There is no question that flights are the more expensive chunk of your trip. Whilst travel today has really become much more affordable, there is no question that the cost of a flight can really bite into your finances. Therefore finding a cheap flight is quintessential and I am hoping that this guide will give you great tips for cheap flights.
Let’s face it if you cannot find a flight that suits your budget, you will only keep postponing your dream trip.
We are actually living some very strange times with Covid-19 which has seen flights reduced to mere travel necessity. However, in time this will change. And for all of us who are dreaming of our next break, searching for a cheap flight could mean that we can have a more enjoyable holiday in the future.
Believe it or not, airlines have hundreds of awesome deals. And this happens every single day of normal life. Sometimes, like now, prices are slashed to compete for business in the future. At other times there could be special promotions. The only thing is that you will need these tips for cheap flights in order to know when to tap in on them.
Your Ultimate Guide to Tips for Cheap Flights
1. Keep Your Travel Dates Flexible
There is what is known as a peak season, a high season, shoulder months and eventually a low season. But you must keep in mind that is what peak season in one country could be peak season in another. Therefore, allow yourself flexibility and search for what might be a lower season in the tropics but still be dry enough to have a great time.
As such if you want to travel in August because that is the only aperture in your schedule, or during Christmas Holidays, you are probably looking at paying sometimes as much as double as what you would pay in February.
The day of the week which you will choose to travel – will also have an impact on the price which you will pay. Almost invariably, if you travel during a weekday, you will pay a cheaper price for your flight, than if you fly on a weekend.
One last of my tips for cheap flights – is to avoid a major holiday or feast either in your country or the country that you are traveling in.
You must understand that the algorithms by which airline fares are wired, know the exact travel trends of their clients. As such, you are not dealing with dumbos here, and the dates for high demand are matched with high pricing.
2. Are You Ready to Change Your Destination?
Your destination is a big decision and many times we have destinations on a bucket list and set our hearts on them. However, if you are prepared to be flexible about your destination, you can really scoop some great deals.
Let’s face it, one of the biggest fun stuff you could do when you are dreaming about your next trip is to literally search for cheap flights for your next trip. The search alone might give you your optimal destination.
To be honest, that is how I had traveled to Stockholm in September. It had been a wintry day albeit Spring and I needed to cheer myself up. So I did the rounds with Google Flights, Momondo and even Skyscanner and explored all the possibilities of several destinations. Stockholm was persistently cheap in September.
The advantage of using these tools is that you will find it easy to see routes, travel times, and airline options with all the different time frames and price indicators. It makes life so easy. Just like playing a game.
So, when it comes to picking your destination, this is one of my tips for cheap flights. Ensure that you can be flexible, and pot luck might offer you a cheap deal which may not have been your first choice. However, if you are flexible, you may be in for a thrill.
3. Flying with Cheap Airlines
Today, you can find a number of budget airlines who can offer great opportunities. If you are an early bird, then this can be a great advantage. If you are a late bloomer and decide on the spur of the moment, just seconds away from taking your flight, you may find some extraordinarily cheap flights.
You can fly with Ryanair from Rome to Stockholm for just €40 including taxes in September. I mean that is probably cheaper than driving from Rome to Milan.
AirAsia has flights from Australia to Asia for less than $95.00 for a one-way ticket. This is usually a seven-
hour plus flight, so in term of cost, we are looking at really low fare.
Since I am giving you tips for cheap flights, there are some things I need to point out when traveling with low-cost airlines.
If you are traveling long haul and need to take more than just hand-luggage (max 7 kgs) – then you need to see how much the check-in luggage will cost you. This may be silly expensive and may not make the flight worth it. So do check it out before actually buying your flight.
Another thing is your leg-space. It is restricted. There is no other way to look at it. So I am 5ft2 – Lady Gaga Style – so I am usually comfortable anywhere. However, I do make sure that when I am doing cheap long haul that I observe my credo. Which is:
- Choose a window seat where I will not be disturbed (and I don’t disturb much anyway). The advantages of a window seat are that you can lean against the window instead of an unknown entity next to you – even if inadvertently. And with the help of a neck pillow, you can have a fairly easy flight.
- If I want to take advantage of a cheap flight, I may find a little bit more budget to pay for a seat selection which is either 1st row on the right-hand side of the plane (facing the cockpit) but not the left side. I will tell you why. The left-hand side is next to the entrance and I have caught a few colds from the draught, not to mention people tripping over my feet. Another option is the Emergency Exit. The only nuisance with these seats is that you will need to get all your hand luggage stowed in the luggage compartment for takeoff and landing. But otherwise, you have plenty more leg space.
4. The Longer Way May Be the Cheaper Way
This is not a fun tip but a reality when it comes to tips for cheap flights. Some flights which take you to another destination first and then to your final destination will be much cheaper.
I would only consider this if I am on a really tight budget. This is because the time taken out of your fun schedule could be substantial. Moreover, I also look at the hour of the first flight. If it is anything earlier than 7.00 a.m, I try to avoid it. Realistically if you are taking a 7.00 a.m flight you need to be at the airport two hours earlier and allow at least 1-2 hours traveling time from your home. Do your maths and you will understand what time you will need to wake up.
If you do decide to go for a budget flight and make the sacrifice for a cheaper flight, ensure that you have at least three hours between one flight and another. If you are changing airlines and your flights are not on the same ticket you will need to collect your luggage and check-in again. And I have had a few close shaves doing this so please take heed.
The three-hour time frame is also necessary, should you need to make an insurance claim for lost luggage or cancelled flights. If you are wondering whether and why you should have travel insurance please check out my post on Don’t Waste Your Budget on Insurance.
5. Place a Google Alert for Price Deals
Google Flight Price Alerts is an excellent way of tracking price fluctuations. If you do not know how to set up a Google Flight Price Alert just CLICK HERE and set it up. By setting this up, you are given an alert every time the price drops on your target destination.
However, this is not just one way of keeping tabs on special deals. Another on my special tips for cheap flights is to sign up for airline newsletters.
Let us say you set your heart on traveling to South Africa. Depending on where your port of departure is you can find several flights which are easy routes. For example, Emirates and Etihad fly from just about anywhere to anywhere and they would be a good option to subscribe to their newsletter. The same would go for KLM which will surprise you with its connections and seat options (offers also Economy Plus which is a seat in between Economy and Business and is perfect for long haul flights)
Here are also some great websites to keep you on top of your game
- Secret Flying – a really great no commitment and no sign up site where you can see the best deals all over the world.
- Got to Love Holiday Pirates – I love this site. It is not just an eye-opener for flights but also for best hotel deals.
- Airfarewatchdog.com – Similar to Got to Love Holiday Pirates this site gives you not just flight but accommodation options. The great thing about this site is that it actually shows you the cost cut.
6. Airpoints and Miles – Another of my Great Tips for Cheap Flights
I have become “vizziata”. I cannot quite translate the meaning from Italian, but it is in the tune of “spoilt”. I have been traveling for so many years and previously for executive work that I do not really do low end travel anymore. After all, a female flying solo has to indulge herself some!
If you are travelling frequently, you will know that you can accumulate points on your work or business travel and use it whenever it is convenient on your holiday travel – either for free flights or classy upgrades.
If you are signed up for any airline reward program, they will not only do their best to keep you begging for more but they will reward you for it.
So my advice here is smart with your traveling and make sure that you enrol and collect as many points as possible. Most travel reward programs are not restricted to airline travel but will also extend discounts to your hotel stays.
If you manage to collect enough points with any airline (even from your business travel) and can get a close to free flight – you have just made it to the TRAVEL HACK COMMUNITY!
7. Female Flying Solo – Tickets for the Solo Flier
Families will find it hard to come by a real deal unless they are looking for package deals. But heck, we are female flying solos, and there are plenty of solo travel opportunities out there. Remember that we are the odd seats which the airlines are trying to fill in!
So my advice, you are are in an advantage point if you are traveling solo because you stand a much better chance of getting a discounted airline fare.
8. Another of My Travel Hacks – Change the Currency for Your Search
Now I know that this sounds crazy but it is a hack that is tried and tested. I have lived between Malta (Europe) and Bali (Asia) for many years. Invariably, when I looked for flights in IDR ( Rupiah – Indonesian currency) as opposed to EUR (EURO) – I always managed to get a better deal.
So if you are looking at traveling to a country with a different currency than yours – try the other country’s currency too and then after that a multiple of other currencies and compare prices.
9. Clear Your Browser from Cookies
This today world we live in is smarter than we think. And it is not necessarily always to our advantage. If you want to get the best options and best deals, do clear your browsing history every now and then. Or else start a new Incognito search.
What happens with Cookies, is that all the sites you visit, know exactly what you are looking for, and they will keep feeding you that information. But it is not always the best information. They do know that you are jumping to buy that ticket, and will do their best to influence you to get the next best price. Only that the next best price may not be the best price.
10. The Early Bird Catches the Worm – Or Catch it by A Hair’s Breadth
It is quite normal that the earlier you book the cheaper your flight will be. This is definitely true. But and it is a really big BUT, it can also be true that airlines that have not filled their flights to full capacity, will reduce their prices at the last minute and by a hair’s breadth.
So here is my final advice for tips for cheap flights. Try early or try late. If you are planning a long term holiday and want to make sure that you get the best advantage of price, then book early and work the cost of the flight within your budget.
If your traveling style is hectic and last minute, it does not mean that you cannot have some great advantages for price hacks as I have shown you above.
Tips for Cheap Flights – A Roundup
Hooray, hooray, we’re going away! Whether you plan long-term or short-term, there is always a great exhilaration in planning a trip. The adrenalin flows, and you could just get a tad too excited or lost in translation and just hit on the next purchase button. Trust me, your next destination must be a meal best eaten cold.
All the pennies you can save will go towards the adventure of your destination and you will thank me for my tips for cheap flights and the savings you can get from them.
I hope you enjoyed and found this useful. Do not hesitate to ping me via email on mariella(at)femaleflyingsolo.com should you want any help.
Travel safe and travel far. Final note. I love adding images to my posts and in this case, since none of them is from my travels, I would love to thank Pixabay for their wonderful royalty-free images and their talented contributors.