Finding a good deal online can be a real headache when all you see are a ridiculous amount of flight search engines popping up when searching on how to find cheap flights on google.
I got you. I’ve been through all of that. But as you keep on traveling you learn more and become a better traveler. That includes digging up the best and cheapest flight there is.
Let me share with you tips and travel hacks that I’ve learned in my traveling journey. I hope that you’ll find this guide helpful.
1. Keep It Secret.
Yes, you got it right! Have you ever wondered why the prices of the flight your searching keeps going up after a few times of searching?
Well, websites use data stored in your browser cookies in many different ways, analyzing demand thru a number of searches, for example.
The more frequent people search on a particular route means higher demand. When the demand is high then price follows, does it make sense?
So, what should I do then? You may ask.
Use Private Browsing Mode
This is very simple to do. If you’re using Google Chrome on a PC, right click on the icon just below your screen. Going on a Private Browsing Mode will prevent your browser from storing your search history and the pages you visited.
2. Use the best Flight Search Engine
There are tons of flight search engines out there with different features. That also means a headache for us when we actually just want to find a good deal.
I’ve tried a lot of them and what I use now frequently are based on their user-friendliness, important features, and most airlines covered.
Here are some of my favorites:
Skyscanner: This is my number one choice. It has different flexible features in one place to help you discover the best month or dates to fly, which I will show you in a bit.
JetRadar: Also a good search engine that covers most of the budget airlines, you know cheaper flights.
Momondo: I use this to check and compare the prices from the other two and sometimes they have a cheaper price also.
Traveloka: Since I travel mostly in Southeast Asia, this website from Indonesia is a good option to check for flight deals and alerts.
3. Check the cheapest day to fly
So, you have now the search engine, it’s time to choose the cheapest day to fly using Skyscanner. Click on the departure date box (highlighted below) and choose between a specific date or whole month.
If you’re unsure when to travel, click on the cheapest month, let’s say April 2019 from Ho Chi Minh City to Hong Kong. The cheapest is on April 15th at $97.
Consider the following when deciding to book your flight:
Ideal time frame: Is not more than 3 months before your departure date. Which means not booking too early like 6 or 9 months before. Usually, at this time it is still high and at a regular seat price.
Do not book too late. Booking a week before your departure date is a ‘no-no’. Try aiming between 10-14 weeks before departure.
Check the low and peak season: If you choose to go on the peak season, there’s not much of a price change that you will see here. So you can set your expectation beforehand. Promos and seat sales are all year round in some airlines but if you look at the dates they are offered, it is usually during low season to encourage passengers to travel and still get profits.
4. Check the Cheapest Destination
Don’t know exactly where you’re going? Well, try to explore the cheapest destinations you probably already have in mind.
Using Skyscanner, the explore option will let you do the job.
5. Set up mobile notifications or email alerts
If you have decided when and where to go, you can set up an alert on your smartphone or right in your email inbox. I choose the notifications on my phone as I don’t like to clutter my inbox.
I use a mobile app called Hopper. The app will allow you to watch a certain route and certain date. Also a handy price prediction.
If I’m not unsure about the dates, I use the Traveloka app. It will give you an insight as to when is the cheapest time to book within a time frame you’ve set.
I’ve learned from other travelers as well that the best time to fly is on Tuesdays through Thursdays but not on Friday to Sunday.
So consider having a flexible date when booking a flight.
6. Check Low Cost/ Budget Airlines
If you want to get the cheapest flights, budget airlines are usually the first to come into mind. And that is true.
However, the quality of service does not always equal to the cheap price. There is a good reason out there why premium airlines are expensive and you know what that is, great quality service and comfort.
If your priority is the price tag and not the quality of service then you’re fine with low-cost airlines. Nowadays, I do find some budget airlines to offer better services that are comparable with premium airlines.
There are things to consider when choosing budget airlines:
- Checked-in baggage allowance– usually low-cost airlines do not include check-in baggage allowance and you have to purchase it separately. Check if how much would it cost for you to add another 15kg, 20kg or whatever options they have. Then compare it with another airline that offers free check-in baggage allowance. You might be able to save with the latter option.
- Flight delays, cancellations, and re-booking rates– check the reviews of the airline like their on-time performance, complaints from passengers and how much would it cost if in case you need to re-book your flight. Most airlines will give you a seat sale or deal for a period of time in the future and when you want to re-book, you would normally pay higher than the original price you bought them.
- Airport location– most budget airlines use a secondary airport which may not be a good option if it’s too far away from the city center costing you higher transfer fees from the airport to your hotel.
- Airline Rules– For most, there are restrictions that you have to follow like luggage weight and dimensions and they will charge you for a fee if you don’t follow. So read the rules carefully.
- Premium at a Cheaper Price– Booking a budget airline isn’t always the best. For example, Philippine Airlines and Vietnam Airlines are both four-star airlines yet they offer very competitive and affordable flights with a very high quality of service and comfort.
Here’s a list of popular Budget Airlines to give you an idea.
EUROPE– RyanAir, EasyJet, Norwegian, Vueling, WizzAir
USA & CANADA– JetBlue, Porter, Southwest, Spirit Airlines
7. Adding A Short Stopover
This I would consider if time is not an issue and if you’re arriving at the destination in a convenient time.
There are flights that you can save money when you choose to go with a short stopover rather than a non-stop flight. Flight search engines will be able to show this to you as they appear right on top of the list.
An example of this is when you’re flying from Hong Kong to Bali, Indonesia. As you can see below, if you choose to go with a stopover in Kuala Lumpur International airport via AirAsia, you’ll have to spend a total of 11 hours 35 minutes (including 4 hours and 30 minutes waiting at the airport) at $102.
If you choose to go directly via Garuda Indonesia at $346 for only 5 hours non-stop flight.
So, again, if time is not an issue you’ll be able to save a lot, in this case, more than 70%.
8. Book Transfer Flight With Long Stopover Separately
If you’re going to a destination that involves a connecting or transfer flight, you might want to consider booking that transfer flight separately. This gives you the opportunity to stay at the transfer city for multiple days before heading to your final destination.
However, this may not be the cheapest option but you’ll be able to enjoy two destinations in one. Instead of buying two roundtrip flights for two destinations
Let me give you an example.
From London Heathrow (LHR) to Manila International Airport/NAIA (MNL) you have an option to stopover at Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KUL).
Why not spend 2-3 days to enjoy authentic Malaysian cuisine or a selfie with Petronas Twin Towers before heading to Manila? You can save money laying over longer instead of waiting at the airport for a long time.
Option 1: From LHR to MNL with a 14hours 20minutes stopover at Kuala Lumpur Airport at $382.
Option 2: From LHR to MNL with 3 days layover in Kuala Lumpur at $407.
Let’s say your planning to visit those two countries in the future, that’s only $25 more!
I use AirWander here to discover extended layovers that will end you saving money and get the price of two trips in one. I love this website. Give it a try!
9. Check for Airline Passes or Buy Tickets in Bulk
Planning a visit to Southeast Asia soon? Why not try the ASEAN Pass? Some Airlines like AirAsia a famous budget airline offers a pass that allows you to book flights to any destinations in the 10 member countries in Southeast Asia using the points inside your pass.
It allows you to get cheap flights without worrying about the fluctuation of flight prices. If you want to know more, click here.
You can also use the multi-city option in Skyscanner if you’re planning to do a cross country trip.
10. Search For Crazy Flight Deals And Error Fares
I recommend this if you don’t have any particular destination in mind or you’re flexible to go anytime, anywhere.
Sometimes, airline companies post error low fares or deals for some reason. We don’t know why, but it doesn’t matter, we care more about the deals, right?
However, you have to act quick or you lose the chance.
How can I search for these flights? I use Secret Flying to do just that- fares and travel deals from anywhere in the world.
11. Use Frequent Flyer Programs To Collect Miles
By joining the frequent flyer programs of any airline, you are also earning miles which later on you can use to redeem free flights or get discounts from any partner establishments.
You can join a specific airline or alliances of airlines. Three of the most popular and biggest are:
To sum it up..
Finding the cheapest flights or airfares has been a struggle for many. However, getting some ideas, tips or hacks can definitely help you to do it hassle-free.
Here are the tips to remember:
- Search using a private browser
- Use the best flight search engines
- Check the cheapest day to fly
- Check the cheapest destination
- Set up notifications or alerts
- Check Low cost/budget airlines
- Add a stopover
- Book transfer flight separately and extend your layover
- Check for Airline Passes or Buy In Bulk
- Search for crazy flight deals
- Use frequent flyer programs for miles
Traveling is fun and you don’t have to be rich to do that.
Alright, so that’s it. I hope that these tips will help you in your future travels. Do you have any more tips and hacks? Let me know down below. Don’t forget to share it with your friends. Sharing is caring!
Disclosure: Please note that some of the links above may be affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you make a purchase. I recommend only products and companies I personally use.