How to find the cheapest flight tickets – Save some serious dosh!
Posted On May 11, 2020
Do you worry that you might be paying too much for a flight ticket? Are the prices you see putting you off taking that dream holiday you’ve always wanted? Surely there must a cheaper way to get around…
Finding a cheap ticket isn’t the hardest thing, but finding one that is just about right can make all the difference. Here are a few ways on how to find the cheapest flight tickets and I’ll update these over time so you can be prepared to save more money in the future.
Use the best tools to find and book flights…
How else were you going to buy your tickets? Familiarise yourself with some of the best booking websites and you’ll be able to take advantage of their powerful tools to help you in booking cheaper tickets.
Once you’re comfortable with these you can combine search the different sites and compare prices against each other
Here are some of my favourite booking sites:
- Google Flights: One of the most in-depth browsing tool for booking flights. Google Flights offers a lot of filters suited to your travel needs and features a powerful price-calendar tool that shows you the cheapest times to take a flight as well as a map that shows the prices for various destinations around the world.
- Skyscanner: Widely used and for good reason. Skyscanner is an Online Travel Agent (OTA) that provides pricing for different agents selling the same ticket besides the initial airline. This is useful as you can compare the different prices and choose the cheapest one among the lot. As OTAs collect and list the different offers from various agents, they also tend to catch in some error fares, these are offers that, due to some mistake may have their pricing altered and may appear cheaper than they should. Which is ultimately a good thing.
- Momondo: Pretty much the same concept as Skyscanner but also a great tool to use. I encourage cross-referencing prices from these three websites to help determine the best price for a ticket.
Time your purchases right…
Probably one of the more important factors when it comes to finding well-priced tickets. There are times where I hesitate in going through with the purchase of a ticket, surely I’ve seen the price much lower than this and when I check again the next day I’m shocked to see the figures skyrocket.
Purchase tickets far in advance, at least 3 months in order to get the best deals. Or look at these other timing tips to find tickets better suited for your needs:
Tip 1: Websites like Skyscanner show the prices beneath the dates so you can decide which day would be most convenient for you. What you can also do is find the cheapest day in the cheapest month to fly out. By following the diagram below:
The same thing applies to the mobile app however you’ll be looking for the charts that show you the general flight prices on the dates so you can compare them with each other.
Tip 2: This isn’t guaranteed but it’s worth a look. Book your ticket last minute, this is to say at least hours or a few days before departure.
You might wonder; Does that not make it cost more?
Normally yes, airlines tend to bump up the price for last-minute business travelers. But here’s the thing, planes aren’t always going to be fully booked, and empty seats value at literally £0 once the flight departs and it’s better for the airline to fill those seats by trying to sell them off as cheap as possible.
Some airlines would even give these away for free on some occasions if you’re really lucky, but in all honesty this is rare nowadays as this was something that was true a while ago. Airlines used to drop prices significantly to fill empty seats, but with more business travelers booking last minute airlines try to take advantage of this.
Last minute deals do still exist and you’d do well to look out for them. That is if you’re more of a spontaneous traveler.
Make use of fare alerts…
Want to book a ticket but want to wait for a price drop? Make use of
fare alerts, many airlines and booking websites offer to send you
notifications when ticket prices for a particular flight drops to help
you decide when to book them.
There are also websites dedicated to predicting when exactly prices
fluctuate and they let you know far in advance when they expect this to happen allowing you to plan accordingly. Here are a few of my favorite websites to use for this:
- Hopper.com: This company dedicates itself to predicting flight prices up to a year in
advance with a 95% accuracy rate. This tool is available for handheld
devices for maximum convenience. They’ll send you alerts on how they
expect prices to fluctuate and when as well as for how long these prices
- Cheapair.com: A very simple tool that’s also present on many other booking sites.
Simply enter the departing city and destination, your email address and
you’ll be sent updates on when fare prices change.
- Google Flights: If you have a google account and you use Google Flights you can easily opt
to track prices where you’ll be able to receive price alerts and travel
tips for your journey.
Keep a lookout for errors…
There are instances where the price of a ticket is surprisingly cheap compared to other flights. You might wonder whether it’s too good to be true; there must be a catch, something in the small print perhaps?
If you do stumble upon these gems then you’d be wise to take advantage of them.
Airlines do their best to post fares as accurate as possible, but mistakes can sometimes happen somewhere along the line; causing prices to appear very cheap.
How cheap you may ask? There was a time where a ticket from the US to Hawaii costed as little as $10 due to a system crash that lasted a few hours.
How can you find errors for yourself?
I can talk about this more in-depth but I’ll probably post this in another article. It’s more a matter of being attentive and knowing where to look. But for the time being, I’m going to make your life a bit easier and consult you to some tools you can use:
- Jack’s Flight Club: Among my favourites, I’ve found me a return ticket to Japan once for only £400 where the standard fare is usually £800. Come on now Chuck, these people don’t play… This website has a team dedicated to finding the cheapest tickets around, they scour the internet finding huge discounts and potential errors in fares. They’ll send you an email notifying you on deals and they’ll even tell you how to book these tickets
- Scott’s Cheap Flights (US): Almost the same as JFC but mainly for US residents, they consistently make sure they send you the best deals, if the deal isn’t good enough they won’t send it. You can choose what airport to fly out from and they’ll keep you updated on all good deals that fly out from your chosen airport in a consice and informative email.
- Secret Flying: Specifically started in response to airlines making errors in their pricing; Secret Flying constantly monitors fare prices and when an abnormally cheap ticket is found it is posted on the site. This website is cited in Forbes as one of the best resources for flight and hotel deals and are a popular choice besides the above two.
Avoid peak travel months…
There are many factors that determine the price of a ticket, mainly the month in which you wish to travel would contribute to this. In general prices will fluctuate depending on events and holidays taking place as well as season changes during these periods. Some destinations have their own local holidays that may affect prices such as Chinese New Year.
Here are cheapest months to travel in:
- January through to mid-May
- September through early December
Here are the most expensive:
- Mid-July through to August (Summer time)
- December to January (Due to Christmas and New Years Eve)
Flight prices change all the time and can be a pain to track unless you utilise some useful tools. It’s always better to book as soon as you find a good deal instead of hesitating and laying it off, these prices will change and you’ll wish you had booked it sooner.
But all in all booking flights shouldn’t be such a hassle and you wouldn’t have to stress over it. It’s a fairly simple process and quite convenient in today’s age.
The more you travel and use these tools or strategies the more second nature they come to you, it’s all an experience you learn from. You’ll eventually get the hang of it and become an expert at finding cheap deals. Traveling should be affordable and the money used on the adventures and memories instead of the transport.