You’re scrolling through Facebook looking at everyone’s vacation pics, feeling jealous and full of wanderlust. It’s the ultimate dilemma: you want to live that jet set life but you’re on a Top Ramen budget. Don’t give up! There are tons of ways to find cheap flights to cool destinations. You just need to know how to find them…and that’s where I come in! I’ve pulled together five insider tips for finding cheaper airfares.
Tips for FINDING CHEAPER AIRFARES
1. Instead of picking your destination, let your destination pick you
This simply means, look for the cheapest flight first and then go there. Kayak, Skyscanner and Google Flights have helpful tools that will give you a dose of inspiration on where to take your next trip.
You input your departure airport, dates and budget then the magical tool gives you the best destination options for your parameters.
If you’re not too picky about location (hey, beggars can’t be choosy) and just know you want to go to say, Latin America or somewhere sunny, these tools are super clutch.
2. Use a few different airfare search engines
You’re not getting married girl, shop around! The flight search engine sites aggregate information from a bunch of different sources but they don’t all display the same information. Or prices.
Make sure to cast a wide net when you start your search. Check out Hipmunk, Skyscanner, Momondo, Google Flights, Kayak, Jetradar and Hopper to begin browsing. You could end up finding cheaper airfares by simply expanding your search to a couple more sites.
Once on the sites play around with the different functions for departure city, layovers, return city and dates. There are some really helpful tools to help optimize your search and get the best price, or get alerts when a hot deal is available.
3. Check to see if the budget airlines are going your way
If you want to make finding cheaper airfares easier, check directly with airline websites for deals! The aggregator sites don’t always pull in all the information, especially for budget airlines like Norwegian, Spirit, RyanAir and China Eastern Airlines.
Look to see if there are budget airlines that fly to your destination and then just book directly with them. To get you started, here’s our list of budget airlines around the world.
Now before you come back yelling at me about how stingy your budget airline was, you should know what you are signing up for. The budget airlines are cheap for a reason. You don’t get as many (read: any) perks. They will charge you for everything besides your seat and you may have to fly into a more inconvenient airport. So do your homework first.
I have a helpful guide on how to avoid budget airline fees, so you can know what to expect.
4. Be flexible about your dates
This one may seem simple but it is key. The deal gods don’t always work on your timeline so if you can be flexible you can sometimes score big deals.
Most experts say that flying on a Tuesday or Saturday will get you the best prices, so try to start your search there.
Most airlines also have fare calendars so look at the adjoining days before and after your desired dates to see if you can get a better price.
Sometimes simply changing your flight by one day can save you hundreds of dollars.
5. Travel during shoulder season
The off peak travel season right between high season and low season. It’s often the best time to go because there’s still pleasant weather along with smaller crowds and bigger discounts.
Instead of going to Europe in the summer when EVERYBODY is going, consider going in October. Or hit Hawaii in November before the holiday crowds come and the prices go up (who says you can’t eat Kalua pig for Thanksgiving?)
Each destination is different but if you do a little research you can find the best time to visit and save big.