Airfare is the most expensive part of travel and while hotels, food and activities can be customized to be as expensive as we make it, saving on airfare can be tricky. Finding a cheap flight can mark the difference between dreaming about your next adventure and boarding the plane; so when it comes to saving on airfare these four steps will help you save BIG.
Step 1. Clearing your cookies & going incognito
Many travel bloggers swear by this trick of clearing your browser cookies and opening an incognito window before searching for flights. Search engines tend to store your search information so that the flight to Marrakech you are looking at today might prove more expensive tomorrow. Before you begin searching for flights, clear your browser cookies and open a private window to fool the search engines into showing you lower prices.
Step 2. Saving on airfare by picking the right search engines
When starting my flight search, I begin by using search engines like Skyscanner, Momondo and Google ITA Software that will pull up smaller, budget airlines at lower price points than Expedia or Orbitz will. Compare prices across these three search engines to get an idea of the target price point for the flight you are looking at. The combination of comparing prices on Skyscanner, Momondo and Google ITA and then double checking prices on direct airline sites will leave you with an idea of what your flight should cost you, which will undoubtedly prove cheaper than purchasing the first ticket you spot on Expedia.
Step 3. Knowing the best days to travel
The results are in and the cheapest days to fly are Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays (with Sundays proving the most expensive day to fly). When figuring out when to travel, I like to use Hopper, which pulls up a color-coded calendar for affordable vs. expensive days to travel. It is also worth flying during “off-peak” seasons to take advantage of affordable travel. The secret to affordable airfare is to fly when no one else is. Red-eye flights? Mid-week flights? Saturday departures? If the flight is at an off-time than you’re more likely to snag a cheap ticket. Being flexible is key.
Step 4. Booking your flight at the right time
Knowing when to book your flight is just as important as learning the cheapest days to travel. The consensus is that booking a flight 6-8 weeks before a trip is when flight prices will be at their cheapest. I like to use Hopper to help me determine the best time to buy a plane ticket. The Hopper app has a built-in prediction tool that alerts you to the best time to book your flight. When planning a trip, I put in my trip dates and destination in Hopper and just wait for the notification to buy my flight.
A combination of knowing how to search, when to fly and when to book your flight will shave dollars off your plane tickets and help make those bucket list trips and dream vacations that much more attainable. Whenever I search for flights, I like to lean on these four steps to save on airfare. If you happen to come across an amazing deal or airline flash sale, throw these steps out the window and purchase your flight right away! At the end of the day, saving on airfare is a process that differs from traveler to traveler. Travel hacking is all about bringing the world to your doorstep and proving that globetrotting is something that can be enjoyed now.
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