price possible. The following shows the best flight search engines.
Skyscanner.com is a global travel search engine allowing you to search for flights all around the world. Sky scanner offers very flexible search options which allows the user to search for the cheapest flights available. The great advantage in using this site is you can search for flights months and even a year in advance allowing you to save money on booking an early flight.
cheapflights.com searches for the cheapest flights available on the internet displaying the cheapest prices currently available. All the prices displayed include the tax, unlike many other sites where you will find added feet to the price. You do not actually purchase the tickets from cheapflights.com itself, as it redirects you to the airline or hotel to finalize the purchase.
Bing Travel is a very under rated, yet very effective search engine. Bing Travel has a ‘tip” feature that will inform you if you should buy the flight now, or wait because they anticipate cheaper flights will be available. For example, a search today for a flight from Los Angeles to New York might say fares will drop 15% in the coming weeks with a 80% confidence level that the price will indeed drop.
2. Use Travel Credit Cards
Choosing an airline branded credit card or any travel rewards card can allow you to earn points and air miles allowing you to receive good discounts on flights. Use your card for a bulk of your expenses including everyday expenses such as gas and monthly expenses such as your phone bill. You will accumulate several miles very quickly using your card often. If you were to put $1000 on your card per month that is anywhere from 12 000 to 30 000 free miles per year depending on the card you use. Some of the better travel rewards credit cards are shown below:
Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
- Was named the best travel rewards credit card by Money Magazine
- earn 50 000 bonus points when you spend $4000 or more in purchases in the first 3 months of card opening. That equates to $625 in travel when redeemed through the Chase Ultimate Rewards program
- features a 1:1 point transfer to partner travel programs, meaning 1000 Chase points equals 1000 partner miles or points.
Discover IT Miles Credit Card
- Discover will double the miles you have earned after your first year. If you have earned 15 000 miles Discover will double it
- earn 1.5x miles per dollar on every purchase made. 100 miles is equal to a $1 in value.
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
- you can earn 2x miles per every dollar on all purchases
- receive a bonus of 40 000 miles after you spend $3000 on purchases within the first 3 months of card opening. That is equal to $400 in travel.
3. Book Connecting Flights
Booking a connecting flight can save you up to $100 per round trip. The only draw back from connecting flights is it will taking longer to arrive at your destination as there usually a layover at the connecting airport, however it could still be well worth it.
4. Use Small Budget Airlines
When most people book a flight they tend to choose the biggest airlines such as SouthWest, Delta, or United Airlines. If you choose a low budget airline you will definitely pay a cheaper price then you would with one of the larger airlines. Airlines such as Spirit Airlines, Porter Airlines and Frontier Airlines are just as safe as the larger airlines. Keep in mind with these smaller airlines there will be drawbacks such as less leg room and no free food and drinks aboard the flight. Also look out for luggage and baggage fees when booking with budget airlines.Sometimes the flight will be really cheap however there will be a high luggage fee added bags etc.
The following displays several different quality budget airlines:
USA Based Airlines
- Jet Blue
- Porter Airlines
- Frontier Airlines
- Spirit Airlines
Europe Based Airlines
- Norwegian Air
- Easy Jet
Asia Based Airlines
- Air Asia
- Tiger Air
5. Sign Up For Travel Alerts
Many airlines or hotels will allow you to sign up for free travel alerts sent to your email when a deal comes along for discounted flight tickets. You will receive alerts for any great last minute deals or any cheap flights that are only available for 24 hours. Sometimes, you will receive free miles and points just for signing up for an airline’s newsletter.
6. Search Early Morning
You will have a better chance finding deals if you search for flights very early in the morning. It is said that airlines have a tendency to have discounts in the morning hours rather then the afternoon hours.
7. Find the Cheapest Day To Fly Out
There are many different theories out there claiming that booking a flight on a Tuesday or a Wednesday is the cheapest day to fly out. There is no consistent truth to this however, if there is no specific day you have to fly out, you can look for the cheapest day available for the time frame you plan on leaving. When searching for flights search for the prices for the entire month to see which days are cheapest. You will find that weekdays are usually cheaper the weekends, however this is not always the case.
8. Book With A Travel Agent
Most people don’t even think of using a travel agent anymore, with all the self booking websites available. However what most people don’t realize is travel agents receive special cut rates that aren’t available to the general public. It could also be a good idea to search for the cheapest flights you can find online and bring that rate to a travel agent to see if they can beat it. This can especially be done for long distance flights as a cheaper rate from a travel agent could mean a savings of a few hundred dollars.
9. Search On Airline Websites
Many people do not think to search on the actual airline’s website. Many times airlines will have their own private sales that are only available on there website. It is worth searching for flights on the airline’s website and comparing that to the prices on travel booking sites. Many times you can even call the airline to speak to a person and mention you found a rate cheaper with a different airline. Sometimes they will match or beat the other airlines price.
10. Sign Up For Frequent Flier Programs
Most airlines feature a frequent flier program allowing you to accumulate points every time you fly with that airline. Even if you do not fly frequently you should still join the program and ensure you fly with that airline every time.
11. Shop At Airline Partner Stores for ‘Free’ Miles
Many of the U.S. airlines are partnered with large retailers such as Amazon, Apple, and Best Buy. Most of the time you can earn 1-4 miles per dollar spent. For example, United Airlines s a program called Mileage Plus Shopping where you can earn miles for purchases made through this program online. You can learn more about the Mileage Plus Shopping Program by clicking here.
You can accumulate free miles very quickly especially when you purchase big ticket items through the partnered retailers. For example if you are buying an $700 iPad, making a purchase through this program would earn you 700 free miles. It does not cost anything extra to use these programs so it is a win win situation.
12. Find the Cheapest Locations
If you are just looking for a getaway and do not have a specific place that you want to go then searching for the cheapest cities and countries to fly could save you some money. A good way to do this is to head to kayak.com and use their explore tool. Enter your departure city and the approximate dates you want to travel. Kayak will display the prices over a map of the globe showing the prices in hundred of cities. This tool can help you see the furthest distance you can fly for the lowest cost. Keep in mind, many of these deals will be with budget airlines
13. Book Early
If you know the exact dates that you intend on leaving, do not hesitate and wait to book your flights. Prices usually do not decrease in price as you get closer to the departure date, unless it is a few days before.
Booking early is especially the case with low budget airlines, as they start out with a low baseline price, then as the departure date comes closer the tickets tend to increase in price. Always try to book your flights as soon as possible.
14. Search In Private Browsing Mode
If you repeatedly search for the same flight route and departure dates on your browser, you will sometimes see the price increase. Some sites will do this on purpose based on the cookies in your browser, to scare you into booking the flight before the price continues to increase. You can combat this by changing your browser settings to private or incognito mode.
To enable private mode on Google Chrome or Safari press control (command if using Mac), Shift, N. For Mozilla Firefox and Internet Explorer, press control (command on Mac), Shift, P. Doing this will open a new browsing window where your information and history is not tracked, eliminating the possibly of the prices increasing based on repeated searches.
15. Fly With Different Routes
If you are making a long flight that involves connecting routes it would be cheaper to book the flights separately. For example, a flight from Chicago to Australia would involve a flight from Chicago to Los Angeles, then Los Angeles to Australia. Booking two separate flights using a budget airline for one of the routes would save you some money. Be careful not to book layovers that are only hours apart, as there could be delays causing you to miss your flight. This approach is best used if you do not mind spending a an extra day or so at the additional destination.
16. Book Flight As A Package
When booking a flight, it could be cheaper booking it as a package with your hotel and even a rental car. Most of the sites have the option to book multiple services in one vacation package. Studies have shown it is cheaper to book everything at once, rather then booking everything separately.
17. Use Social Media
Many airlines and travel sites post deals and discounts on twitter and Facebook. Follow as many airlines on twitter and Facebook as possible to look for any great deals.
18. Pay In A Different Currency
When you are booking a flight it is worth checking to see if the flight is cheaper if you pay with another currency. Most airlines will have you pay in currency of the country your are departing from however this isn’t always the case, allowing you to save money if there is a favourable exchange rate.
19. Buy Last Minute
If you wait a few days before the date of the flight, many times you will find discounted flights as the airline is desperate to fill the plane. This can be risky as there is no guarantee that the price will drop. A good source to look for last minute deals can be found at lastminutetravel.com