Looking to find the cheapest flight?
Today, we fly global! More and more people travel and everyone wants to find the cheapest flight, save as much money as possible, mostly because, a flight fare usually represents the biggest chunk of the travel expense. The days when flight tickets were very cheap are basically over; the increase and control of oil prices, high airport taxes and increase in security measures are all factors in the ticket pricing.
Want to find the cheapest flight? Have a hunch that you’ll be taking a vacation? Start searching now!
Decide on the location and start searching in advance.
When you travel for leisure, you need to plan. If you decided on your departure always do a quick search right away to see where the value of your flight stands at and how this fluctuates. You should always have a target price (the price YOU are willing to pay, the price that would make you a happy traveler). If you find that price, and it seems cheap to you, it probably is, and you should book the flight right away.
Flight prices reflect the travel season
High season : during the summer (prices tend to increase dramatically after June 15th, and keep increasing until late August). WHY? It’s the time when the majority of people are taking vacation days off. The winter holidays (Christmas and New Year’s) are also part of the high season, as well as the Spring Break. During these times airlines boost their prices up knowing people do not have a choice sometimes.
Low season : if you travel within this time period you may be very happy with your flight purchase. The low period usually goes from mid-January to end-May and from end-September to beginning of December. But keep in mind other statutory holidays such as Thank Giving’s, prices will jump again, so if you want to travel then, make sure you purchase your tickets in advance.
Flight prices are also affected by the day of the week
It is usually cheaper to travel during the middle of the week (just because less people travel then): Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday and more expensive (up to a couple hundred dollars, just because people tend to travel more) on Mondays, Fridays and the weekend.
Search by Flexible dates
Try to be Flexible with Your Travel Dates
Now that you are familiar with prices changing with seasons or the different days of the week, you can use search engines and make sure you chose the option (+/-3 days). It will show you the flight prices on a 7 by 7 matrix, and you can chose the cheapest one if you are flexible. You can also choose a full flexible month. This could save you a great deal!
Try to be Flexible with Airports
When you do your search, make sure to check the option:search for nearby airports. Most search engines will also offer the option to specify the search within a certain distance. And if you live close to the border of another country and really want to go one step further, check the airport across the border (you can sometimes get there by a cheap bus or your buddy could drive you).
As soon as you’ve locked down on some dates, set up alerts!
Have your mind set on a flight? Set-up an alert! Many travel websites offer this option. I prefer kayak.com or tripadvisor.com/flights. For example, for kayak.com you need to sign-up to become a member, it’s very fast, and then you canset-up alerts. With Kayak you have more choice, you can choose a price alert for exact dates or flexible dates, and you can receive the schedule daily or weekly. You might want to have it set up for daily, just to make sure you won’t miss a great price, because those go by very fast, and are usually unadvertised. Sometimes airlines are trying to fill up the empty seats left fast. Kayak also give you access to fare charts and you can get an idea of how the price for this specific destination changes with time. This is especially useful if you are unfamiliar with you destination.
Where should I buy my flight?
There are three main places you should always check all the time :
- Aggregator sites (e.g. Kayak.com)
- Booking engines (eg. expedia.com/ca, Travelocity.com, orbitz.com)
- Airline website (keep in mind airlines that do not show themselves in search engines (Virgin Airlines, JetBlue…), for a full list of airlines, click here.
- You can also look at the arrivals page of the airport where you’re going to see what airlines fly there and then visit their site.
When should I buy my flight?
Bing’s price predictor
If you are traveling within popular destinations, bing.com/travel has a pretty great price predictor. Bing will tell whether prices are going to go up/down or are going to remain the same. You enter your regular search parameters, and it will come up with something like you see in the image at the right. For some routes, Bing won’t be able to predict. If prices are steady or going down with a high % confidence, you should definitely wait a bit.
Before booking check the airline’s website & verify some extra sites.
If you already kind of know what company you’ll be traveling with, search for coupon codes from that airline. Sometimes they offer discounts and you may be in luck (usually you have to book through their official site). Expedia.com and Cheapoair.com also offer coupon codes and promotions of their own. Recently, Groupon has started offering some very tempting travel deals through Expedia. maybe you can find an alternative destination. ie Riviera Maya instead of Cancun, so you’d basically end up at a similar destination for half price
Set a price that YOU are happy with! If you see the perfect price and the desired travel dates, GET IT!
… Or it will be gone.
If you find that price, and it seems cheap to you, it probably is, and you should book right away, otherwise the next person will get it. Good deals don’t stay for long, especially for popular destinations.
Watch out for suspiciously cheap deals from unfamiliar websites
If you found a flight that is way cheaper than all the rest, please be careful and read some reviews about it. Also, beware of sketchy looking booking sites. And if you haven’t signed up for the miles program that the airline you’re buying your flight from is offering, DO IT, miles can accumulate quite fast and you will save money later if you fly at least once a year. After you’ve purchased, make sure you’ve got a confirmation number, save that page and check that your credit card has been charged. If it hasn’t, you may not have a seat on the plane!