So, you want to book cheap flights?
Yep, me too.
In fact, looking for the cheapest flight deals is how I spend most of my day.
Seriously, I should probably cut back a bit…
But so you don’t have to spend hours upon hours doing flight research, In this post, we’re going to explore all the different tips and tricks you can use on how to find cheap flights to anywhere in the world.
Table of Contents
What Actually Is a Cheap Flight?
What constitutes a cheap flight is going to be different to different people.
However, a ‘cheap flight’ should mean any flight that is significantly cheaper than the standard price of that route.
Or any flight that YOU feel like is a good deal.
So whether you’re travelling on a budget or in luxury, no one likes paying more than they should for flights.
Below are all the things you can do, to make sure you never pay too much for your flights again…
How to Find Cheap Flights Anywhere
Searching for your fights early has long been the best way to grab a cheap flight.
Prices often lower the further out you go from departure date as the airline needs to book up seats at first, then as more seats get booked and demand increases, the price rises.
Although there are rumours of travellers scoring cheap last minute deals, most of the time you’ll be paying more the closer you get to departure.
Understand Supply & Demand
Understanding both supply and demand are super important if you want to find cheap flights anywhere.
The supply and demand of flights constantly changes and depends on a number of factors;
All of these factors can significantly affect prices and you should always be taking them into consideration.
For example, you never want to be flying a popular route just before Christmas.
Many people look to travel at these times and therefore, airlines hike their prices.
On the flip side of this, if a flight has significantly lower bookings, the airline will lower the prices to get seats filled. This can sometimes be an exception to the ‘don’t book last minute’ rule.
Prime Booking Time
Many studies have been done that indicate, the further in advance you book, the better.
According to Skyscanner, the best time to book is;
International flights – 22 weeks in advance
Domestic Flights – 21 weeks in advance
This is a great rule of thumb, however, it also pays to do extra research depending on your location, as the best time to book can sometimes differ depending on location.
Book The Right Day
Ever wondered if the day you book a flight affects the price?
Well, it does!
Actually both the day you book on and the day your book your flight for can affect the price.
I know, mind = blown!
As stated by southerliving.com, a study found that people who book flights on Tuesday at midnight (12 am) saved around 6% on their flights. Which is a nice little saving on a $1000 flight.
It’s also definitely worth avoiding the prime evening times such as 7-10pm, where most people are online.
Airlines know this and the prices they display will reflect this!
In addition, the day to fly on can also significantly affect flight cost.
According to Upgradedpoints.com, Tuesdays, Wednesdays & Thursdays are generally the cheapest days to fly on. However, they also found that there was no consistent pattern regarding the best flying days.
It definitely pays to check other days, but when you first search for a flight, always default to these days.
Fly at Horrible Times
Flights at ‘inconvenient times can often be a great deal cheaper.
For example, a flight departing at 2 am will likely be much cheaper than the same flight, departing at 10 am.
This is back to supply and demand, as obviously, fewer people want to fly at this time.
Flying at all sorts of weird times is one the best ways to book cheap flights and afford travel.
Use an Incognito Browser/Delete History
It has long been a rumour among travellers, whether deleting your history or using an incognito browser affects the price of your flights…
How true this is, is still up for debate depending on who you speak to.
However, for the sake of simply opening up a different tab, always do this just in case.
I was once booking a flight to Dublin, Ireland and I was unsure if I wanted to go on the trip or not.
As I was deciding, the page kept timing out, meaning I had to keep refreshing it. After doing this a number of times, all of a sudden, the price went up by £100! Doh.
Yep, I still booked, but don’t please don’t make this unnecessary mistake.
Be a Travel Hacker
Ever thought of becoming a travel hacker?
(No, travel hacking isn’t a dodgy dark web flight search).
It’s perfectly legal and is simply you taking advantage of credit card points and sign up bonuses, to score cheap and even free flights.
Read the full guide on travel hacking for an in-depth run down.
Hunt Down Deals & Sales
Often, airlines run promotions and offer deals.
This can be for a number of reasons;
To find the best deals, it’s worth signing up for airline newsletters.
Yep, you’ll likely have to sift through a fair bit of spam, but everyone once in a while, you’ll be offered a really good cheap flight. Usually when airlines need to fill some seats.
You may as well be in the know, then out of the loop.
Check Your Payment Method
Did you know, you can actually save money by paying in a different method?
Some merchants charge extra for credit card payments (although you might want to pay on a credit card to build up points) and different types of payment such as ‘Afterpay’.
As well as this, check the country and location of the payment as the third-party site your booking through, may be located in a different country, where your bank may charge a foreign transaction fee.
Once, I was booking a flight from Auckland to Los Angeles and because
I used my NZ bank card to pay (on a UK based third party website), I was charged an extra $100!
Another pointless mistake, easily avoided.
Pay In a Different Currency
Ever thought if it would be cheaper to book a flight when located in a different country or by using a different currency?
Well, you may actually be on to something!
According to a study done by the Daily Telegraph, it was found that prices are significantly cheaper depending on your country.
You can even change your online location (to appear as if you’re located in another country), by using a VPN, which changes your IP address.
This means flight search results will appear as if you are in that country. So you can take advantage of changing your location and paying in a different currency.
Also, be sure to check the exchange rates and for any foreign transaction fees. (Issued by your bank).
Use The Best Flight Booking Sites
Book ‘Round Trips’ or ‘Multi-City’ Flights
Essentially you can build your own custom ‘round the world’ trip. (A fun pastime of mine).
When you book flights in bulk like this, it can often work out a lot cheaper than booking them all individually.
Take Advantage of 'Hidden City' Flights
A hidden city flight is a sneaky method of getting to your destination, for cheap.
Essentially, you book a flight to a different destination that uses your true destination city as a connection.
Then, you simply get off at the connection and skip the second flight.
These flights can, surprisingly, work out cheaper than booking to your true destination directly.
Fly by Date Not Destination
If you don’t know where you want to go or simply don’t care and just want to get away, this way of flight searching is perfect for you.
With this tool, you can set your departure city and dates, then Skyscanner will provide you with a list of destinations.
A great way to get inspired to travel to new locations and find cheap flights at the same time.
You may even find an epic destination you’ve never thought of going to.
Be Open To All Airlines
Got a favourite airline you always fly with?
Yep me too.
And that’s a good thing as booking with the same airline is a great way to build up Airmiles.
Despite this, it’s always good to be open to ALL airlines when looking for the cheapest flights.
As sometimes, budget airlines provide ridiculously cheap flights that will be more beneficial than booking with your preferred airline.
Don’t Always Book The Cheapest Flight
When looking at the search results in Skyscanner or Kayak, it can be extremely tempting to choose the cheapest result that appears.
However, cheapest doesn’t mean best. These flights often have horrifically long layovers or require an airport change to meet a connection.
In addition to this, if you’re travelling with lots of baggage, the cheapest flights often don’t include checked baggage, and the fees for this can add up quickly.
This means you can end up paying more for a flight that’s actually worse.
Always weigh up whether the cheap flight your booking is actually cheaper after adding baggage and taking into account money you’ll have to spend for a hotel on a long connection…
Join Frequent Flyer Programmes
If you fly regularly, it should be a no brainer to join frequent flyer programmes.
Especially, if you love to fly with a particular airline.
This way, each time you book with that airline, you build up points. These points can then build up and be used for upgrades, airport lounge access, as well as heavily discounted and even free flights.
Utilize Budget Airlines
If you’re looking for the cheapest of cheap flights, you have to consider the budget airlines.
These airlines are super popular in Europe and North America.
Using such an airline, I’ve managed to find a flight with Ryan Air from the UK to Portugal, for £6! Yes, 6 whole pounds.
(I did later have to pay £60 for oversized baggage, but we won’t talk about that).
Take Advantage of Airline Errors
Now and again airlines will f*ck up their pricing which results in error prices being put on sale and displayed to the public.
As you’re now in the ‘cheap flight guru’s club’, you can take advantage of this!
Once an airline displays a flight for sale online and someone books it at said price. The airline has to stick by this and cannot charge more. Winner, for you, not the airline that is.
Flexibility - Date & Destination
If you really want to be taking full advantage of cheap flights, it all comes down to one main thing…
How flexible you are.
The more flexible you can be regarding dates, destinations and connections, the cheaper flights you’ll give yourself access to.
Summary of How to Find Cheap Flights Anywhere
Now we’ve gone through all the different trips and tricks you can utilize to find the cheapest flights anywhere, you can start looking and booking that next trip.
Before you get stick into booking flights, the main thing to take away from this post would be to always be flexible, do your research and just think outside the box a little.
Basically, do the opposite to what the general public would do. Which is book a flight for the weekend with their favourite airline, at 7 pm, using a debit card through an airlines main website….
Please please please, never do this.
Travel smarter and save money….