Nobody wants to waste money on flights, right!?
After years of extensive traveling, I’ve picked up some easy tips that have saved me hundreds of dollars on flights.
In this post, I’ll share with you all of my secrets on how I find incredible flight deals saving me tons of money!
The best part is that they’re all quick and easy!
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Quick Tips – Save Money On Flights Now
If you’ve not got much time and just want some quick tips then here’s some handy hints. I discuss these tips and many more in further detail below.
In a hurry? Here’s my top tips:
- Use comparison websites to find the best prices. My favorite is Kayak.
- Sign up to cheap flight newsletters for awesome deals – Going is great if you’re in the US (use Jack’s Flight Club if you’re in the UK).
- Check the cheapest dates to travel with the pricing tool on Kiwi.
- Include stopovers for cheaper prices.
Keep reading for more tips like these including hidden city tickets and error fares (they’ll save you lots of $$$).
1. Use Comparison Sites To Find The Best Deals
One of the best ways to save money on flights is by using flight comparison sites.
Useful Tip: Use multiple different flight comparison sites to get the best deals.
Flight comparison sites do vary and some will show cheaper flights than others. That’s why I always check several before making my decision.
Don’t just book directly with the airline, make sure you check a comparison site (or 2) as you’ll likely find the same flight much cheaper elsewhere.
For example, I searched for a flight from London to New York on Kayak and found a deal for $452 return.
I then checked on the airline’s website (British Airways) and searched for the exact same flight and was quoted $496!
Useful Tip: Make sure to include luggage in the filters to get prices that include baggage.
This is especially important if the flight comparison site brings up budget airlines as they tend to show super cheap flights (e.g. $20 from London to Barcelona) but they don’t include baggage.
You then have to pay extra costs that can be way more than the cost of the flight to take luggage with you so they don’t tend to be as cheap as they initially seem.
Top Flight Comparison Websites:
- Kayak – this one is my personal favorite as I find it generally brings up the cheapest flight deals and has a handy baggage filter so you can get more accurate prices.
- Skyscanner – another great site that often has super cheap prices and includes all major and budget airlines.
- Momondo – this one includes a handy date checker which shows which dates are cheaper for your route. Also has the baggage filter.
2. Be Flexible With Dates
Being flexible with your date of travel can drastically reduce flight prices. Even just moving your trip by one or two days could actually save you hundreds of dollars.
Of course, not everyone will have the luxury of picking the dates so if you’re not able to change the date of your trip then this tip might not be for you.
Often different days of the week or different months will have cheaper prices than others. Flying on these cheaper days/months can actually save you a lot of money.
Helpful Tip: Mid-week flights tend to be cheapest.
Generally you should avoid Mondays and Fridays as this is when business travelers tend to fly. Weekends also tend to be expensive as many people fly on the weekends.
Early morning and late evening time flights tend to be the cheapest because who wants to wake up early right!?
Use tools like Kiwi to identify the cheapest day to travel. They have a handy date checker which makes this super easy.
Below I used Kiwi to check flight prices from London to New York.
- Type in your location and approximate dates and then click the pricing table.
- This will show you the cheapest days to fly.
As you can see from the image, you could easily save $100 by moving your dates by one or two days!
It’s also worth checking when the peak season for travel is to your location as flight prices tend to be higher during this time.
For example, August is the most popular time to travel in Europe so avoid this for cheaper prices.
Helpful Tip: Travel during the off season for a really cheap price.
For example, December is the peak season for travel to Thailand. The cheapest flight I could find from London to Bangkok in December was $590.
Travelling in June (off season) will bring this cost down to $490.
3. Include Stopovers
Although direct flights are more convenient, adding a stopover to your flight could save you hundreds of dollars.
I did a few searches on Kayak for a few different locations to see the difference in price with and without a stopover.
See for yourself in the table below, adding a stopover is often much cheaper!
|New York to
|Los Angeles to
in Fort Lauderdale
In general, the longer the flight the bigger the savings when you include a stopover.
I always use Kayak to check the difference in price between direct and indirect flights.
Just put in your search and they’ll show you the cheapest price for both types of flight in their filter.
Helpful Tip: Pick a long stopover and see another city with your extra day!
A stopover of more than 5 hours usually gives you enough time to get out into the city and do some sightseeing.
Some airlines will even pay for your hotel if the stopover is overnight so this could work in your favor.
4. Consider Where You’re Flying From
The cost of a flight is also impacted by the airport that you’re flying from.
Useful Tip: In general, it tends to be cheaper to fly from a major hub airport than a smaller airport.
For example, I did a search for a flight from London Heathrow (London’s biggest airport) to Athens and was quoted $108.
For the same dates from London City Airport (a small airport in London), I was quoted $186!
Make sure you consider all the airports in your country that you’re willing to travel from and see if you can find a better deal.
I’d suggest trying the biggest airport first as they tend to have the best prices.
Many flight comparison sites allow you to select multiple departure airports when searching such as Kayak. This is useful as you can do it all in one search.
5. Consider A Package Holiday
You can often get impressive discounts by booking what is known as a ‘package holiday’.
These deals usually include your flight, accommodation and sometimes other extras like food and airport transfers.
You can sometimes even find a package deal that includes both your flights and accommodation for a cheaper price than the flight alone!
Check package holiday websites like Expedia for deals like this.
For example, I searched for a package deal to Orlando, Florida on Expedia and found an amazing package deal for $1,265 which includes flights from London and 5 nights at a top SeaWorld hotel.
Useful Tip: If you don’t want a package holiday, it’s still worth purchasing one if it’s cheaper than the flight alone and just don’t use the hotel.
6. Book Split Flight Tickets
Being creative about your route and splitting your ticket into 2 separate journeys is another great way to save money on flights.
For example, I did a few searches for tickets from London to Chiang Mai in Thailand.
A single ticket from London to Chiang Mai costs around $552.
If you instead search for tickets from London to Bangkok, the cost reduces to $303.
You can then get a flight from Bangkok to Chiang Mai for just $28 taking the total cost from London to Chiang Mai to $331 – that’s a saving of $221!
- London to Chiang Mai = $552
- London to Bangkok to Chiang Mai = $303 + $28 = $331
This tip works especially well if your destination is a non-major city.
The best locations to try for an extra stop are usually big cities with large hub airports.
Try some of the other major cities in the country and neighbouring countries to see if it’s cheaper to go there and then get a short flight (or even a train) to your final destination.
E.g. if you’re heading somewhere in the northeastern USA, try New York as your extra stop as this is a major hub in that area.
Be careful not to book your flights too close together, e.g. just a few hours apart, as if your first flight gets delayed you’ll miss your second flight.
Helpful Tip: Leave a day or two in between your flights and see an extra city for free!
There’s nothing stopping you from spending a night or two in the city you fly through to get to your destination.
With the savings from the cheaper flight, you could book a hotel and do some sightseeing!
Kiwi is a fantastic flight comparison website that often includes deals like this in it’s searches.
7. Sign Up To Cheap Flight Newsletters
You can sign up to email newsletters which send awesome, cheap flight deals to you every week.
This will save you a lot of money as they have a team of flight experts constantly searching for deals and they often spot ridiculously low fares!
If you live in the US, then I’d recommend signing up to Going (formerly Scott’s Cheap Flights) – they have both a free version and a paid version.
Going state that their members save an average of $550 per ticket so it’s definitely worth signing up!
If you live in the UK, then I’d recommend signing up to Jack’s Flight Club – they also have a free version and a paid version.
As I live in the UK, I am a member of Jack’s Flight Club – they regularly send me awesome flight deals that I’d struggle to find on my own.
I’ve included one of their recent emails in the screenshot below.
These flight deal email lists tend to send you regular emails about deals that include a booking link, price details and also an estimate of how long the deal will last.
I’d recommend at least signing up to their free version at a minimum. If you sign up to the premium version, they will usually send the best deals to you first and you get more deals!
8. Use Flash-Sale Sites
Flash-sale websites such as Lastminute.com often show short-lived flight and holiday deals.
These deals often beat the prices shown on price comparison websites so it’s worth checking before booking your flight.
For example, when I checked for flight deals on HolidayPirates (another flash-sale website) I saw a deal from the UK to Italy for just $7!
The deals don’t tend to last long so you’ll have to be quick.
9. Join An Airline’s Loyalty Scheme For Free Flights
Many airlines run loyalty schemes which allow you to get free flights over time.
If you consistently fly with the same airline then you should join their loyalty program so you can earn points each time you fly with them.
Once you’ve built up enough points you can trade these in and bag yourself a free flight!
As a frequent flyer you often get other perks like free upgrades and access to airport lounges.
If you’re from another country then just check the websites of your local airlines to see if they have a loyalty scheme.
10. Look Out For Error Fares
Every now and again airlines make mistakes when posting fares. This happens for a variety of reasons and is usually a technical glitch or human error.
For example, a flight that was supposed to cost $1,000 has been mistakenly listed for $100.
These websites have dedicated teams who search the internet every day for error fares. You’ll receive an email right to your inbox if they find one.
For example, Jack’s Flight Club once found a ticket from London to Los Angeles for just £39 ($54)! This route would normally cost between £300 – £400 ($410 – $550).
Both have free versions where you’ll get awesome deals every week. They also have premium paid versions where you’ll get more deals and you’ll usually be sent the best deals first.
Going state that their members save an average of $550 per ticket so it’s definitely worth signing up!
Although airlines do have the right to cancel tickets if they want to, this is rare. Jack’s Flight Club states that 70% of tickets are honoured (and if they’re not you’ll get a full refund).
11. Use A VPN To Change Your Location
A VPN can make it seem like you’re browsing from somewhere else in the world. This can actually change the prices of tickets.
For example, if you’re based in the USA then you might be shown higher prices than someone who lives in India.
Try switching your location to somewhere like India and see if that alters the price – sometimes it does and sometimes it doesn’t.
You can also try switching your location to the country you’re going to and see if that changes the price.
NordVPN is one of the best VPNs around if you don’t have one.
If you don’t have a VPN then sometimes this trick also works if you change the currency on the website you’re searching on. This sometimes also alters the price but using a VPN is the best way.
12. Go Incognito
Ever noticed a flight price change after searching for it a few times in your web browser?
Cookies in your browser log your searches so if you’ve been searching for a particular flight multiple times this will be logged.
This information is used by the flight companies as they see you’re interested in a flight so they increase the price.
Useful Tip: Always search for flights in incognito or private browsing mode.
By using incognito mode, your searches will not be tracked meaning that flight companies cannot track your searches and increase flight prices.
If you’re using Google Chrome or Safari, you can enable incognito mode by pressing Command (or Control on a PC), Shift, ‘N’. This will open a new incognito window.
If you’re using Mozilla Firefox or Internet Explorer, press Command (or Control on a PC), Shift, ‘P’. This will open a new incognito window.
*This is disputed and sometimes considered a myth but it’s better to be safe and use incognito mode just in case.*
13. Be Flexible With Location
Location matters so if you’ve not fully settled on where you want to go then this could save you hundreds of dollars.
You can use a tool like Google Flights to check flight prices for different destinations across the world.
It’s super easy to do and you don’t need to check each destination separately.
- Head to Google Flights and type in your departure location and dates. Leave the destination box blank.
- Scroll down and click on the map just underneath.
- This will bring up a world map which shows the flight price for each location. You can zoom in and out to check prices for locations all over the world.
As you can see, for my selected dates and departure airport, it would be cheaper for me to go to Barcelona than anywhere else.
14. Book Flights Early
When it comes to actually booking your flights, you should try to book them as early as possible to get the best flight deal.
Prices for last minute flight bookings tend to skyrocket so avoid this if you can.
It’s best to book your flights at least 3 to 6 months prior to travel and even earlier if possible.
As a general rule, flight prices tend to increase as the departure date gets closer.
15. Look Out For Hidden City Ticketing
Hidden City ticketing is essentially when you find a flight deal that connects in a city you want to go to. This ticket is cheaper than a ticket directly to the city itself.
So you’ll book a cheaper flight that connects in the city you want to go to and hop off there, not taking the ongoing connection.
There is a website called Skiplagged that is dedicated to finding these tickets for you. They were even sued by United Airlines for highlighting these epic flight deals (Skiplagged won by the way).
For example, I saw a flight on Skiplagged from New York to Paris for just $133. This flight is actually from New York to Madrid but stops in Paris.
They also had a flight from New York to Las Vegas for just $35. This flight is to Santa Ana but connects in Las Vegas.
If you do manage to find a ticket like this there are a few things to consider.
- Make sure you can get your luggage. If you have checked luggage then it will probably be sent on to the next flight so it’s best to take carry-on luggage.
- Ensure you will be allowed off the plane. For some short layovers where the same plane is used in the continuing journey, passengers are not allowed to leave.
Thanks for reading this post which covers 15 tips that will help you save money on flights.
I have used many of these tips myself and have bagged some awesome deals over the years.
For more travel tips, you can check out my top travel resources page where I list all of the websites, products and services I use when traveling. This will help you save even more money and time too.