In this post-pandemic era, airline flights have been all over the place. One minute, you can get a fare dirt cheap, and the next it skyrocketed beyond your budget.
What’s going on?
Between travel restrictions and labor shortages, it’s been hard for airlines to get their proverbial feet back on the ground. But travelers get to reap the benefits of cheap flights if they know what they’re looking for. These ten tips will help you find the best rates for your next trip.
The early bird gets the discounted rates. Try to plan your trip four months in advance. At a minimum, you’ll need three weeks’ notice to get the best fares.
Are your travel plans set in stone, or can you squeeze in some wiggle room? Flexible fares are a good way to save money. Look around at the dates around your preferred travel schedule to see if it’s cheaper to leave a day or two earlier, or come back later.
Apps like Hopper and Google Flights show you the rates at that moment, but they also let you “watch” the trip. If the flight’s fares change, you’ll be alerted through text or email. Since ticket flights change so frequently, this is a handy tool to use before you book.
When you head to touristy destinations, like New York City or the Bahamas, the flights are going to naturally be fuller. Airlines can charge more because the demand frequently outweighs the supply of seats and planes going there.
If your heart isn’t set on a specific destination, follow travel blogging sites like SaneTraveller. You’ll get ideas that are out of the ordinary places to go, and the rates to get to those areas will likely be cheaper.
Straight flights are usually more expensive. Everyone wants them, so again, supply and demand work in the airlines’ favor.
If you’re patient, not on a tight deadline, and looking for a deal, watch for connecting flights. Try to get one with at least two hours between connections to limit the stress of delays. Then, pack some snacks and a book or your streaming account, and enjoy the peace of not having to rush anywhere.
Booking platforms like Orbitz and Expedia are some of the most well-known sites to find flights. To get the best rates, though, keep searching!
Going directly to the airline’s site might get you cheaper rates, and some of the lesser-known airlines aren’t on booking platforms.
Add your email to every airline you like to travel with and get on their mailing lists. They’ll send you notices when their flights go on sale. You can plan your trip around the discounted destinations and dates.
If you can, enroll in airline loyalty programs, too. You’ll earn points for every trip you take, and you can cash in those points on your next vacation.
Since you’re spending money anyway, you might as well do it in a way that pays you back! Many credit cards offer airline miles as an incentive to use their company.
Whatever purchases you make will eventually turn into miles, and you’ll be able to travel cheap or free.
It’s common knowledge that some airlines offer cheap flights, but make up the discount with a hefty baggage policy.
Don’t fall for too-good-to-be-true prices, only to get hit with extra fees later. As you compare rates, be sure to include hidden fees, like carry-on and checked baggage costs.
Using these tips, you’ll be sure to find incredible deals every time you book a flight.