Some flights can be the biggest part of your trip expenses. Finding a hidden cheap deal could be just as important as finding the right destination or the right place to stay. Here is a 7-Point guide to easily finding cheap flights on budget airlines:
1. Use the Best Flight Search Engines
All search engines have inflated flight costs as part of taking a cut from the airlines. Some search engines (e.g. Expedia) consistently inflate more than others. It pays to familiarize yourself with sites that offer the best prices. Do a search for regional budget airlines. Some known flight search engines are: Momondo, Google Flights (a good site for searching in multiple cities), ITA Matrix, Skyscanner, Kayak. Remember, all search engines are not equal. Hence, you need to search as many flight search websites as possible in order to ensure that you are leaving no stone unturned.
2. Fly When No One Else Is Flying
Airline ticket prices vary depending on the day of the week, time of the year, and upcoming holidays, such as Christmas, New Year’s Eve, Thanksgiving, or the Fourth of July. If you are going to fly when everyone is flying, then you’re going to pay higher fares. Therefore, try to be flexible with your dates. Moreover, it’s always cheaper to fly during the middle of the week than on a weekend, because most people travel on the weekends and airlines hike their prices then. Prices are also cheaper if you fly after a major holiday. Early-morning or late-night flights are cheaper because fewer people want to travel then. The difference of one day can mean hundreds of dollars in saving! Be flexible when you fly and you’ll start way ahead of everyone else!
3. Fly Budget Carriers
The era of sticking with traditional expensive airlines if you want to fly between continents is gone. Budget airlines now service many long- distance routes, making it possible to bounce around the world with little money. For example, AirAsia offers cheap deals around Asia and Australia for as little as $100 each way. Also, Indian and Middle Eastern airlines offer cheap flights throughout the subcontinent and Africa. You can fly most of the way around the world on a budget airline!
4. Don’t Always Fly Direct
Not only does it help to be flexible with dates and destinations but try being flexible with the route you take, too. To do this, find out how much it is to go direct to your destination. Then open Google Flights and type in that destination’s continent to look at prices to nearby airports. If the difference is more than $150, look to see how much it is to get from the second airport to your primary destination.
5. Take Advantage of Student Discounts
If you are a student (or under 26), there are many, many discounts available to you. There are a lot of student discount codes out there, and travel agencies like STA Travel or Flight Centre can help find you a cheap ticket.
6. Know Your Price
People always try to get the lowest price online, wait too long (or book too early), and then pay too much. Airline prices always bounce up and down, yet in the quest to hold out just a little longer, most people miss the lowest price. Therefore, it’s important to know what you want to pay, not what you hope to pay. Be realistic too. If the lowest available price is $1,000 for a flight but the average is $1,500, don’t try to wait for $900, as it’s probably not going to get that low. No two people on a flight pay the same price, so all you can do is hope you get the price you feel good about.
7. Book Your Flight early, But not too early
Airline fares will keep rising, but there is a sweet spot when the airlines begin to either lower or increase fares based on demand. Don’t wait until the last second but don’t book far, far in advance either. The best booking window is 6–8 weeks before your flight, or around three months before if you are going to your destination during peak season.