THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO FIND CHEAP FLIGHTS
With airfare being the most expensive part of most travel, it is natural to save on flights as a mission that many travelers would like to complete successfully. Maybe that’s why this is the question I get asked the most: “how can you afford cheap flights?”
First of all, it should be said that there are no miracles. Nowadays, flights are not as accessible as they used to be. Just remember that not many years ago they arranged flights between Portugal and Brazil for just over € 300, round trip. And I already bought a return flight between Porto and Dublin for € 0.02, final price.
The truth is that with the introduction of exorbitant fuel supplements and the unreasonable increase in security fees and other penalties, it is increasingly difficult to buy cheap flights. And neither does the low cost escape this generalized price increase.
Fortunately, it is still possible to find good opportunities. The key to finding them is having flexibility, persistence and being well informed, as there are promotions that last only a couple of days (or less).
Let’s take a practical example by choosing a destination where there are no direct flights from Portugal (to increase the complexity of the process).
Suppose then that we want to travel to Tehran for two weeks in the last fortnight of September. How do you find the best flights?
1. Search for a global aggregator
I always start my searches on Momondo or on Skyscanner, because they are global aggregators that include different search engines in their results, and thus increase the possibility of finding good links and low prices.
Between the two, I prefer Momondo, but it’s a personal opinion. In its favor, it has the ability to search flights to a destination with return from another (open jaw, in aviation terminology). Other recommended aggregators are Dohop and Vayama.
If you prefer to use a travel agency, I recommend Logitravel or eDreams.
Then look for the flights to Tehran available on the 15th day and return to the 28th of September.
These are the cheapest flights found by our customers from Lufthansa to Frankfurt (outward only) for the next 90 days.
Notice that on both sites, the cheapest flights appear as being marketed by an agency called Travelgenio instead of the airline itself. When this happens, count on an extra commission to add to the indicated price.
This first step gives us a starting point for getting an idea of flight prices on the dates we would ideally like to travel.
But just look at it that way, as a simple starting point. That is, do not book the first flight that appears to you.
Buying cheap flights requires persistence, but the effort almost always pays off.
2. Check which airlines fly to the destination
When you visit Skyscanner, you may want to give details about the main airlines that fly to your destination. To do so, look at the right side of the search results, which says “Top operators on this route”.
Note: If you want to travel to a city with several airports, do not choose a specific airport in the searches. That is, choose London (LON) instead of London – Heathrow (LHR).
3. Search for alternative flight dates
Perhaps the most important requirement for getting cheap flights is having flexibility of dates. And not only to avoid times of great demand like Carnival or the end of the year. It is often that mid-week flying is cheaper than on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays (in addition to the holidays). And it is not uncommon for a rate to vary 40% or 50% between two consecutive days, regardless of the day of the week.
Using Momondo, I will then search in the days leading up to my ideal date to see if there are cheaper airfares.
Within a few seconds, I discover that if you return a day later – travel from 15 to 29 September – Turkish Airlines has prices of € 648.
And if you leave a day early – travel from 14 to 28 September -, the price of the flight is even lower, also with Turkish: 620 €.
4. Visit the websites of airlines
Having identified the preferred airlines and having an idea of the best dates, the next step is to confirm the prices directly on the websites of the referred airlines. More importantly, this is the ideal time to view prices in the form of a “calendar” and to discover even cheaper flights.
Do not forget to search by checking the option that indicates “flexible dates” or similar, to have access to the price calendar.
Airline ticket costs fluctuate relying on the day of the week, time of 12 months, and upcoming holidays, resembling Christmas, New 12 months’s Eve, Thanksgiving, or the Fourth of July. August is an enormous month for traveling around Europe, and everybody desires to go someplace heat within the winter or journey when the youngsters are out of college.
If you will fly when everyone seems to be flying, you then’re going to pay greater fares. Attempt to be versatile together with your dates. If you’re useless-set on visiting Paris, go to Paris within the spring or fall when fewer individuals go to and airfares are cheaper.
Furthermore, it’s at all times cheaper to fly through the center of the week than on a weekend, as a result of most individuals journey on the weekends and airways hike their costs then. Costs are additionally cheaper should you fly after a significant vacation. Early-morning or late-evening flights are cheaper as a result of fewer individuals need to journey then (who desires to get up early?!). The distinction of someday can imply a whole lot of dollars in financial savings.
That’s the reason that is my #1 tip. You’ll save probably the most cash in case you fly when nobody else is flying. You’ll have all the time longed for Paris in the summertime however so has everybody else and the airways value accordingly. They know when a pageant, vacation, main sports activities occasion, or college break is arising. They aren’t dumb — and so they raises costs accordingly.
Be versatile when you fly and also you’ll begin way ahead of everyone else.
5. Benefit from pupil reductions
If you’re a scholar (or beneath 26), there are a lot of, many reductions accessible to you. There are loads of scholar low cost codes on the market, and journey companies like STA Journey or Flight Centre may also help discover you an affordable ticket.
6. Join a frequent flier program and journey hack
Airline rewards programs are a good way to get free flights, free upgrades, and free companion tickets. Regardless of how usually you fly, you need to be signed up for the airline’s reward program. I keep on with US-primarily based airways since they’re concerned in all the key alliances and you’ll earn miles on their associate flights. For instance, if I fly Singapore Airways, I can earn United Airways miles as a result of they’re companions. Likewise, if I fly Air France, it’s credited to my Delta rewards account. This fashion I’m at all times incomes miles once I fly. Nonetheless, should you aren’t from the USA, merely use an airline from your own home nation that’s concerned in considered one of these alliances.
Furthermore, by amassing factors and miles (the artwork of “journey hacking”), you’ll be able to journey around the globe for little or no (and sometimes free). These applications are straightforward to make use of, and there are quite a lot of different methods to earn miles in case you aren’t jet-setting all over the world on a regular basis:
- Look ahead to particular affords — I join firm newsletters as a result of they typically have featured presents not discovered on an airline’s web site. This could possibly be triple miles on a particular route or so simple as Starwood’s current promotion — I signed up for his or her e-newsletter and bought 250 SPG (Starwood’s Most well-liked Visitor) factors. American Airways as soon as gave away 1,000 factors for putting in a buying toolbar into your internet browser. These bonuses don’t go into the excessive tens of hundreds, however you may get one thing over a protracted time period by doing just about nothing. They do add up.
- Get a travel rewards credit card – By getting a journey rewards bank card (like an airline-branded card or a common factors card, corresponding to Chase Sapphire), you’ll be able to can earn miles and perks, like free baggage checks and precedence boarding. Furthermore, these playing cards include big signal-up bonuses (whether or not you might be American or reside out of the country, all of them do!) that usually equal one free spherical-journey flight!
- Use airline buying portals – All airways, lodges, and journey manufacturers have most popular retailers. These corporations — starting from clothes retailers to sporting good shops to workplace provide companies and all the things in between — accomplice with airways’ particular buying malls. By ordering on-line via an airline’s web site, you’ll be able to earn extra factors.For instance, I as soon as registered for Netflix via American Airways’ web site as a result of it gave me an extra 5,000 miles. I went to Goal by means of Chase’s on-line shopping center and earned three factors per greenback spent. I did my searching for my residence on-line with Ok-Mart through American Airways’ portal and obtained 9 miles per greenback spent as a substitute of simply the one I would have gotten if I walked into the shop.You should utilize Evreward or Money Again Monitor to find the present finest offers throughout varied packages. Merely sort within the service provider or product you need, and it’ll compile a listing of bonuses the assorted level applications are providing at that second so are you able to maximize the applications to buy from. (Outdoors america, Canada has two buying portals: Store.ca and The Aeroplan eStore. In case you are within the UK, there’s additionally a buying portal at British Airways eStore.)
- Eating rewards packages – Identical to procuring portals, airways even have eating rewards applications. You enroll together with your frequent flier quantity, register your bank card, and get further factors while you dine at collaborating eating places within the airline’s community (which rotate all year long). Be a part of one of many applications within the Rewards Community (they run all of the eating applications) so you may get 5 miles per greenback spent when you grew to become a “VIP member,” which occurs after 12 dines. So in case you get these 12 beneath your belt (so to talk) early within the 12 months, for the remainder of the yr you’ll be getting 5 factors per greenback spent!
7. Study alternative routes
Although I am very satisfied with the price, I never buy a ticket from Portugal without a last check. I do not recommend this step to everyone because it almost always involves buying two separate tickets, with the inherent risks – but why not look for flights from other airports?
This is because there are hubs in Europe from where, traditionally, fares are usually lower than in Portugal. It all depends on the routes and their competition, but London, Madrid, Frankfurt and Milan are some of these examples.
In the case of my route to Tehran, I then returned to Momondo and searched for Tehran on several dates, originating in half a dozen European cities, with easy access from Portugal.
It takes work, but sometimes there are some precious things. As was the case: return flight between Milan and Tehran for € 299, via Istanbul, with Pegasus Airlines.
Extra tips to find a nice cheap flight:
Buy flights in advance
It was high time that the best time to buy cheap flights was roughly 8-10 weeks ahead of the game. Now, the sooner the better, except for the last minute deals that sometimes appear, particularly in low cost airlines (but it’s always a risk because they may never show up for the intended destination).
That is, start searching as soon as you are planning to visit a place, even if you are 10 months away. That’s what I usually do.
Airline fares are a kind of roller coaster: today they are very high, tomorrow is falling, a week higher still. That is to say, in order to get low prices, you have to go researching regularly, because prices often vary without warning.
Select to find prices for these dates. To find the best last minute flight deals from Montreal to Momondo simply choose your airport for departure and arrival, and enter the dates and number of passengers in the search engine above. This way, you automatically receive price changes (ups and downs) for your flights. If there is a significant drop, it is probably time to buy the flights!
Be aware of airline promotions
One way for companies to increase their financial liquidity is to make advance sales promotions, where they sell air tickets well in advance of their departure date.
Likewise, they often make last-minute deals to fill the planes or reduce losses. Now, how can I benefit from these announced promotions? Naturally, being informed of its existence.
I endorse dozens of airline newsletters to stay abreast of promotions. You can simply subscribe to my newsletter that I’ll let you know when you become aware of