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Airfares take the most amount from the money we saved for travel. And if you are like me who feels more excited about a trip that I booked at the cheapest airfare then we both agree that booking the best flight deal matters. There are so many tips on the internet about how to book for cheap flights but most of them are myths.
Have you heard any of these best ways to find cheap flight myths? Let’s see if this will ring a bell. Do you try to book for cheap flights on Tuesday? How about trying to find the cheapest flights in the incognito window? What about thinking that you can only book cheap flights at least 2 months before your intended departure?
If any of those ring a bell, then you believe in those tricks. I also used to believe in those myths on how to book for cheap flights but those were never proven to be true nor effective all the time.
How can I book a cheap airline ticket?
The best way on how to book for cheap flights is to drop the myths. Not everyone has the luxury of time checking flights every Tuesday in the incognito window for a few months.
Instead of relying on unproven tricks, be flexible with your plans, be resourceful, and use tools instead. Our favorite is with Jetradar! Specialized in searching for the best low-cost airfare, Jetradar has several free tools that can help you to book for cheap flights.
15 tips on how to book for cheap flights
1. Be flexible with your travel dates to book cheap flights
If you are going to a popular beach destination during summer, expect the airfare to spike. And if you are planning to travel during the holidays, flight ticket prices will skyrocket.
Just like other businesses, airlines increase their rates when there is high demand. The best way to find a cheap flight and to avoid the crowd is to fly offseason.
The calendar tool below will help you on how to book the cheapest airfare within a year. Edit the filters first according to your destination. The tool will automatically determine your origin based on your location.
If you are on desktop, the filters are on the left pane. On mobile, you click on the blue dropdown arrow at the upper corner.
After setting the destination, the calendar tool will display the cheapest flights right away. Click on a month that displays the cheapest airfare to display the date.
Note that the cheapest ticket may be a flight in the middle of the week. This is because most people prefer to travel during the weekend and that’s when the airlines will increase the ticket price. Click on that date to find and book the cheap flight ticket.
2. Choose the earliest or the latest flight schedule to get the cheapest airfare
After clicking on the date, a page will be generated on another tab showing all tickets available starting with the cheapest airfare. You will notice that the cheapest flights are during the time that you are in the comfort of your bed.
This is because not everyone wants to wake up early or stay up late so flight tickets are cheaper during this time. Being flexible with the time of your flight may mean sacrificing some sleep time but can save you some money.
3. Fly with budget airlines to save money on flight tickets
International flights especially the long-haul flights used to be impossible to afford. Because of budget airlines, people were able to fly farther and frequently.
Flying with budget airlines may not be the most comfortable flight but is one of the best ways to find the cheapest flights. Plus, they deliver what they promised and it is taking you from point A to point B at an affordable price.
4. Pack light so you don’t need to pay upgrades
Booking cheap tickets from budget airlines sometimes does not include a free checked bag and will charge a fee for checked bags. Packing essentials only may be a challenge especially for ladies like me but doable.
I noticed that packing light is easy for me when going to the beach as I pack light fabric clothes and flipflops but difficult during the cold season as jackets and boots take so much space of my luggage. The trick on how to book for cheap flights is to pack light so you don’t have to pay extra for adding a checked bag.
5. Skip the meals on short-haul flights
Budget airlines will seldom provide a drink and crackers to their passengers and will charge extra for meals. If you can eat before going to the airport as food sold at the airport is expensive or wait to get a meal after arriving at your destination, it will save you some money.
6. Go paperless with your boarding pass
Yes, some airlines will charge for printing your boarding pass. Stop wasting paper and use your phone to save your boarding pass to skip paying extra.
7. Consider flights with layovers to find cheap flights
Another trick on how to book for cheap flights is not to always fly direct. From the calendar tool below (same as item 1), uncheck the box of Direct flights only and you will see more cheap airfares when there is a layover.
8. Combine airlines to save more on your airfare
Booking flights with layovers do not require you to book with the same airlines per leg. For instance, the flight from your origin to the layover airport can be with airline A and the flight from the layover airport to your destination can be with airline B.
Combining different airlines gives you the control to choose the cheapest airfare between airlines per leg. You can also do this with direct flights. Booking your return ticket with a different airline that offers a cheaper airfare can save you money.
9. Watch out for special flight deals
To book for cheap flights, watch out for special deals that airlines offer for a limited time. Jetradar shows the available deals by route or by airlines and the timeframe of its availability.
Click on the Show Details to show more available offers then click on Select Dates to book your ticket. Below are screenshots of special deal offers shown after clicking the Show Details button above.
10. Be open to travel new destinations with the cheap flight deals
The world is so big to keep an eye on just one destination and special deals to several destinations are frequently offered. The flight on sale may not be your first choice but it will give you another travel to experience at an amazingly cheap airfare!
Use the map tool below to explore cheap destinations all over the world. Click on the price that shows on the map to book the ticket.
On the Explore tab, click on the map under Everywhere or click on the available flight deals below the map. Click on the destination you like to show more available deals and book the ticket that you like.
11. Set price drop alert on your smartphone
You can set price drop alert using Aviasales mobile app or Jetradar’s mobile app. The difference between the two mobile apps is that instead of the Explore feature, Jetradar has the car rental search feature. Download the Jetradar mobile app on iOS or Android.
To help you with how to book for cheap flights, use any of these mobile apps to set a price drop alert. Search for flights then either click on the Open price chart while the app is searching to show you when the airfare is low or wait for the search results.
I want to share how I find the searching for ticket animation so cute! It shows the day and night difference between countries.
On the search results, the app will give suggestions like the cheapest flight, direct flight, fastest flight, and layover recommendations. Click on the ticket that you like to book or the bell button on the upper right of the screen to set a price drop alert.
12. Use travel reward points and air miles
If you are a frequent flyer, sign up for travel rewards to collect air miles. We once booked a roundtrip flight from Sacramento to Los Angeles using Mike’s Southwest air miles and we only paid for taxes.
13. Search flights for one person only
Even seats in economy class do not cost the same. It can happen that two seats together in the plane cost differently per seat and if you book those seats, the airline will charge you the highest seat price for both seats. Tricky right?
So don’t fall for this and book each person separately to ensure that you book the cheapest airfare then upon check-in at the airport, request to be seated together. Most of the time, you will be seated together, and if by chance that you don’t, it is worth the money that you save.
14. Ask someone from another country with a stronger currency to book your tickets
I found this trick on how to book for cheap flights by accident. There was a time when I was looking for the cheapest roundtrip flight from Manila to San Francisco and it was so expensive.
I noticed that Mike always get a cheaper airfare when he booked a roundtrip flight from San Francisco to Manila and I felt so tricked because it was the same route. The only difference is our origin airport and where we are booking. He is booking and flying from the US and I am booking and flying from Manila.
Curiously, I asked him to check the roundtrip flight with the same date and schedule that I am eyeing from Manila to San Francisco, and guess what? It was $200 cheaper and he was able to book it for me!
15. Book early to have enough time window to look for the best deals
There are instances that some people I know were still able to book cheap flights to a popular destination during peak season a month before their intended departure. It was worth their risk because they got lucky with a good deal but this is not always guaranteed.
Since no one can predict when the airfare will increase or decrease, it is safe to search for the cheapest flight 2 to 3 months before your departure.
Note that Jetradar and Aviasales do not sell airline tickets but help you on how to book for cheap flights. Use the tips I shared above on how to book for cheap flights but don’t spend too much time searching.
As per my experience, the cheapest flights I booked were spotted easily and effortlessly using the tips I shared above. Whenever I spent too much time searching for the cheapest flights, I end up frustrated. So make sure to enjoy the hunt!
Do you remember how much is the cheapest flight you booked?
Find cheap flights today!
If you are searching for cheap flights on a specific destination and travel dates, use the widget below. Jetradar specializes in low-cost airfare so it will help you in finding the cheapest flight ticket.
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