How to Find the Cheapest Flights
Finding the cheapest flights is a hassle! But it’s a necessary hassle. Just like cheap accommodation, cheap flights are a fixed cost that you always have to pay. So the less you pay on plane tickets, the more you can pay on fun travel adventures. You can even vacation longer if you save enough money.
I know how difficult it is to find the perfect flight. You have to search a thousand websites to find the best deal. The prices are constantly changing. It’s overwhelming. So here are some tips to help you save time, effort, and money.
Have you ever search for the cheapest flight, and just when you think you found it, the price changes? You’re not crazy. Airline websites track cookies in your browser to see how many times you’ve visited their website. When they see you’ve been to the site multiple times, they will raise the price to scare you into buying the tickets.
Each time you open an incognito window, your cookies are reset. This way the airlines don’t know how many times you’ve actually visited their site. You’ll always see the original price.
To go incognito in Google Chrome, press CTRL (or Command on Apple), Shift, and N. For Firefox or Internet Explorer press CTRL (or Command on Apple), Shift, and P.
Fly at Dawn or Overnight
No one likes to miss their sleep. That’s why demand is lower for flights at dawn or overnight (red-eyes). Lower demand means lower prices. I can’t count how much money I’ve saved by flying early in the morning or late at night.
But a cheap flight isn’t the only bonus to flying at odd hours. Security is quicker because there are fewer people in line. Also, if there is a time change for your flight, you might be able to time it perfectly. You can sleep on the plane and wake up at your destination without jetlag.
Be Flexible to Find the Cheapest Day
There are a bunch of myths about which day is cheapest to travel. I’ve heard people say Tuesday, Wednesday, and Sunday is cheapest. But they can’t all be the best day. The truth is it depends. So to find the true cheapest day with tools like Skyscanner.
Skyscanner can give you a visual for the entire month, so you know the lowest price for each day. Just add your departure and arrival cities, select “Whole Month,” and then “Cheapest Month.” You’ll get all the information you need to choose the best day for you. Google Flights and Kiwi.com have similar features.
Look for Airline Errors and Sale Fares
No one is perfect, so sometimes airlines make mistakes. It could be a glitch in the system, a currency conversion error, or even human error. But these mistakes can lead to some serious discounts. You could find the cheapest flights of your life because of someone’s mistake. Other times airlines are just in a generous mood. They’ll offer some sales on certain flights, which is always nice to see.
Whatever the case, you need to find these flights quick. The best way to do that is to sign up with Scott’s Cheap Flights. Just enter your departure location and wait for the deals to fill your inbox. For the best results, you should have flexible dates and destinations. So this is the perfect option for the adventurous at heart.
Don’t Wait to Book
Everyone wants to find the perfect deal, but cheap flights rarely get cheaper over time. On the contrary, flights usually get more expensive as you get closer to the departure date. Most budget airlines offer their cheapest tickets as a baseline. Once those tickets get purchased, they increase their prices. Don’t wait. Pull the trigger. Buy in advance!
Fly for Free with Points
What’s better than cheap flights? Free flights? You can get a free flight by earning points with various airline and credit card reward programs. Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, for example, will give you 80,000 points when you spend $4000 in the first 3 months. That’s worth about $1000. Yes, you need to spend money to make money. But they are practically giving away $1000.
Frequent travelers will rack up points a lot quicker, but you can do it too. Think about the long game. Sooner or later, you will get enough points for a free flight. Look for opportunities to earn double or triple points. Maybe you won’t earn rewards immediately, but you’ll get them a lot quicker. Take advantage of whatever you can!
Use the Best Flight Search Engines
You can find all my favorite travel resources here. But let me tell you about my favorite flight search engines.
Google Flights is my favorite place to start. It shows me what flights are available when and what prices. I can then check the airline websites and other tools to verify the information.
Skyscanner is another great place to ensure you get the best flights. They do all the hard work by finding the cheapest options from all across the internet.
Scott’s Cheap Flights is perfect for people with flexible dates and destinations. Scott finds these cheapest flights for you if you’re willing to compromise on the time and location. You can get as much as 90% off thanks to airline errors and sale fares!
ITA Matrix is the software used by travel agencies and tools such as Google Flights. So go straight to the source and find the deals yourself. You don’t need to depend on anyone else.