Is there any better way to start off your summer trip than by finding a cheap flight? Not only will saving money on airfare provide a nice little buzz, but it will also give you a bit more spare cash to spend on your vacation.
Many of us get stressed scouring the web and trying to find the perfect price and why shouldn't we? There are hundreds of sites offering different rates, times, and routes. Plus, flight prices change drastically and without warning. It is easy to see why so many of us find searching for an affordable ticket confusing and overwhelming.
Luckily, you now have this post as a useful resource. In this guide, I outline my best tips for finding an insanely cheap flight. These are tricks I have used to save thousands of dollars over hundreds of flights.
Keep Your Dates Open
The fastest way to find the cheapest airfare is to create a few open dates in the summer when you can fly. This allows you to book your trip for whichever dates show the cheapest airfare. One good strategy – search prices for a whole month using Skyscanner. If your schedule is a little more flexible, try different months until everything lines up perfectly.
Find the best days to fly, then request those dates off for your summer trip. If those dates work, you have found the cheapest airfare to your ideal destination in under a minute.
If you have set dates, or if finding a ticket using open dates doesn’t line up with your summer vacation, then fly to the cheapest place you can! Many flight search engines such as Google Flights, Kayak Explore, and Skyscanner Everywhere give you a map showcasing low-cost tickets. While you might not get your first-choice destination, you will save a ton of money. This can be a quick, stress-free option for booking a flight.
Use Budget Airlines
Budget airlines offer huge opportunities to save money on flights. No matter where you are in the world, there’s a good chance there will be a budget airline nearby offering good deals. Budget airlines like WOW even offer cheap airfare to Europe from the US. Some of these airlines don’t show up on flight search engines, so you might have to do a little research and check individual airline websites directly.
Airfare is tricky, and many flight search engines offer different prices. Never book the first price you see. Instead, check multiple sites and develop a good feel for the "right" price.
And don’t limit yourself to flight search engines. Check sites that specialize in finding error fares across the internet like Secret Flying. They do the searching, and you reap the rewards. I've used Percent Flying to get an international round trip flight for a couple hundred dollars.
If you’re planning a summer trip, it’s wise to start shopping for a flight a few months in advance. You don’t have to spend hours searching every site on the Internet, just a few minutes of your free time to see if can find any low prices. This early legwork will give you a good feel for the average price and let you see which website is offering the best deal.
Think Outside of the Box
Why pay for a flight when you can get one for free! Places like Groupon have getaway deals where transportation is included in the price. Many cruises, all-inclusives, and resorts offer free flights when you book a package.
Of course, “free” means that the flight is built into the price, but there can still be some terrific deals to be had. The downside – this might not be a good option for everyone as many of these packages are only offered on select dates from specific airports.
Use Reward Programs and Credit Card Miles
The two easiest ways to rack up miles are by using either credit card mileage bonuses or frequent flyer miles.
Personally, I find credit cards the quickest way to earn reward tickets because of the enormous sign-up bonuses they offer. However, with their annual fees and high-interest rates, credit cards are also a riskier game. The critical thing to remember with credit cards is never spend what you can't afford to pay off at the end of the month. This lets you sidestep the interest.
Earning reward tickets with frequent flyer miles takes a little longer. It also requires you to fly with a single carrier or one in the same airline alliance to earn enough miles for a free ticket.
Don't Spend Hours Looking
As I mentioned earlier, flight prices can change within moments and with zero warning. This is especially true in the summer when so many people are booking vacation flights.
When I first started booking flights, I couldn't tell you the number of times I had a good deal but selfishly kept searching for a better one. In the end, the deal evaporated, and I was stuck paying more. But I’ve learned my lesson. If I see a fare that I think is the right price, I book it with no regrets.
Finding a cheap flight shouldn't be stressful or time-consuming. If you implement these tips, you will find the perfect fare and the best destination to spend your summer vacation.
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