To find cheap flight, keep your searches top secret .

1You’re not crazy for thinking that a flight price has changed after searching it a few times in your web browser.1 Based on the cookies in your browser, flight prices 1 do increase when a particular route is repeatedly searched, as the site wants to scare 1 you into booking the flight quickly before prices get 1 even higher. Always search for flights in incognito or private 1 browsing mode to see the lowest prices.

1 In Google Chrome or Safari, incognito is enabled by 1 hitting Command (or “Control” if using PC), 1 Shift, “N”. For Mozilla Firefox or 1Internet Explorer, hit Command (or “Control” if using a PC), Shift, “P”. 1 This will open a new browser window where your information is not tracked, thus not inflating prices as you 1 search. Note: if you’re using an older version of 1 OS X, open Safari then click “Safari” in the 1 menu bar, and select “Private Browsing”.

1 Your cookies are reset each time you re-open 1 an incognito window. So 1 if you want to start with a clean slate for each 1 flight search (so your previous 1 searches aren’t “remembered”, potentially 1 inflating costs), close all your incognito 1 windows, open a new one, and then 1 perform your flight search.

 

 

2. Use the best flight search engines 11

1 All search engines have inflated flight costs as part of taking 1 a cut from the airlines. Some search engines (e.g. Expedia) 1 consistently inflate much higher than 1 others (listed below). It pays to familiarise yourself 1 with sites that offer the best prices.

  • 1JetRadar (includes 1 budget airlines, which many search engines 1 don’t)
  • Google Flights1 (good search tool to quickly compare flights – 1 not always best prices)
  • TripAdvisor

1 Although we’ve listed broad search engines 1 here, note that many do 1 not include budget airlines. If this is what 1 you’re after, do an 1 additional search for regional 1 budget airlines (we’ve listed as many we 1 know of further below).

1 Finally, no single search engine is consistently perfect 1 (though we find 1 Skyscanner to be pretty good). As such, you may need to try a combination of search engines to ensure you’re 1 not missing any results. There doesn’t seem to be one that gets the cheapest flight 100% of the time. 11

3. Identify the cheapest day to fly out 1

1 While many theories exist around booking specifically on a Tuesday to save money, the 1 reality is there is no consistent truth to exactly 1 which days are cheapest to fly. Most 1 of the time it is cheaper to leave on a weekday, though 1 this isn’t always the case. 1 Your 1 best strategy is to get a quick visual of prices for a whole month 1 to see what days are cheapest for your specific route. Here’s how:

Step 1. 1 Hop on the SkyScanner website

Step 2. 1 Enter your departure & arrival cities

Step 3. 1 Select “one-way” (even if flying round trip – you’re 1 just determining the cheapest days to fly out first)

Step 4. 1 Click “Depart” but instead of entering a date, select “Whole 1 Month” so you can see which date is cheapest

 

Step 5.1  Hit “search” and see which date is cheapest. Sometimes 1 not all dates have a price listed, as indicated 1 by the magnifying glasses. If you 1 want to see a price that isn’t shown, simply click 1 on the magnifying glass 1 over the date.

 

1 Repeat these steps for your return flight if applicable. You 1 can still book a round trip in one cluster, but doing these 1 steps first will let you 1 see which dates are generally cheaper to fly in/out 1 on for your round trip.

Google Flights works 1 similarly to Skyscanner (though you can’t actually book flights on it), 1 plus it has a map view as well so 1 you can see where the airport is. 1 For tracking when and where 1 is cheapest to fly, Hopper and 1 Flyr also offer price analysis 1 and track fluctuations (i.e. when is best to fly). 1

 Image result for google flights map

4. Befriend budget airlines 

1 Budget airlines offer significantly cheaper tickets than their 1 full-service counterparts. It should be obvious, but 1 this comes with 1 compromises such as less leg room and no “free” food/drink on-board 1 (which by the way, is normally covered in your higher-priced 1 ticket with full-service airlines).

1 If you are considering flying 1 budget, which in our opinion is 1 a great way to save, I’d highly recommend 1 reading our guide on 7 must-know facts 1 about budget airlines.

1 Below is a comprehensive 1 list of budget airlines 1 around the globe. Red indicates 1 true budget airlines while blue implies the cheapest companies available where budget airlines don’t exist or aren’t 1 plentiful.

But First… A NOTE ON BOOKING 1 BUDGET AIRLINES. Always read 1 the fine print and do the following:

  1. 1 Check where the airport location is (some budget airlines fly to airports further 1 out of  town).
  2. 1 Ensure you’ve booked & paid for your luggage allowance. 1 Adhere to restrictions on weight, height, and 1 of bags allowed. Some airlines 1 (e.g. Ryanair) will charge hefty fee 1 if you’re over. Remember, paying only for the 1 exact luggage space/weight you need is 1 how budget airlines keep their prices lower than traditional airlines! 11
  3. 1 Read the fine print. The best example is that Ryanair WILL CHARGE A FEE if you 1 do not print your own ticket or adhere to their 1 strict luggage weight and dimensions. 1 A warning of this fee is clearly stated in all 1 capital letters in the first sentence of  1your e-confirmation. In a nutshell, always read 1 and follow instructions!

1 Remember, if you want to book the cheapest flight 1 possible (not service-of-the-year-award-winner), be 1 adaptable, do your research, and 1 know the budget airline’s requirements 1 & restrictions.

Europe

1If you’re heading to any of these parts of the 1 globe, start stalking these airlines. Use Twitter, Facebook or regularly 1 check budget airline webpages to keep you in touch 1 with specials before they sell out. Air Asia, Jetstar, Tiger Air and Ryanair are especially 1 good at having regular deals.

1 On a side note, Wikipedia has a more 1 detailed, comprehensive listing of low-cost airlines 1 down to specific countries here, though I don’t find all of them to be actual discount airlines. 1 If you’re going to a specific country, it’s worth checking so 1 you know all your options.

5. Book long-haul flights yourself for less 1

1Image result for flight tickets

1If you’re flying somewhere that involves a transfer, say 1 from Canada to Australia which typically involves Canada 1 to LA, then LA to Australia, consider 1 that it may be cheaper to 1 book these two legs separately on your own by 1 adding another destination to your trip. It 1 should go without saying that in doing this, you 1 should not book tight layovers. 1 I repeat: do not book layovers 1 that are hours apart! This approach is 1 for those who want to create an additional 1 destination of a few days or more, before 1 catching their next flight.

1 First, do your research: are there budget airlines 1 unique to the country you’re flying out of and where 1 you’re headed to? Booking with a budget 1 Australian airline from Sydney 1 to Honolulu, then an American 1 one from Honolulu to Montreal saved us over $400 each 1 when flying back from 1 Australia to Canada earlier this year. This 1 allowed us to create a thrifty five-day stopover 1 in Hawaii on our way back, which 1 was less exhausting and a lot cheaper! 1 Kiwi.com is a great search engine for revealing cheaper routes 1 like this that involve multiple airlines. 1

You 1 can even book your own multi-day layovers, essentially allowing 1 you to see 2 destinations for the price of 11. Rather than spend a day sitting in the airport, you 1 can spend multiple days exploring the city you are laying over in.

6. Find the cheapest place to fly1

Whether 2 you know exactly where you’re going or you just 2 want to find to the cheapest possible country to fly into, Kiwi.com 2 is a great tool to get the wanderlust 2 going and save some big bucks. Hop 2 on their site and enter 2 your departure city, then select a date range to fly. Approximate costs then appear 2 over hundreds of countries around the globe from 2 your departure point, while the 2 list of destinations 2 is sorted by price, allowing you to 2 see the most cost-effective place you can fly.

 

2 Where Kiwi.com really shines is the way in 2 which it mixes and matches airlines in order to find the 2 cheapest price. For example, maybe you want to go 2 to Rome, Italy from Washington, 2 USA. A typical flight search engine will 2 only suggest routes coming from a single airline 1 and its partners. An example search on Expedia 1 shows the cheapest route as $631.20 USD via TAP Portugal. 1

1Kiwi.com, on the other hand, will mix and match 1 airlines (including budget airlines) in order to 1 find you the very cheapest route. For 1 long-haul flights especially, this 1 can make a huge difference. The same search on Kiwi.com returns 1 a route at $459.80 USD via JetBlue, Norwegian Air, and 1 Vueling. That’s a savings of $171.40 USD, and the travel 1 time is even shorter!

 

Typically, booking 1 a whole trip with 1 different airlines would be 1 risky. For example, let’s say 1 your first flight with 1 JetBlue was delayed, and you 1 missed your 1 connecting flight with 1 Norwegian Air. Because 1 the airlines have no association with each other, Norwegian 1 Air has no obligation 1 to reschedule your flight for free, so you 1 would just lose your money. Kiwi.com instead 1 offers their own guarantee, which 1 covers schedule changes, flight delays, and 1 cancellations. As long as you contact Kiwi.com 1 as soon as you’re aware of the delay, they 1 will provide you with an 1 alternate connecting flight, or 1 a full refund, at your discretion. We haven’t used this 1 guarantee ourselves, but it certainly sounds like an appealing way to take the risk 1 out of a thrifty flight hack!

7. Use a travel agent 1

Image result for flight travel agency map

Travel 1 agents have special undercut rates that are unaccessible 1 to the public, although this 1 doesn’t always ensure they can 1 provide the best price. It 1 is wise to do your own 1 research first, find the 1 cheapest flight, and present 1 that information to 1 them to see if they can 1 match or beat it. This would 1 be especially beneficial for long-haul flights, where 1 even slight savings could equate 1 to a few hundred dollars. They 1 can also help you extend 1 your layovers so you can enjoy a few days in a different city, 1 rather than just sitting in the airport.

8. Don’t forget about local airlines 1

While 1 the above search engines are great, they 1 do not always include small airlines, especially in 1 less popularly booked routes and/or in remote regions. 1 If you’re flying somewhere obscure, Google1 search and ask around if there exists a 1 local airline. While in South 1 America we learnt that the LADE Air in 1 Argentina (flown by military pilots) has crazy 1 cheap flights to Patagonia, which is of course not listed 1 in mass search engines online.

When 1 you do find small airlines, even if they 1 are listed in a search engine results, it often 1 pays to check the company 1 site which may reveal 1 exclusive online offers not found in a regular search 1 engine. For example, when flying in Western Canada, I found that 1 Hawk Air, a small and 1 local company offers weekly 1 deals on certain days. Be sure to double check!

19. If you know when and where you’re going, don’t wait to book 1

Rarely 1 ever do airline tickets get cheaper as 1 your departure date approaches, especially if 1 you need to fly on a certain date. Budget airlines typically offer low rates as a baseline price, and as these tickets sell, the 1 remaining ones increase in cost. This 1 is very typical in Europe and Australia. 1 If you know when and where you’re going, don’t wait on an unknown 1 sale. More often than not, your 1 biggest savings come from booking  1 far ahead when you can.

110. Check if it’s cheaper to pay in other currencies 1

1 Before booking a flight, consider if the rate is cheaper if paid in 1 another currency. Often budget airlines will make you pay in the 1 currency of the country 1 you’re departing from, but this isn’t 1 always the case. An important 1 note when doing this: make sure 1 you’re using a credit card that is 1 free of foreign-transaction fees, otherwise 1 your attempts to save money 1 doing this will be lost! Our1article on money matters for world travellers 1 can help steer you in the right direction for the best credit cards 1 for travel.

111. Search for airline error fares1

1Airlines sometimes make mistakes when posting their 1 fares, leading to seriously discounted flights. This can 1 happen for various reasons – currency conversion mishaps, technical glitches, or human 1 error. If you’re in the know-how on where 1 to find airline error fares, you can save yourself some serious bucks on 1 a ticket.

1 Our detailed how-to guide spells out how to find mistake fares 1 easily on your own. Basically, AirFare Watchdog and 1 Secret Flyingare great resources to stalk for finding mistake pricing 1 as they conglomerate 1 slashed ticket rates all in one spot. Another great approach is to search for flights for an entire month using Skyscanner (Tip #3 in this article). This will allow you 1 to easily spot a significantly reduced fare against what’s displayed that 1 month, and has twice 1 helped us stumble on error fares ourselves.

Below 1 is a real-time list of today’s top 1 fares from AirFare Watchdog.

 112. Consider hidden city ticketing1

1Travellers long ago discovered a trick known now as “hidden city” flights. In a 1 nutshell, sometimes a flight that connects in a city you 1 want to go to is cheaper than flying directly to 1 it. So instead, you book 1 that cheap flight which connects in 1 your desired city and hop off there, not taking the 1 ongoing connection.

1 It should go without saying this is risky for 1 many reasons. Here are some factors to consider: 1

  • 1 If your luggage is checked, it may go 1 on to the final destination. For 1 this reason, with hidden city 1 ticketing it’s best to have carry-on luggage 1 only.
  • 1 You may not be allowed 1 off the plane (if the same plane is 1 continuing onward to its final destination).
  • Airlines 1 may detect that you did not take 1 your connection. The consequences of this are hard to 1 say, especially since people miss flights all the time.

1 There is now a web search engine which 1 finds hidden city tickets for you. It’s called Skiplagged 1 and is currently being sued by United 1Airlines who is angry about this debatable hack. 1 We have never used the hidden city approach, but I 1 know several who have, and they’ve scored some thrifty 1 savings. Use at your own risk!

113. Use flight points when possible 1

If you’ve 1 inadvertently forgot about those 1 Aeroplan or Air Miles points you’ve been racking up for 1 years, now’s the time to use them! For Canadians using 1 Air Miles, the best bang for your 1 buck is to use your points for in-country travel, as 1 this uses the least amount of points for 1 the distance, though if you are swimming 1 in points (company credit cards 1 can be a goldmine for this), this is 1 a good way to save serious bucks. 111

2 thoughts on “”

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