Tips to Finding the Best Airfare Deals -Here is the ultimate guide that covers everything you need to know for how to find cheap flights.
Book Early for Cheap Flights
Plane tickets will generally jump in price during the final three weeks before departure. Booking as soon as possible is one of the easiest ways to ensure you will get the lowest price. You should be able to secure the best rates if you book within three months to 30 days from departure. Also, if you use a travel search engine like Google Flights or Kayak, they have a price predictor algorithm that analyzes price trends to help predict if ticket prices will increase, decrease or stay the same. It’s not 100% accurate, but they are usually pretty good as they crunch the numbers on thousands of different routes.
Besides price, another reason to book early is to ensure you get the seat you want. If you wait too long to book a desirable seat, you will end up paying extra money for a “premium” seat.
Set Price Alerts
By looking for flights early, you will be able to pay less in airfare. If you’re not ready to buy a ticket, you can set a price alert that will notify you when a ticket price increases or decreases. Ticket prices can fluctuate on a daily basis, even a small drop can result in a large savings if you need to buy a ticket for each member of your family. Google Flights will even show you the different flight trends in a graph format.
Another way to save on airfare is by having flexible travel plans. Two of the easiest ways to find cheap flights is to fly mid-week or on the actual holiday (i.e. Thanksgiving Day or Christmas Day) since fewer people travel on these days. You might also consider flying to a different airport, for example, flying into Tampa instead of Orlando can save you $30 a ticket. The alternate airport or travel dates might not be an option, but, flexibility is one of the easiest ways to lower your airfare costs. So start by searching for flights first finding the cheapest flights, then firm up your travel dates.
Book a Connecting Flight
If you aren’t in a hurry to get to your final destination, booking a connecting flight can be cheaper than a non-stop flight. The search engines will let you filter flight itineraries by non-stop, 1 stop, and 2+ stops. The more the stops, the lower the airfare. Even flying mixed carriers might be able to save you some cash as well.
Consider Discount Airlines
While a major airline can get you just about anywhere, the cost can also be notably more. These airlines can help you save money on domestic and international flights:
Use More Than One Travel Portal
Before you book directly from the carrier, you should also compare prices with at least one additional booking site. Sometimes, the better deal can be found from a third-party site. There are many different ones to choose from, but, three of the best are Momondo, Google Flights, and Priceline.
Momondo is probably the most comprehensive portal as it analyzes the prices of over 30 travel portals and carrier websites. They also have excellent research tools which make it easy to find cheap routes. And, they list the prices of Southwest Airlines flight which most do not.
Travel At The Right Time
Getting a good deal on flights means traveling at the right time. It’s less about when you buy your flights and more about what day you actually fly on. You’ll want to fly on the cheapest days to fly.
- Flying on off-peak days like Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays is almost always cheaper. Avoid busy travel days that include Sundays, Mondays, and Fridays.
- May through June and August through September offer better prices then during the busy times of the year, including summer and holidays like Christmas.
- Thanksgiving is a great time to travel internationally at low prices.
- Always book at least 30-45 days in advance whenever possible, and even farther in advance for international flights.
Browse Airline Specials
If you’re going to wait until the final weeks to book, you might be able to find some last-minute deals directly from the carrier. This can be hit or miss as it depends on how badly the carrier wants to sell any remaining seats. Or, if they recently launched a new route and are trying to generate interest. The good part is that these specials don’t always require you to fly a redeye flight just to save a few bucks!
Use an Airline Credit Card to Avoid Baggage Fees
If you need to check a bag, most airline rewards cards will let you waive the baggage fees for at least one traveling companion. The Delta Amex credit cards will let you check up to nine bags for free. The only two stipulations are you must book a flight directly with the carrier and use that credit card to pay for the flight.
Use Award Miles
If you would rather spend miles than cash, or maybe a combination of the two, miles can be most valuable when redeemed for expensive cash flights. There are many different award flight options as you can pool your points from a co-branded airline miles credit card like one of the Southwest credit cards with the points you earn from the Chase Sapphire Preferred. Here are the best Credit Cards for Airline Travel:
- Chase Sapphire Premium Card
- The Platinum Card from American Express
- Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
- Alaska Airlines Visa Signature Credit Card
GREAT program to manage all your loyalty program balances in one place: your Points Loyalty Wallet. Add programs to your wallet by entering your account information, and they’ll show you all of your balances at a glance, updated in real time. Currently, you can track over 100 programs. You can redeem your loyalty points and miles for more than just travel! Use your wallet to reward yourself with shopping, dining and entertainment gift cards from retailers like Amazon.com, Best Buy, iTunes, Macy’s, Starbucks, Cineplex, AMC, Target and many more. Build up your favorite balances faster by using your wallet to move points and miles between your loyalty programs. There’s no fee to exchange points or miles between your programs. This is a great way to get the points you need for airline and hotel miles. Join Points.com here.
I love the tips you’ve provided here! I rarely travel, but when I do it’s to go to the Caribbean to visit my mom. I’ll be sure to come back to this site to see if I can get some great deals. Great site!
Great Dawn, thanks for stopping by beach travel destinations.
I love the clarity and layout of your website. There are lots of important information that will be useful to me and family on our next vacation. Congratulations on a job well done.
Thank you so much Josh. Please let me know if I can help with any of your upcoming travel plans 🙂
Hi. This is a great education and I’m not the greatest of a traveler, to be honest. after looking into your site this has definitely given me the bug so I will bear all this in mind the best time of flying and its costs, this is invaluable information and thanks for highlighting this
It is definitely invaluable information for sure! I am glad it is helful for you. Thank you for visiting BeachTravelDestinations.com.
That’s great information. There were lots of tips I had never thought of before, like clearing the cookies to search again. Definitely worth using these to get the best airfare price I can. I have bookmarked your site and will come back to these tips when I am ready for my next trip. Thank you!
You are welcome Jennifer and these tips really do work! You can save money on flight by, well first of all being a little flexible. Sometimes that is just not in the plan when you have specific dates, but it is the best way to get your lowest airfare. Thanks for reading my tips on airfare.
I’ll be flying a lot within the next few years, and because I’m a complete newbie to flying, these tips really helped me a lot. In fact I had no idea that different places offer different deals. I thought everything was the same price! Also, the tip about buying one ticket at a time is handy. Thanks a lot.
You are welcome Brandon. I am glad you found the airfare guide helpful. Thanks for visiting BeachTravelDestinations.com
Hi Leahrae, This is a great post on airfare! I really did not know about these different methods of saving money when buying an airline ticket. Especially like deleting the cookies when checking flight prices again. I am so glad I found this information! I can’t wait to give it a try when I purchase my next airline ticket. Thank you!
I am glad you found this information useful. I think everybody deserves to get the lowest airfare they can. With these methods, you are sure to find the best price. Thank you for taking the time to comment.
Travel is my passion and finding ways to save on airfare, the biggest expense is always a welcome find!
I will refer back to this before I buy my next tickets.
Ok Shannon 🙂 My airfare tips will help you save money on the tickets. I am glad you found this information useful. Thanks for visiting BeachTravelDestinations.com
Great article Leahrae, always producing top quality information! I am not located in the US unfortunately but I’m sure it’d work in similar ways, in terms of what days it’d be cheaper to purchase flight tickets. Might need to try out the websites you recommended for my next trip! Thank you!
Yes, Jeremy the airfare tips work for anywhere you are located. All the airlines work the same 🙂 You will be able to save some money on airfare by using my tips and websites 🙂 Thanks for visiting BeachTravelDestinations.com!
Hi, Leahrae! As your website has so many great articles written by you on travel destination, I thought it awesome that with this article it is devoted to providing tips on airfare.
With the continued growth of the Internet, a person if motivated would be able to conduct extensive research online to find the best fares for that trip. It’s no longer the year 1990 when, if you could not get a deal from that one travel agent who had set up a trip for you, the only other recourse was to call the airlines and be trapped into paying whatever fare that they chose to charge with you being at their mercy.
There really are a lot of online sites that specialize in vacation travel, including working out deals regarding airfare. A person would need to study 4 or 5, (possibly more) different sites to find the best deal.
I remember my last trip to Hawaii back in 2012, I actually was provided the ability to pay specific fares based on where I would make that one connection coming from North Carolina out to the west coast which I did out in San Francisco. There is no such thing as a direct, non-stop NC to Honolulu flight on any airline. Even having the ability to study the different flight times, I actually picked one that involved a certain sized jumbo jet, (Boeing 777) that I had never flown in previously in my life on that second leg out to Honolulu. The price was lower on that flight, even though it meant a longer layover, (a few hours) in SF.
This would not have been possible 20 or so years ago!
Your other important point that you made, Leahrae – airfare being different according to the particular time of week that a person would travel is also some crucial advice. Airfare is usually higher on the weekends. I also got a lower fare on my roundtrip to Hawaii by choosing to fly both ways on a weekday, instead of a weekend.
One other thing: The traveler should ensure that he/she books the flight as early as possible. With my vacation experiences what I’ve learned is that the later you book a flight, the more $$$ it would cost you!
Thank you so much Jeff for taking the time to leave your wonderful comments! I agree with everything you say 🙂 It is definitely worth it to shop different dates and times. Airfare does not have a “set” price for sure. Thank you so much for visiting BeachTravelDestinations.com.
Thanks for your really helpful airfare tips! Just booked two short holiday tickets for the cheapest price I have seen! Really helpful website! Thanks a lot 😉
You are very welcome, and I am glad you got a great deal by following my helpful airfare tips 🙂
I think you really like traveling. Me too. Your post on airfare is really informative. A lot of this information I did not know before. I will look forward to putting it good use when I purchase my ticket. Looking forward to a cheaper ticket. Thanks!
Yes, I do like traveling 🙂 You will find that you can get lower airfare by following my tips, guaranteed. Just play around with the dates and follow the other tips ! Thanks for reading tips about airfare on BeachTravelDestinations.com.
Great information to have. I especially liked the section on buying one ticket at a time and wish I had known that before purchasing an expensive ticket for the Christmas holiday.
Hi Tanya, at least you know now and for your next airfare purchase, you will be able to get a good deal. Glad I could share this airfare information with you!
Oh now this is brilliant! What fantastic tips for getting the best travel deals. I will definitely be clearing my cookies and cache before I book our next trip away. Learnt something new today. Hurrah! I do love money saving tips like these. Thank you x
I am telling you that it works 🙂 I am glad you now know how to get your airfare at a little better of a rate. Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment Lace!
Thanks you so much 🙂 I found a LOT of great tips for flying hours, days….times…I was ready to book my ticket to living in Romania and I really found a good one deal just by following your advice! I booked for a Saturday and to come back on a Tuesday 🙂 great:)
You have a great site here and I am sure a lot of people will find it very informative and helpful.
So, thanks again, for helping me find a cheap ticket (180 euro go-and- back) and I will visit your site soon for more information:)
Hi Cristina, I am glad the information was helpful to you in finding a great rate on an airline ticket! That is what I want, is for people to find some great deals and be able to travel more. Thanks for visiting BeachTravelDestinations.com and reading all about how to save on airefare.
Nice! I’ve always wondered when is a good time to buy air tickets. Great information on your post! Great site by the way, tons of great information!
Thanks Mimie! Glad you found this information and thank you for visiting BeachTravelDestinations.com!