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Hacks on finding cheap flights
Let’s talk about how to find cheap flights anywhere and book it! So that you can score killer deals on flights.
There it was, right in front of us on Instagram. A flight to Europe for $300. No way! We had been wanting to go back for years, but it always just seemed a little outside our budget. Now having 2 kids, bills, and jobs it wasn’t as easy as it was when we were first married. But there it was staring at me, almost poking me.
I popped over to the United Airlines website to check it out, and sure enough, it was True! I texted my husband, who was upstairs, and said, “Should we???”
Today is so easy to find great deals on flights to destinations all over the world. Many people have built businesses on sharing cheap flights with anyone who is looking. At the time we were living in Salt Lake City, Utah and getting to Europe would cost on average about $800 -1000USD per ticket. So, when “Flights from Home” posted the deal, and said that it wouldn’t last long we needed to book it.
Always be prepared to jump on a deal
After putting the kids to bed, my husband and I sat down to see if it was still available. Sure, enough it was, and many dates and options were available. My excitement was going through the roof!
We took a look at the kids’ school schedules and our work schedules. Then we picked a couple of random days that would work. We booked it for about 5 months out. At the time it seemed so far away, but it gave us enough time to budget and plan the rest of the trip.
We picked Amsterdam as our landing point or entrance into Europe. knowing that we wouldn’t spend the entire time in Amsterdam, but we needed to just pick an airport or destination. Knowing that Amsterdam is a good hub and easy to get to almost any other part of Europe quickly by airplane or train.
We booked a 10-day trip well in advance and felt great about the amount we paid for our flights. When it was all said and done, after taxes and fees we ended up paying $358.46 to go to Europe!
This was a killer deal and one that disappeared quickly after we booked it. When you find a deal like that you have to jump on it because it will disappear if you wait too long.
If you are not lucky enough to randomly stumble upon a flight deal like this, there are many other ways to find great deals and cheap flights for kids and families.
3 of our favorite ways to find great deals on air flights:
Use these as you begin to explore and see how much it costs to travel to many different locations, you can easily play around with these 3 tools.
You can see how much it cost to get from the US to London, Japan, or even to parts of Africa. You will be surprised how expensive some places are and how cheap you can get to others. Maybe you have a couple of bucket list destinations that you can begin to explore.
Trust me, you can find cheap flights to anywhere. You just have to watch trends and use the tricks I’m going to teach you.
How to use these tools to find cheap flight
There are many great features that I love about all 3 of these flight finders. I will teach you two of the easiest tips to start looking for cheap deals, and a couple of others to help you find the deal that you might not even be looking for.
Start by entering your home airport. Then add your destination.
**Pro-tip~ Always select “All airports” if you are traveling to a larger city like New York or London, you actually have a choice of 3 airports that you could fly in to. Skyscanner, Hopper, and Google Flights will search all 3 at once.
For example, New York has (JFK – John F Kennedy Int., EWR- Newark Liberty Int., & LGA – LaGuardia Airport) London has 4 (LHR- Heathrow Airport, LQW – Gatwick Airport, STN- London Stansted Airport, LTN – London Luton Airport).
By just flying into one of the other airports you could save hundreds of dollars on your flights. This will definitely help you find cheap flights internationally because most major cities have more than one airport.
Once you have the destination picked. Then select some dates. This is the 1st of my favorite features. The calendar shows you the cheapest month and times of each month to fly!
If you are flexible on your travel dates this is where you can save lots of money. Typically, during the summer months flights are more expensive. Take a look at off-season travel for the cheapest flights.
You will be surprised how much you will be able to save when using the calendar feature in Skyscanner, Hopper, and google flights. Just by looking at the calendar can quickly see what days are cheaper to get a flight.
This is the best way to find flights when dates are flexible. You can save tons of money this way!
The third step to finding cheap flights
The next favorite feature is the “Watch it” feature. Once you selected the destination and date, you can add this to a watch list. Skyscanner, Hopper, and Google Flights will monitor your flight for cheaper options or if it starts to go up.
You can set different alerts to track this flight route. Now you don’t have to constantly be watching. Let the apps work for you while you sleep and will alert you if the price goes up or down.
Do airlines Jack Up Prices?
It’s been rumored that airlines will increase a flight ticket price the more you search for it on the same device. I am sure you have seen the price of your ticket increase from your first search to maybe checking again the next day. You might even expect the price to increase slightly as the date of the trip approaches.
Maybe you believe that airlines are increasing the price of your ticket or maybe you just want to get the best deal, either way here are some tips on how to find cheap flights anywhere.
If you do believe that airlines are purposely raising prices, you are not alone. There are many people who do believe that airlines are jacking up ticket prices based on your behavior and searches, take a look at some of their proof.
The truth about how airlines raise prices
Airlines are a billion-dollar industry and they have invested tons of money into technology. From what I understand, airlines apply revenue management formulas or algorithms to allow ticket prices to change dramatically.
Let’s say you are looking to fly from Los Angeles, California to Honolulu, Hawaii on a certain date. There might be 10 other people looking at the same dates. Then, maybe that number suddenly jumps to 20 people.
When the number of people who are interested in the same flight increases, the airline will see there is a higher demand for that route and start to increase the price. This is all done automatically through the airlines’ algorithms.
Still curious about airline pricing?
If you are curious about more on this; Time magazine has an article The Truth About Whether Airlines Jack Up Prices If You Keep Searching the Same Flight.
What you can do to still get the cheapest flights
My personal preference is to shop around. I usually start with Google Flights, Hopper, or Skyscanner.
Then I will go directly to the airline website to check the price. If I feel like the airline is following my cookies and increasing my price, I will use the Incognito window option.
This is the best way to make sure the airlines are not following your cookies and raising their prices.
How to use Google incognito for finding cheap flights anywhere
Click on Chrome Settings. It is on the top right side with the 3 bubbles.
Next, click on the new incognito window.
Your browser will turn black and chrome will show you that you are now in incognito mode.
Start your search for your airline tickets like you normally would.
Now the airlines can not tell that you have searched for the same flights before. They cannot follow your cookies or search history.
Another Myth about airline prices
There are some other Myths about airline prices. Such as; if you were to fly out on a Tuesday or Wednesday it is cheaper. This might have some truth, but really it is more of a supply and demand issue.
If you look at flights to Las Vegas. You will notice flights are more expensive on Friday and Saturday, but typically cheaper on Sunday. This is because people want to be there on the weekend. More people are traveling there closer to the weekend, so the airlines can charge more.
So when is the best time to book a flight? It depends where you are traveling to and what the demand for that destination is. So always use the calendar feature that I showed you above.
#1 tip I can offer to find the best ticket price.
Be Flexible on your dates and times!
If you have always dreamed about going to Paris to see the Eiffel Tower or have a crepe and stroll along the River Seine. Be flexible about when you go!
But maybe you’ve felt that it is just a dream and too expensive for you. Guess what it’s not! I’ve shown you above that you can get to Europe for $358. Trust me! You can find cheap flights anywhere in the world.
Remember airlines work their prices based on supply and demand. If you are always looking to fly to Europe in June – August, you probably are not going to get a great deal.
Why I love traveling during the offseason
I have visited Paris in July. It is hot and crowded with tourists from all over the world, elbowing their way to get the perfect Instagram shot. Then, many places don’t have air conditioning, so it feels really hot!
I’ve also traveled to Paris in early spring and the weather was lovely. It was cool but not hot. I needed a jacket during the day and coat at night, but it wasn’t overcrowded and there was more of a peaceful romantic feel to it. Almost like what I had imagined as a young girl.
This can be said for almost any place. Avoid peak travel seasons. Some of the most expensive times are around holidays such as Thanksgiving and the 4th of July in the US, Christmas, New Year’s Eve, and August in Europe.
Use the flight calendars to save money
Next is the time of day you pick to fly out. No one wants to fly out at 5:00 am or catch the red-eye at 12:30 am, but just by picking one of those times prices can be cheaper.
Fewer people want to fly at those times. Now traveling with kids this can pose a challenge. Do you want to wake them up super early or have them stay awake to catch the red-eye flight to save some money?
Decide what time is best for you
Even though timing can save you money, you need to decide if it is worth the savings.
For our family, it depends on how much is being saved, but for a family of 4 or 5 this can add up. Even a saving of just $30 per ticket will be over $100 for the entire family.
Use the calendar trick I taught you above. One day can mean the difference in hundreds of dollars in savings. Your time is valuable but so is your money. We have been able to actually extend our trip by one extra day but actually save money because the next day was that much cheaper.
#2 Tip – When’s the best time to book?
Travelers are often faced with a booking dilemma—to book early or to wait until the last minute. When will you get the best deal?
Best day to book and the Best day to fly:
If you start to take a look at the calendars that I have shown you on Skyscanner, Hopper, or Google flights you will most likely notice that Sundays are usually the most expensive days to fly, but what day of the week should you book?
For domestic travelers flying in economy class air travel booking 25 days out or more often result in cheaper airfare.
For international travelers flying in Economy class, try to book your flight on Sunday and avoid booking on Fridays. Picking flights that depart on Thursday or Friday tend to be slightly cheaper.
Looking for a premium seat or to upgrade to a premium seat?
The best day to book your premium seat on Saturday or Sunday. Also, make sure your departure is on Saturday or Sunday.
When purchasing airline tickets, weekends are when travelers have historically paid the lowest domestic and international prices for tickets.
This is because corporate and business travel agents are not booking tickets on the weekends.
This allows time for the leisure traveler to take advantage of booking and flying on the weekends. Remember it’s all a supply and demand game. If fewer people are looking at the same flight, you will pay less.
If you are traveling internationally here are a couple of more things you can do to try to save some money.
How to find cheap flights international: Check Partner Airlines
This is what I would consider a novice level booking hack. It takes a little skill and knowledge to understand what airline companies do code sharing. Meaning they can sell the same routes. This works best with international routes.
**Novice-Tip~ Look on partner airlines for the same flight. Sometimes partner airlines will offer the same route but at a lower rate. You will need to know some of the partner airlines to make this work.
Most airlines have developed alliances or teams. The three major airline alliances are Sky Team Alliance 19 members, Star Alliance, and One World Europe Delta partners with Air France and KLM.
Examples of airline partners
United’s partners are Lufthansa. American Airlines partners with British airways. For South America: Delta partners with AeroMexico, GOL to Brazil, & LTAM
For Asia: Delta Korean Air, China Eastern, and Vietnam Airlines. United: Singapore Air, Thai Airways, ANA. American Airlines: Japan Air Lines, Malaysia air.
This has worked for us multiple times using KLM when traveling through Europe.
Use a VPN and Pay in local currency
**Expert Level booking hack ~Change your location and currency. You can change your IP address by using a VPN. This will tell the airline’s website that you are in the local country.
If you have a VPN, you can set your location to your destination location and pick the local currency.
By using a VPN, your location can be changed and prices will be shown in the local currency.
But even without a VPN, you can always go to the website settings and change to the local currency. Check the current exchange rate of the currency as you begin to look for tickets to make sure the airlines’ prices are correct.
I use Express VPN and I love it. Since we are currently living out of the United States, I use our VPN every day.
Make sure your credit card does NOT have foreign transaction fees.
Make sure that you use a card that doesn’t charge a foreign transaction fee. If you are not sure login to your credit card or call to double-check. Most foreign transaction fees are between 2-3% of your total.
How to book in local currency to save money
You don’t even have to pick the destination country as your location. You could pick any country really. If you are familiar with the currency it will help you just understand the cost.
For example; if you were to pick your location as Bali (Indonesia) the current exchange rate for the USD is 14,500 Ruphia to $1 USD. When you see your airline ticket for 10,150,000 Ruphia you are a bit sticker shocked. But if this were a flight from LA to Bali, it would actually be a great price of around $700 USD.
Sometimes paying in the local currency of your destination can save you big money! It’s worth the 5 minutes that it will take you to check the price difference.
Bonus tip~ When to Book your flight to Thailand:
For most international travel, Sunday is the best day to book your flight. However, this is because most corporate and business travelers and agents are off, so the demand is really for holiday and leisure travelers.
Except for when booking to Thailand!
The best time to book your flight to Bangkok, Thailand is actually Saturday. So make sure to set some time aside on your Saturday to book your flight to Thailand.
The best day to start your journey to Thailand is on Thursday. So book your tickets to FLY on a Thursday.
The most expensive to start your journey or to fly out is on Sunday. This is according to Expedia’s annual travel report.
Wrap Up On How To Find Cheap Flights Anywhere and Book It!
Following these simple booking tips can help to save you a little on your flights and give you some more spending cash for your vacation.
Use the calendar features on the websites, do your research, and book awesome deals as soon as you see them!