10 essential tips for booking the cheapest flights

I've started utilizing the new Insta-stories polls so that I can know what you want to see on this space. The majority of you voted for a post on how to book the cheapest air travel. Every week, I'm going to put together a post based on the poll so that content is always valuable to you lovely people reading it.

Here are 10 essential tips for finding killer deals on flights... 

1. Know where to look

The first step in finding flight deals is knowing where to start looking. The sites I use most often are Skyscanner, Google Flights, and on budget airline sites specific to my region of travel. Other frequent flyers like Drew Binsky use KayakI've also had friends who swear by Momondo

2. Budget airlines are your friend

Flying around Southeast Asia, you learn quickly that the cheapest flights will be booked through Air Asia, a budget airline for that geographic area. Spirit Airlines, JetBlue, and JetStar are just a few of the many other budget companies that I have utilized and recommend {post about budget airlines for every region coming soon!}.  I understand that what starts as a cheap flight can quickly turn costly with small hidden fees. If you pack light {carry-on only} and don't get picky about selecting your seat, etc. you'll find that budget airlines can be your best friend. 

3. Search incognito

This is my very best trick, guys! You might notice that the more you look at flights the more expensive they seem to get. Once a website knows you are looking for a particular flight, it makes a note of it. The site can then hike the price based on your search history {creepy, I know}. Avoid this by conducting your search incognito. 

4. Be flexible with dates

A little flexibility goes a long way. You need to look at the best dates for your intended arrival at your destination of choice. Typically, it is more expensive to fly on Sundays, Fridays, and holidays. Flying from Bali to the states on such short notice was going to cost an arm and a leg on the date I wanted, but by leaving 1 day earlier, I flew home for 1/4 of the cost.

5. Travel in the off-season

My flight to Greece from Rapid City, South Dakota was less expensive than flying to Seattle, Washington. Why? I went in November. People don't typically go to Greece in November, so airlines lower the rates as an incentive. HOT TIP: the first week of December and the entire month of February are great months for flying since holiday traffic has died down and airlines are in desperate need of people to travel. 

6. Go places other people aren't

Airlines can spot travel trends just as easily as you can scrolling on Instagram. If there is a hotspot for tourists, airlines know about it and they'll hike up the cost of tickets to capitalize off of that information. Finding a destination off the beaten path will help you lower your flight costs. 

7. Take the long way around

This one comes with so many pros and cons. Long layovers are a pain, I get it. And after taking 52 hours to get to Laos this time around, trust me, I've thought long and hard about if it's worth it to spend more money for a more direct route. If you're desperate to cut costs, going on a less direct route is without a doubt the simplest way to make it cheaper. 

8. Fly earlier or later

Flying earlier in the morning is usually cheaper than flying in the afternoon since people often find early flights less convenient. Likewise it can be more affordable to fly late at night, since people don't usually like to arrive late and in the dark. Things to consider, however, are accommodation check-in times, transportation availability and safety. If you arrive too late in the evening, your hotel's free airport shuttle may not be running. An early arrival may mean you have to leave your bags at the front desk and wait until you're able to check-in. If it's too inconvenient or unsafe, a more expensive ticket might be money worth spending. 

9. Join all the loyalty programs

I'm a loyalty program junkie. And why wouldn't I be? They're FREE to join! Some offer exclusive flight deals. Some offer perks like selecting your seat or getting a check bag for FREE! All these benefits, make flying more comfortable without you having to pay for the extras. I have gotten 2 seat upgrades just for being a Delta SkyMiles Loyalty Program Member. 

10. Compare one-way tickets

Sometimes it's cheaper to buy two one-way tickets than to buy one roundtrip ticket. I've often bought a one-way ticket and then waited to buy another one-way ticket home. This also allows you more freedom if you're backpacking or adventuring for an extended period of time. A return ticket is, however, often required at your boarding gate before depature to get through customs, so always double-check to be safe! 



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