There are lots of things I do when searching for cheap flights. It’s not just get on Expedia search and buy. Well it can be that simple, but if you want the best deal it takes a little extra work that always turns out to be worth it! I am going to give you a list of tips I have actually tried and a list of tips I have never tried but others have and have recommended.
LET'S START WITH THE TIPS & TRICKS I SWEAR BY
Google Flights Search Engine
I’m learning that a lot of people don’t know they can find amazing deals through Google’s search engine and in my opinion it’s easy to use and offers the best prices! Sometimes I receive emails from Expedia or other companies and still go to google to find the ticket to purchase.
How to search on Google Flights?
Just type in the google search bar the airport codes. (Example: to search for a flight to New York from Charlotte you would type CLT to NYC) Google will search for the cheapest flights into Charlotte and will include all of the airports in the area (JFK, LGA, and EWR). Google will also tell you if its cheaper to leave the day before or after, or at a different time.
My favorite part is the calendar and map feature. I use this to see when is a good time to fly to certain areas and it also gives ideas about how much it cost to fly around the world.
Enough about google. None of this matters if you don't make sure to include the next tip!
Fly the Cheapest Days of the Week
Tuesdays, Wednesday and Saturday
This is why I like to use the Google Flight Calendar. It shows you if a certain day is cheaper to fly and even offers different tips like if the price will go up soon and so much more.
Sign Up For Email Notifications
I already know this one may seem annoying but it's so worth it! I would have never known that American Airlines had flights to Miami for $69 if I had not received an email from Expedia.com. Almost every week Expedia sends out dozens of flight deals under $200 from my local airport. There are lots of websites that will send you notifications like TheFlightDeal.com and TravelNoire.com!
Travel During the off Season
I’m thinking we lucked up with $69 tickets to Miami because it was off season, but there were so many pluses to this! The weather was still nice however, some days it was too cold to swim and others we were on fire. So don’t think because it is off season that you’re missing out. You’re not, we still had a ball!
Pack Everything in a Carry on
Every plane ticket does not allow a carry on so you may be paying the extra fees for your bags. It is what it is.
However, if you are able to take a carry on. It is possible to pack a week trip in your bag. There are plenty of youtube videos that teach you how to pack a lot of clothes in smaller bags.
Compare One Way vs Round Trip Prices
When I visited Puerto Rico we flew out of Raleigh and we flew back into Charlotte. This saved us about $200. This was also 2 years ago, now flights to Puerto Rico on a Tuesday are about $227 (any other day of the week the flights are $300 - $500). You can read about it here.
The next set of tips I have never tried only read or heard about them. So I cannot tell you my experience with it.
Mix and Match airlines
Websites like SkyScanner and Kiwi.com will automatically check multiple airlines for you. They will find the cheapest route to your destination by any means necessary. I have never purchased my ticket through skyscanner. My advice find the cheap flight on skyscanner and purchase it through google or through the airline website. I would use both google and sky scanner to see what options they may provide. I have noticed both search engines provide flights around the same price, sometimes the price difference is only a few bucks.
Don’t be Scared of the Layover
I have never done this but I want to. If you stop in a city with a layover for a few hours, go explore. Pack enough clothes or important items in your carry on bag so you can get in an extra destination.
Get a Travel Credit Card
Some credit cards offer travel rewards. They allow you to collect points on everyday purchases and can later be used on a free flight! Here is a link that explains how travel cards work, the pros and cons, and the different kinds.
Follow the 24-hour rule
If the price drops within 24 hours of purchasing you can cancel and re-book your flight for the cheaper price with no penalties! Check to see if the airline you booked your flight with even has the 24-hour rule policy.
I’m a little worried about using airlines like Spirit and Frontier. I have friends that swear by them however I have never tried them, so I cannot give you an honest opinion. They do have extremely cheap flights but from what I have seen baggage fees and other misc charges rack up with them. Don’t count budget airlines out, a lot of people recommend them so it’s working for somebody.
I hope these tips helped you as much as they help me when planning trips! If all else fails and this seems like too much work, I do know I handful of travel agents like one of our contributors Maya Horton. You can email her at email@example.com for travel inquiries.