Booking a flight can be bank-account draining; especially so if said flights are within North America, or going oversees from North America. And not only that, with countless websites promising you a better price and experience, searching for flight deals can make your already stressful flight experience even more time consuming and frustrating.
While the days of extremely cheap flights may be long gone, there are many ways to get the cheapest flights out there without being a professional travel hacker.
Here are 10 tips to help you book the cheapest flight possible:
Websites and search engines can tell when you’ve visited or searched for a specific flight more than once. And word on the street is, when they see you interested in something, the demons of the internet penalize you for it and up the prices.
Some people swear that they’ve seen prices go up because of this, and some will promise you there is no evidence of such things happening.
In case you belong to the first camp, or just to cover all your bases, search for flights while in ‘incognito mode’. If using Google Chrome or Safari, you can go incognito by hitting Command (or “Control” if using PC), Shift, “N”. If using Mozilla Firefox or Internet Explorer, hit Command (or “Control” if using a PC), Shift, “P”.
Note: You don’t have to worry about cookies with sites like Skyscanner, because they get constant updates from airline websites directly.
Browse through multiple search engines
Did you know that search engines take a cut every time you buy a flight using one of their links? Or that not every search engine will display all the available airlines?
Make sure you search via multiple engines in order to get a full view of prices and availability.
It’s no secret that not flying during your destination’s peak season will shave precious dollars off your final bill. People don’t fly as much, and therefore prices go down.
Don’t go as far as visiting your destination during its monsoon season or anything, but get informed about what visiting your destination in the shoulder or off-season would be like.
Keep your departure dates flexible
Is it imperative that you fly to your destination on a Saturday? Or would you be open to flying out on a less-expensive day, say Tuesday?
Most of the major airline’s websites allow you to see and compare what prices are like on different days of the week.
Sign up for airline e-mails
While they may not substantially effect your wallet, airlines often have promotions and sales. Sign up for the company’s newsletters to be constantly in-the-know.
If you’re not dead set on flying in and out of a certain city, and if a cheaper flight into a nearby town won’t disrupt your travel plans, then by all means book the cheaper flight.
Use a travel agent
Travel agents are privy to discounts and perks that, as a traveller without the inside scoop, you’d otherwise miss out on.
Even if they are unable to provide you with a flight price that beats booking straight from the airline, a travel agent will be able to get you incentives such as discounts on tours and ground-travel, or access to the members lounge at the airport.
Keep your eye on prices
While flight prices rarely to never go down just before the departure date, it’s not always advisable to book way in advance either. Start your flight search when you first decide to travel, and then keep your eye on prices for a while. They will fluctuate in the early days, and you just might find yourself a deal.
Have you checked how many Airmiles or Aeroplan points you have lately? While it may seem like they take forever to accumulate when you’re paying attention, you may just have enough in your arsenal for a short-haul flight.
If you don’t currently collect points, then start.
Look at booking two single one-way tickets instead of a return
Before you click the “buy” button for your return flight, check and see what the rates would be were you to buy two single one-way tickets with different airlines. Make your own discount.