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As a broke university student, budgetting is a big part of my life and I love searching budget tips and looking for cheap(er) products (like tickets)! Unfortunately, the passion to travel isn’t good for my savings account. However, it won’t stop be from travelling the world so I’ve gathered some tips to find cheap flights to save money!
Fly at the right time
This may be an obvious one, but try to avoid the peak times. Travelling and flying is more expensive in the summer season (especially during summer break: June, July and August), Christmas and other holidays like Easter and Spring Break. The prices in the other months are way cheaper: especially if you fly on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and sometimes Saturdays. The overnight flights are most of the time cheaper than the day-flights.
Book at the right time
I learned a thing or two during my study about booking and about the best time to book a holiday and they told me that 6 weeks in advance is the perfect time to book your flight. I would book around 6 – 8 weeks before departure. The comparison site Skyscanner is very handy because they have a “price alarm” so you’ll know when your flight becomes more expensive or has dropped in price. They will sent you an email every morning with the difference in price compared to the previous day. This way, it’s so easy to know when you’re flight is the cheapest. If you use Skyscanner with the time table of 6 – 8 weeks I’m pretty sure you’ll get the best price option!
Choose a connecting flight
Connecting flights are overall less expensive than a direct flight. I have two tips for booking a connecting flight. The first one is to book the two (or more) flights separately if you fly with two different airlines. They’ll charge you more if you book them together, not sure why. The second tip is to book all the flights together if you fly with the same airline or the same airline alliance: this saves you money. Skyteam is a big airline alliance, with KLM and Air France as example. I would recommend (before booking) to find out if they are joined in an airline alliance and then decide to book separately or all together!
Around the world tickets
If you’re planning on doing a world trip: I would advise to look into buying an ‘around the world’ ticket. It has a series of flights booked by one airline company. You’ll plan the trip ahead with the route and times of departure and arrival. It will limit your freedom a little bit, because you are stuck with a sort of time schedule. The world ticket is valid for one year: for example if you depart at July 8th of 2018, you’ll last option to return home is at July 7th of 2019. The tickets are always travelling in a certain direction around the world (if that makes sense). So in advance you have to decide whether you want to travel around the world in the east direction or in the west direction. I’ll post a more in-depth blogpost about these “around the world” tickets in a few weeks! However, I hope this will help you to get started.
Search for airline errors or sale fares
Airlines make mistakes once in a while when posting their fares, which result in discounted flights. I’m not the best at finding these mistakes so I have never been able to take advantage of a mistake in the fare. However, I’ve found two sites (after using Google) that are able to help you find these fares and hopefully save you a lot of money! These sites are Airfare Watchdog and Secret Flying. Skyscanner might recognize these mistaken fares as well, but I’m not sure!
Book a flight with a layover
Instead of booking a direct flight and a connecting flight: a flight with a layover is mostly less expensive as well! The connecting flight may be cheaper the next day, so it’s worth it to look into booking your connecting flight a day later or a few hours ahead. As a bonus, you’ll be able to explore the city of your layover! I know that Singapore has a city tour for the travellers with a 5+ hour layover.
Search for the cheapest place to fly
Sometimes it’s cheaper to fly from another airport in your country or even from another country. For example, I always fly from Amsterdam (Schiphol) but the airport in Eindhoven may be cheaper or the airport in Brussels or Dusseldorf may be cheaper! It’s a little drive, but I believe it’s worth it, if it saves you money.
Buy group tickets
If you travel with a (big) group, it’s easier and sometimes cheaper to book a group ticket. The more people you’ll travel within the group ticket, the less expensive it’ll be! It won’t save a ton of money, but every little bit helps. The discount per person is different per airport so just search for the benefits at your airport!
Use the comparison sites
I’ve mentioned this before, but it’s worth mentioning again: use the comparison sites. It’s so easy to use and it gives you a clear overview of all the different prices. Once again, Skyscanner is the best option for me, and they show alternative airports as well. So, I mentioned above about the cheapest place to fly, they’ll be able to locate the cheapest airport near you!
Search for local and small airlines
Some local airlines aren’t listed in any of the comparison sites or other sites, but it’s worth it to find these small airlines. I’ve found two airlines after using Google: LADE Air is a small airline in Argentine which is run by the military and Hawk Air is a small airline company in Western Canada. Google to see if small and local airlines exist at your destination. It’ll save you a lot of money! Be sure to double check the conditions, for example about the luggage.
Book in a different currency
As we all know, the exchange rate changes every day so it may be less expensive to buy your ticket in another currency, for example in the local currency of your destination. If may even be a good idea to buy your tickets at the website of a different country (like .fr or .nl). One thing to look into are the additional costs of your credit card company, because these can get quite high.
Wait 24 hours (or more) before you book
If you have found the perfect flight, wait like 24 hours before you book to see if there are any changes in prices during the day (like at specific hours). The Skyscanner alert is perfect, but sometimes you may not have enough time to wait that long.
It’s pretty obvious, but if you’re flexible in your travel schedule: you will be able to find the cheaper flights. I mentioned the cheaper days before (Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays) so it’s naturally better to fly at these days instead of a Sunday, which is more likely to be more expensive.
Some airlines offer a frequent flyer membership, like KLM, in which you save up points every time you fly. After a while, like at a certain amount of points, you’ll be able to get a discount or any other benefits. This will definitely be worth it if you are a frequent flyer!
Some say this actually works, and some say that it’s absolutely bullshit. I don’t know, I haven’t tried it yet but it’s worth a try, right? It may be beneficial to google your flights in incognito mode because your laptop won’t save any cookies. Some say that the fares are actually higher after visiting the site before, because they know (cookies) that you have visited the site before. Now, I don’t know if that is true, but I do know that basically every site saves information about your visit. You can always delete your cookies after visiting a sites, which will give you the same results I believe.
These were my best tips to save money while booking your flight! Will you use these tips next time when you’re booking a flight? I will definitely use these tips!