One of the biggest costs to factor in to your travel plans is usually always going to be flights. Coming from Australia, this is particularly true as to get just about anywhere costs a small fortune. But, there are ways to save (a lot) of money on flights, it just takes a bit of time and searching. So, with these few tips and tricks, you can find cheap flights to make your travel dreams come true!
Use Search Engines like Skyscanner, Kayak etc.
Whenever I’m booking flights, my first port of call is always Skyscanner. Skyscanner (or a similar search engine) is a great place to get a rough overview of which airlines will be cheapest and on which days. Be careful though that the prices quoted are with a reputable company, as this can be a bit of an issue on Skyscanner.
Check Alternative Airline Websites
There are some budget airlines that don’t show up on search engines like Skyscanner, so it pays to check individual airline’s websites. A quick google search should tell you the budget airlines operating in the areas you’re travelling to.
Use an Incognito Browser
I’ll be completely honest, I don’t know if this is just a myth but a lot of people swear by using an incognito browser when searching for flights. The logic behind this tip is that airlines can track what you’ve been searching for and increase prices accordingly.
Try Different Routes & Stop-overs
This is my personal favourite trick to use when searching for cheap flights. Basically you can try booking separate flights to a stop-over city and then onwards to your destination. For example, flying from Sri Lanka to Australia, it was nearly half the price to book separate flights with a stop-over in Singapore. This was great because not only did I save a lot of money, but I got to see a new place too! It’s worth checking a whole bunch of different routes and stop-over destinations – slightly time consuming but worth it for cheap flights!
Try Different Airports
Search engines typically bring up results for the major airport in each city/destination, but it can definitely be worthwhile checking out the prices for alternative airports in the same city. This is because different airlines will fly into different airports, and each airport will have different taxes that are included in your ticket. For example, flying into London Gatwick can often be cheaper than flying into Heathrow.
Change up your Itinerary
This tip only works if you’re a bit flexible with your itinerary, but it’s a similar concept to tip number 4. Basically, it can often be cheaper flying into a nearby city and then catching another flight or train/bus to your planned destination. When booking flights to Morocco, it was a few hundred dollars cheaper to fly into Madrid, then take another flight the next day to Marrakesh. Again, this tip is great because you get to see another destination while saving money!
Get a Quote from a Travel Agent
I know, I know, ‘but travel agents are soooo expensive because they take commission!’. This is partially true, travel agents do earn commission when you book flights through them, but they also have access to discounted prices that you probably don’t. The trick is to first use a search engine to find which airline is offering the cheapest tickets. Then, you can drop into whichever travel agent in your city is partnered with that airline and get a quote. This generally won’t work if the cheapest airline is a typical budget airline as they aren’t usually associated with travel agencies, but on a few occasions this has saved me a lot of money!
Book a Weekday Flight
Flights are usually cheapest on weekdays, particularly Tuesday-Thursday as these are inconvenient days to leave for most business travelers or holiday-goers.
Be Flexible with Dates
This is similar to tip number 8, but it really pays off (literally) to be flexible with your travel dates! It’s not uncommon to save hundreds of dollars on a long-haul flight leaving a day or two earlier or later. Most airlines and flight search engines have an option to view prices for each day of the week (or even month), which comes in handy when you’re flexible!
Book Approximately 2 Months in Advance
This might come as a shock to some, as most people believe the earlier you book the cheaper the flights. However, this is not always the case. I’ve always managed to find great prices around 2 months before departure, that are comparable and usually cheaper to flights booked even a year in advance! Bring on the spontaneous trips!