Don’t book too early. Don’t wait to book last minute. Don’t book on a Friday. Don’t use this app. While many theories exist on when and how to get cheap flights, it can still be time-consuming and stressful to try and get the best deal on airline tickets. So, we’ve uncovered a few tricks, apps, and best practices to have up your sleeve to book more affordable flights.
Here are our top 10 ways on how to get cheap flights.
1. Time It Right – Booking on a Weekday vs. Weekend
Some say that Tuesday is the best day to book a flight due to airlines releasing sales on Mondays. Others say that buying over a weekend is cheaper due to airlines trying to attract leisure travelers. In reality, there is no consistency of which day of the week is the cheapest.
So when it is time to start tracking the price of a flight, try both. If there is a sale, book early in the week. If there isn’t a sale, see if the price drops over the weekend.
2. How Early to Buy
You might love planning ahead, but if you buy airline tickets too far in advance, you could be missing out on sale prices. Many airlines release ‘sale’ seat tickets for domestic flights three or four months before a flight. It does pay off to buy your tickets early though. Tickets start to get more expensive less than six weeks prior to departure, so try not to wait until the last minute. Of course, flights are at their highest point a few days before departure. So, if you know you’re going to take a trip, start browsing for ticket prices early, and if there is a good deal, grab it!
3. Time It Right – Travel Dates/When to Fly?
Rumor has it that leaving on a weekday is cheaper than departing on the weekend. This might hold true for some flights but not always. Instead, the best strategy is to get a quick visual of prices for the whole month to see which days are cheapest for a particular route. You can do this on airline websites using their flexible date option in the booking calendar.
4. Flexible Travel Dates
Use the calendar feature on airline websites to search for different prices each day of a given month. A lot of the time it is cheaper to fly back home on a Saturday compared to a Sunday, so consider a Wednesday to Saturday vacation instead of a Thursday to Sunday itinerary. Holidays can also be tricky. For example, if you plan on traveling to Denver for Thanksgiving, consider returning the following week when many travelers are back in school and work routines.
5. Best Flight Price Tracker – Hopper and Skyscanner
Give Hopper and Skyscanner a try. First, Hopper, yes, like a bunny, predicts prices for up to a full year! This app uses color-coded boxes corresponding to price ranges. You can “watch the trip” – a feature where Hopper will send you an alert if the price drops.
Skyscanner is another way to solve how to get cheap flights. Skyscanner flight alerts can help you stay on top of flight and route price changes, so you’re informed exactly what is changing and by how much. You’ll save so much time on all of the tedious work researching flights on multiple websites for weeks on end. Sign up for Skyscannerhere.
6. Compare Prices on More Than One Site
There are many sites where you can compare ticket prices. Try Google Flights. It lets you pick your starting point and destination, then filters flights by price, length, and date.
Airfare Watchdog is another flight price tracker. Sign up for Airfare Watchdog and you will receive notifications on flights from your home airport to destinations you indicate on the website.
Finally, Kiwi can combine different airlines to create routes that are cheaper than booking with just one airline. For example, if you want to travel to Italy, Kiwi can pull a Lufthansa and a cheaper connecting flight on Ryanair.
7. Use Reward Miles
Of course, the cheapest flight you can book is free. The easiest way to accomplish this is by using points, and the quickest ways to earn points is to sign up for a travel rewards credit card. Many cards offer promotions where you spend a certain amount in the early months of opening the card, and you receive a major points bonus – sometimes enough for a free flight or two.
8. Sign Up for Newsletters
Sign up for e-newsletters from your preferred airlines. This way you are in the know right away for current sales and other promotions. Also, signing up for travel expert newsletters is another great strategy of how to get cheap flights. The Points Guy is a great one! The Points Guy is a travel website and blog that features news and stories on travel, aviation, points, and miles.
9. Top Secret Search
You might feel like you are going a bit crazy thinking that a flight price has changed after searching it a few times. Using the cookies in your browser, flight prices do increase when a certain route is searched repeatedly. It’s like the site is urging you to book the flight quickly before prices go even higher.
Start searching for flights in ‘incognito’ or private browsing mode to see the lowest prices. It’s as simple as pressing “Command, Shift, N,” using Safari or Chrome. This will open a new browser window where your information is not tracked, thus not inflating prices you search.
10. Using Hilton Honors Points
Any time throughout the year, Club members may convert future year ClubPoints to Hilton Honors points. Once available in their account, they may be used for a variety of options within this award-winning guest loyalty program, including exchanging for airline miles.
Next time you are getting ready to book airline tickets, have these tricks ready so you always know how to get cheap flights.