A travel plan can quickly become expensive due to high airfares. Airfare represents one of the biggest parts of a journey’s cost. Therefore, finding the cheapest flight is just as important as discovering the right destination. Fortunately, every single day, different airlines have hundreds of super deals – from special promotions to mistakenly published fares to cutting rates to compete with other airlines. With a little research and know-how, you can find cheap fares. Here are 5 tips to getting a better deal on airfare:
Use your points to fly for free
The cheapest way you can fly is free. Take the time to sign up and join a travel rewards credit card and hit the minimum spend to earn major point bonuses, which is often enough for a free flight. You can also sign up for an airline rewards card and earn points with a specific airline, or a more general rewards card that let you redeem your points across a selection of airlines.
Look into budget airlines
A few years back, if you needed to fly inter-continents, you would mostly be stuck with regular expensive airlines. Fortunately, this is no longer the case. Today, budget airlines service many long-distance itineraries, making it possible for you to fly locally and internationally affordably. Flying on budget airlines is a great alternative to flying “majors” because most budget airlines offer significantly cheaper flight tickets than their full-service counterparts.
However, you should be willing to give up some luxuries like free food or drinks on board, and less leg room. Also, make sure to watch out for fees; which is how budget airlines make money. Some budget airlines charge for printing your boarding pass,
checked bags, carry-ons, using a credit card, among other things they can get away with. Add up the cost of the air ticket and fees to ensure you are getting a good deal than flying on a larger carrier.
Book connecting flights yourself
If you are flying somewhere that involves a transfer, consider booking these two legs of flight separately and on your own. You can do this by adding a third destination on your trip. Just make sure not to book flights with tight layovers such as those that are a few hours apart.
This is highly recommended for those who are willing to create an additional destination of a few days or more before catching the next flight. Take the time to do your own research on budget airlines unique to the country you are flying out off to where you are headed to.
Book up to seven weeks in advance
According to a 2017 report compiled by the Airlines Reporting Corporation, passengers who pay 7 weeks in advance pay the lowest prices, up to 10% lower than the average fare. This works well, especially during peak travel periods where making reservations late in the game can cost you an arm and a leg. Most airline tickets typically go up in the last two weeks before flying. If you are travelling abroad, try to book your flight even earlier – three to six months in advance - for the best deals.
Do your research
No matter how good an airfare deal sounds, you should never book the first fare you see. Always start your search by checking out major online travel providers to know how much they charge to your destination. This will help give you a preliminary idea of the going rate and the restrictions that apply.
Once you know how much a flight should cost, you will be in a better position to know when you are getting a good deal, when you are getting ripped off and when you are getting an absolute steal. While this is not a quick fix, it is an effective one. Also, check to see if the airlines are running any sales or promotions to your preferred destination.
Wherever you travel to, finding a cheap flight is about being flexible and smart. Follow these 5 tips to find a great deal, as well as save yourself time, stress and avoid being the person that paid the most for a ticket.