Do you feel limited with your travel and vacations by the sheer price of just getting to your destination? Ever wonder how influencers you see on social media snag flights for less than the price of a couple of checked bags? Well I’m here to share with you some of the best tips and tricks I’ve learned over the years as a serial budget traveller.
- Download the Hopper app – now this app is genius! If you have certain dates in mind that you need to book, for example for a wedding or non-changeable vacation block, you can input your dates and the Hopper app will tell you when the best time to buy is. You can set it so that it sends you notifications when the price drops, auto buy so you are automatically booked on the flight and you can freeze the price for a couple of days for just a few dollars if you need to double check dates. You can also set up alerts for a whole month if you are a little more flexible. As an added bonus, Hopper now offers hotel deals for flights to destinations that you are “watching” – from experience, these have been very competitive rates, and more often than not, cheaper than those found on travel comparison sites.
- Fly in the off season – research the location you are going to and find out when the off season is – a simple Google search will assist with this. Usually flights (and accommodation) are a lot cheaper than during peak season. Also check when the current school holidays, spring break, etc. is as this usually causes an upswing in prices.
- Use incognito mode – whenever you are researching flights, always set your browser to incognito or private. Unfortunately airlines can track your cookies and once you’ve searched for a certain flight and come back to the same one a few days later, you might notice the price went up. They realized you want that flight and hiked the price up. Stay incognito and avoid these unnecessary price inflations!
- Subscribe to flight saver memberships – there are various ones available depending on where you reside, most offer a free version or a paid membership which offers more frequent flight deals. These memberships alert you to substantial flight deals, some are often price errors by the airlines. If you are flexible with your dates, you could book some terrific flight deals
- Dollar Flight Club – there is a free version, or a premium version which offers a more extensive range of flight offers at greater frequency. Premium membership costs $69 a year, but look out for offers, it has been known to run $1 membership deals at certain times of year. They have also recently started a Premium Plus membership which offers additional offers in Business and First Club, $99 a year. It is not unheard of to find international flight deals saving you over $1000, which given the reasonable price of membership, gives a fantastic return on investment.
- Scott’s Cheap Flights – another great membership for finding cheap flights, just input your desired departure airports and watch the deals roll in! Again, there is a free version and a Premium version, for $49 a year. They have also jumped on the trend of adding in an Elite membership that offers additional deals on Business and First Class flights.
- Matt’s Flight Club – very similar to the above two memberships, Matt’s Flights offers a free trial version and a $59.99 premium membership that offers flight deals from your chosen airport including price errors and mistakes that yield some of the best airline deals.
- Use long layovers to your advantage – sometimes there will be a flight with a super long layover, sometimes over 24 hours, these flights are usually much cheaper than direct flights or ones with a shorter layover. But you can use this to your advantage, fancy visiting another city? Now is your chance! Book a bus or walking tour of the city during your layover! Some cities even often offer free tours if you have a long layover – Strawberry Tours is a great resource which lists all the free walking tours across the globe in different cities.
- Book each leg separately – this doesn’t always work, especially with round trip flights originating in Europe. But for certain itineraries, it’s worth researching whether it works out cheaper to book each leg of your journey separately, which can result in lower fares on occasion when you fly with different airlines for each flight. Bear in mind that if you are bringing checked luggage that requires a fee to pay for, it can hike the price up if you are using a variety of airlines. One benefit of using the same airline is you can check your bag all the way through to the destination and only pay once for your luggage. Always stay in incognito mode, or use a private browser when researching flights!
- Pack efficiently and use just carryon luggage – if you are going for a fairly short trip, you can save yourself checked baggage fees if you just take carry on luggage. Check with the corresponding airline as some only allow a personal item, whereas some permit a personal item and another piece which could be a rolling suitcase that can fit a lot in!
- Open an airline credit card – there are tons of great card incentives out at the moment, some offering as much as 100,000 air miles after you spend the minimum spend on the card. That’s as much as 5 return flights to the Caribbean from the United States! There are other perks on using an airline credit card too, such as waived baggage fees, priority boarding and discounts on inflight Wi-Fi and food. And if you travel a lot with the specific airline, you’ll rack up air miles faster when you use your card to book your flight. Most of these credit cards earn you miles for everyday purchase too, such as gas stations and grocery stores.
- Avoid travelling during the holidays – if you can, try and schedule your trips so that they don’t correspond with federal holidays. The majority of airlines will raise the price of flights, sometimes two of three fold for dates over the holidays.
- Utilize SkyScanner and Google Flights (in incognito mode of course!) – these two sites \I frequent the most when researching flights. They work like a flight comparison site and display flights of all the airlines for specific dates or timelines, where you can filter it down to specific airlines or number of layovers. SkyScanner also has a great feature where you can set your destination to “everywhere” and dates to “cheapest month” and it will show you the best deals across the globe over the next year. If you’re flexible with dates this is the best way to score the cheapest deals!
- Join Airline Loyalty Memberships – most airlines host a loyalty scheme, and they’re free to sign up; you will earn air miles for every flight you take – so you may as well start earning something back if you are going to be taking the flight anyway.
Other words of wisdom
Unfortunately the old myth of booking on a Tuesday for the cheapest flight is no longer very reliable. As technology has improved there have become way too many variables for the fluctuations in flight prices, and there is no day of the week that is more beneficial for prices than any other.
Do you have any other tips and tricks? Comment below, I’d love to hear from you!