illustration by Allison Berg

Travel Tips

How to Fly on the Cheap

There are many strategies to find the lowest airfare for your next trip. But what actually works? We found these tips from seasoned travelers and came up with a few of our own to help you get where you need to go and save some spending money so you can do you.

Identify the best times to visit your destination. Consider traveling during the off-season or “shoulder seasons.” The weather can be similar to high-season temps, and you can avoid the crowds and keep some money in your wallet.

Search online fares for one traveler, even if you’re traveling with a group. Tickets are categorized in many fare classes and price points with varying availability. If you’re traveling with a group, you might be limiting your options if you search for multiple seats at once.

Be flexible with your itinerary. This can help get you the best deal, so look at all your options.

  • Is there a cheapest day of the week to fly? Yes, there are often more seats available on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Saturday flights. Consider booking at least one leg of your flight on these days.
  • Research a date range, instead of pinpointing one specific day, to find a fare and itinerary that are the best for you.
  • Investigate all the airport options near your destination.
  • Connecting flights can be less expensive, so you may save if you’re willing to include stopovers on the way to your final destination.
  • You may also find an overall better price by flying out on one airline and flying home on another.

Compare prices.

  • Flight deal websites (aka Online Travel Agencies or OTAs) like Orbitz, Kayak, and Google Flights are good resources for comparing prices. Google Flights has some unique features that simplify the search process, such as a map that shows destination price points and a “Best flights” box that cross-references prices and itineraries and displays the best deal in green. There’s also a feature that can track an itinerary, update you on pricing changes, and ping you when it’s a good time to buy.
  • Investigate directly with the airlines. Booking directly could open up different deals, avoid OTA fees, and offer more leverage if changes to your itinerary arise.
  • Sign up for updates from the airlines you love—those will be surefire notifications on any cheap tickets and sales they might be promoting week to week.

Adding up travel expenses can be daunting, but deals and savings are out there! Planning ahead is your best bet to finding them.

One Comment

D'Artagnan

I used the Hopper app on my phone. If you have a destination and dates in mind, you can plug it in to the app and it will watch the price for you advising when is a good time to buy. It worked relatively well and I was able to get a round-trip to Bucharest for under $700. I went ahead and purchased because I was right around 21-days from my first travel date and often-times, deals are better if it’s 21-days or more. To my surprise, the price actually dropped by about $90 the week after I purchased, and sadly, Turkish Airlines doesn’t do any form of refunds. That’s probably a one-off situation because if I’d waited with anticipation that the price will go down, it could have gone up tremendously and I would have missed it altogether. Overall, Hopper was very useful in this scenario.

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