While booking flights is very easy and convenient to do, oftentimes we end up spending more than we intend. To avoid spending too much on flights (fees for checked-in bags, meals, flat pillows…), read on for some insider tips and tricks to flying cheaply. Also, read our previous post on how to travel for free (almost).
#1 Research for deals in the morning.
The early bird definitely gets the worm in this case! The time that you will see the most travel deals is during the early morning. However, some airlines do release discounts throughout the day.
#2 Pick the fare over the destination.
Use Kayak’s Explore Tool to look for multiple airlines fares. You will quickly find a map with all the destinations for a particular budget.
#3 Check the 24-hour rule.
After you book a flight, go online the succeeding morning to check if the price of your airfare went down. If it did go down, call your airline to try to cancel your flight. Oftentimes, they allow re-booking without any penalties.
#4 Go to Airfarewatchdog.com
When you sign up with Airfarewatchdog.com, you will be alerted when prices fall for your chosen flights. This site does not use computers to discover deals for you, but rather, real people. Note that the site only sends updates when it’s a good deal, not when a fare drops by just a dollar.
#5 Search through different discount sites.
Don’t just depend on one site to give you the cheapest airfare cost—check most, if not, all of them, such as Expedia, Orbitz, and Travelocity. Kayak, Hipmunk, and Yapta are good options as well.
#6 Choose last-minute trips.
If airlines cannot fill in their seats for upcoming weekend trips, airlines are known to cut prices during those times. On Tuesday, they will send offers for the following or the coming weekend to those who have signed up for email alerts. Travelers can choose to depart on Friday night or anytime on Saturday then come back on Monday or Tuesday.
#7 Book on Tuesday, 3PM, ET.
According to FareCompare, booking on Tuesday at 3:00PM Eastern Time is the best time to do so, especially for domestic travel.
#8 Fly early.
The cheapest flight is typically the earliest. If you’re not so much of an early bird, the next cheapest flight is during or after lunch or dinner time.
#9 Book 6 weeks early.
According to a study from Airlines Reporting Corporation, the best time to buy your tickets is around 6 weeks before you travel. This is because around this time, prices go down below its average cost.
#10 Select a flight that leaves on a Wednesday.
Particularly for domestic travel, the flights are cheaper when you leave on a Wednesday. If there are more empty seats, the airline will release seats at their cheapest.
#11 Go on Facebook and Twitter.
Airlines have been promoting their fares on social media. A caveat: you have to jump on the promo quickly, as some deals go really fast. Isn’t it great to use Facebook productively, rather than these awkward things that happened on it?
#12 Choose to be a frequent flyer.
If you find yourself flying in a particular airline most of the time, became a member of that airline’s frequent flyer program—or even get a credit card tied to that airline. Not only do you get an advantage over other travelers, but if you use the preferred credit card, you can use the points for mileage or travel gift cards. By the way, did you know about this guy who bought $3,500 worth of pudding and got 1,253,000 frequent flyer miles? Read about it here.
#13 Book with two different airlines.
Besides mix and matching prints, try mix and matching two different airlines. Most airlines actually sell one-way tickets at very affordable prices. This means that one airline might be good for the outbound, while another for the inbound.
#14 Include connecting flights.
Including connecting flights to your trip can save you as much as $100 for a round trip ticket. Just remember to set enough time so you can make your connecting flight.
#15 Try searching the airline’s site.
Don’t forget to check the actual site of the airline. They may have their own private sales. Moreover, if you get the tickets directly from the airline, you oftentimes get full points on your credit card.