There are things when on a trip, many of us love to spend big amounts of money for. A superb evening in a fancy restaurant, a good wine, a luxury hotel, this horrifically overpriced souvenir… you know the drill. But there is surely something each and all of us hate paying too much for: airline tickets. I gathered 7 proven and data driven strategies that make you a successful cheap airline tickets hunter and provide you with the cheapest way to travel by plane.
#1 The best time for cheap flights
This is a no-brainer. The best time to fly is off-season, which depends on the country and the state you live in. If you have the chance, book your flights outside of holiday season. Prices rise dramatically when the whole country wants to go on vacation. The best daytime for the cheapest way to travel by plane is the evening, followed by early in the morning. The most expensive time is around noon or early afternoon. So in order to travel cheap, get up early and fly in the morning. An evening flight might be cheap too, but you need to take account of the day you lose or the additional hotel night.
#2 The best day to buy flight tickets
Booking Tuesday is the cheapest way to travel in the week. As you can imagine, weekends are more popular among tourists to start or end a trip. So if you are flexible on this, you can save a nice amount of money. According to Cheapair, Tuesday is about 20% cheaper than Sunday, when tickets are most expensive. It’s generally advisable to start your trip mid-week and not on a weekend. Wednesday also is a very good day to book cheap airline tickets.
#3 How long before the flight should I book?
The cheapest way to travel by plane is to find the right time to book. But when is that? Many studies examined this question. Momondo’s flight study for example suggests 53 days before departure, while Cheapair says 47 days. All in all, you should have a close look at ticket prices about 50 days before your trip.
You are a natural long-term planner? Good for you. The by far cheapest way to travel by plane is booking 100+ days in advance. What about last minute? Sure, you ca be lucky, but the risk to pay way more than you could have is very high. Unsurprisingly, airline tickets are most expensive one day before or on the day of departure.
#4 Watch for price drops after booking
It is hard to find the perfect time to buy cheap airline tickets. But don’t worry, there is an easy way to solve this problem. After having booked your airline tickets, monitor how ticket prices develop. You can, for example, use the Skyscanner Price Alerts. When prices drop, there are two things you can do: You can either call the airline and ask them to adjust your ticket price. Many airlines are willing to do it. If they are not, have a look at your cancellation policy. Often, it is free to cancel your ticket when it’s early enough before the flight. In that case, you can just cancel and rebook the same airline ticket.
#5 Try different country pages
This is a pro tip. Many travel booking sites have different country domains (e.g. expedia.com, expedia.de, etc.) and the prices can differ heavily. If you scroll down to the bottom, you see the little country flags where you can choose different country domains and can click on them to go there.
In my example, I looked for flights from Frankfurt to Miami from August, 1st to August, 14th on Expedia. The first page I looked at was expedia.com. The cheapest tickets were at $1.159,96.
I went over to the German expedia.de to check out their prices.
Converted to US dollar, they would cost me $1.072,40, which is $87,56 cheaper. The easiest way to convert currencies is to just type it into Google: “€966,96 in dollar” and you have your result.
Let’s see if this works again. So I made my way to the Brazilian expedia.com.br and what happened?
Prices fell again! 3.347,41 Brazilian Real are worth $859,25.
This was the first flight I looked for. I would have saved a stunning $300 or 26%! I strongly recommend you to try several country pages to get the best results. It can really be worth the effort.
If you don’t understand the language, just tell the browser to translate it. Chrome, for example, asks you to activate the translator every time you go to a foreign website.
#6 Check for single flights
Regarding complexity, the way flight prices are calculated is only beaten by the Theory of Everything. Often, 1+1 does not equal 2. If you look for a round trip, be sure to also check how the price changes if you’d book single flights. In most cases, the package is the cheaper option, but every now and then it isn’t.
#7 Be flexible on destinations and time
Sometimes, you are bound to a certain date to go on your vacation. Sometimes, you exactly know where you want to go. However, when time and/or place are flexible, you can save big time. There are so many travel deal sites like Travel Bird out there that can help you find the best flight deals. If you just want to get away, no matter where or when, check them out to find extremely low prices.
7 tricks for the cheapest way to travel
I hope I could help you saving good money next time you go on a trip. Do you know other tactics to get low prices on airline tickets? Let me know in the comments! And don’t forget to subscribe to receive more travel hacks from the travel lab.
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The sources for the above named information and data come from the following studies and posts:
Orbitz – Your 3 best days to book holidays
Momondo – Annual flight study
Cheapair – When is the best time to book cheap summer flights
Skyscanner – 7 secrets finding the best low cost flights
ytravelblog – How to get cheap flights on the internet