We know that airfare represents one of the biggest aspects of a trip’s cost, finding that hidden affordable flight deal can be just as important as finding the right destination, the right tour company, the right backpack, or the right place to stay.
After all, if your flight is too expensive, you probably won’t go anywhere.
Every day the airlines have thousands of jaw dropping deals — from mistakenly published fares to special promotions deals to slashing prices to compete with another airline. Cheap fares are out there if you know how to find them.
Here is our 4-point guide on how to find a cheap flight no matter where you want to go in the world:
Ignore the Myths and Rumors
The first thing to know about finding a cheap flight is that there is no magic bullet or one secret trick to doing so. There are a lot of myths online about how to find cheap flights. In fact, you’ve probably have seen a ton of them in your quest to find the best flight deal. They are all false. They will lead you astray. Here are the most common that are 100% not true:
- It is NOT cheaper to buy airfare on a Tuesday.
- There is NO evidence that searching incognito leads to cheaper deals.
- There is NO exact date or specific time period in which to book your airfare.
- You can’t predict airline prices and websites that do are basically taking an educated (but probably wrong) guess.
Airlines used advanced computer and pricing algorithms to determine prices and run sales based on the time of the year, passenger demand, weather, major events/festivals, time of day, competitor prices, and much more. Those old “tricks” don’t work anymore.
Be flexible with your travel dates and times
Airline ticket prices vary greatly depending on the day of the week, time of year, and upcoming holidays, such as Christmas, New Year’s Eve, Thanksgiving, or the Fourth of July. August is a big month for traveling around Europe, and everyone wants to go somewhere warm in the winter or travel when the kids are out of school.
If you are going to fly when everyone is flying, then your ticket is going to cost more. Try to be flexible with your dates. If you are dead-set on visiting Paris, go to Paris in the spring or fall when fewer people visit and airfares are cheaper. But if you want to go in the middle of August? Well, not advisable. Hawaii over Christmas? Good luck!
Also, it’s always cheaper to fly during the middle of the week than on a weekend, because most people travel on the weekends and airlines hike their prices then. Prices are also cheaper if you fly after a major holiday as are early-morning or late-night flights are cheaper because fewer people want to travel then.
The difference of one day can mean a lot in savings.
Airlines are smart, they know when a festival, holiday, major sports event, or school break is coming up — and they raise prices accordingly. Be flexible when you fly and you’ll start way ahead of everyone else!
Take advantage of student discounts
If you are a student (or under 26), there are many, many discounts available to you. You can usually find prices 20-30% off the standard fare. Don’t overlook them!
Airline fares will keep rising the closer you get to departure, but there is a sweet spot when the airlines begin to either lower or increase fares based on demand. Don’t wait until the last second but don’t book too far in advance either. The best time to book your flight is around 6–8 weeks before your departure, or around three months before if you are going to your destination during their peak season.
Finding a cheap flight is about being flexible and smart in where you go, when you go, and how you get there. Follow the tips above, but don’t waste forever finding a cheap flight. If you’re spending more than an hour booking a flight, you’re spending too much time. Spend 30-40 minutes finding and booking a cheap flight at a price you’re OK paying and move on with your life. I never second-guess myself on flights. You’ll go crazy if you do.
If you follow the tips above on how to get a cheap flight, you’ll always get a great deal, save yourself time, stress, and avoid being the person who paid the most for their ticket!