We ALL want to know how to get the cheapest flight possible. The good news is that we’ve rounded up some of the best tricks to booking cheap flights! Check ‘em out. ☆ There’s no question about it. Finding cheapest airfare options for your next meaningful travel adventure is stressful! It seems like the further you want to go, the more it costs, but that doesn’t stop your wanderlust. You’ve got places to be, experiences to…experience. And it’s not just about how to find cheap airfares for this trip. You’ve got to know all the tricks to booking cheap flights now because every dollar you save on this flight is another dollar towards your next big move. Oh, the skies you could fly!
Of course, if you want to know how to find cheap airfare, you’ll have to have a little bit of patience. Not only do you need to familiarize yourself with the following tricks to booking cheap flights. You also need to carve out enough time to do your homework and make sure you’re ready to book the right flight when the moment strikes. But first things first: set yourself some limits. Calculate the maximum you’re willing and able to spend. Then figure out what price will be low enough to trigger you to buy immediately. Once you’ve got your budget parameters worked out, you’ll be ready to find cheap airfare to anywhere.
Follow these 9 tricks to get cheap flights
1. Buy your tickets on Tuesday afternoons.
People book their vacation plans when they’re not working, and during evenings and weekends. Airlines seem to have caught on to this, so flight prices usually drop a little bit in the middle of the work week when there are fewer customers in the market to book travel. If you want to know how to get cheap flights, be ready to buy your tickets on Tuesday afternoons. This will help you get the most bang for your buck.
2. The early bird knows how to find cheap flights.
Timing is important when it comes to your travel times, too. No one likes to wake up early, right? So if you’re willing to fly out on early morning flights you can probably find a better deal. Bonus: flight early means you arrive early. Use those extra hours to familiarize yourself with your new destination or use the cash you saved with these tricks for booking cheap flights to treat yourself to a little bit of luxury when you de-plane!
3. Be flexible.
Business travelers usually travel at the beginning and end of the work week, while leisure travelers like to maximize their weekends. If you’re willing to fly on Tuesday, Wednesday, or Saturday, you can put yourself in a position to save lots of cash-money.
4. Leave enough lead time.
Plan your trip at least a few weeks ahead to maximize your savings. Minimally, you should be booking your flight about 30 days before your travel date, but some statistics would say you should plan at least 7 weeks ahead. Sometimes you can find great last-minute deals, but if you’re looking for tips on how to find cheap airfare for a specific travel destination or experience, don’t leave it to chance. Plans often sell out and then there’s no last-minute discount—just missed opportunities. 💔
5. Sign up for price alerts.
Many travel search engines and flight information consolidators have functions that can save your search parameters and alert you when prices drop. Use them! Just be realistic while you’re at it. It would certainly be ideal to pay just $5 for your trans-Atlantic flight to your next destination, but is that realistic? Setting your target price too low won’t turn up any options, while setting too generous a price might waste your time by flooding your inbox with information about flights you can’t really afford.
6. Read the fine print.
If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Is there one particular flight listed on your search results that costs way less than the rest? Before you book, make sure your tricks to get cheap flights don’t backfire. Does the itinerary include a very long layover? Or a stopover in some far-flung airport that requires you to take a major detour? Are the costs of checked bags included or will you have to pay to bring anything with you besides the clothes on your back? Any of these options may be fine by you and that’s okay! We’re just recommending you double check before you book so you don’t end up in an awkward situation.
7. Where’s your sense of adventure?
Are you sure you’re already settled on your destination of choice? What if it were cheaper to redirect your travel somewhere else instead? You can find really affordable rates if you’re willing to go where the airfare-algorithm-gods lead you. Being open to smaller airports or secondary cities can turn up some really great deals.
8. Points points points points points points points.
Building brand loyalty by flying with the same airline as often as you can will help you accumulate “points” or “miles” that you’ll be able to apply towards more affordable future travel. Alternatively (or in addition), inform yourself about the benefits of your credit card and consider switching to a card that rewards you with airfare. Even if it doesn’t help you find cheap airfare this time around, if you play the long-game, it can pay-off in the end.
9. When all else fails, FundMyTravel!
Still no luck? Consider crowdsourcing or fundraising. FundMyTravel can help you raise money with the help of your friends and family so that you can fundraise what you need to make your next meaningful travel adventure a reality. Make an account and start campaigning for that sweet, sweet moolah that will help fund your airfare to wherever you’re headed. It’s super easy and super convenient (you don’t even have to change out of your sweatpants!).
You’re ready to find cheap airfare to anywhere!
There you have it. We’ve shared a few tricks to find cheap flights we had up our sleeves! Hopefully all that effort to find the cheapest airfare possible hasn’t robbed you of your enthusiasm for meaningful travel, because your adventure is just beginning. Grab your face mask and your neck pillow, and slip into your coziest yoga pants, my friend. It’s time to fly the friendly skies!
This article was written by Amelia Dietrich. Amelia’s day job keeps her busy helping study abroad professionals grow and improve their professional practice in order to help college students have safe, high-quality educational experiences abroad. When work travel isn’t enough, Latin America is her destination of choice thanks to a past life as a Spanish teacher and bilingualism researcher.