We’re well experienced in the tedious and tiresome searching efforts when trying to book cheap flights. We’ve sat for hours on many occasions comparing which website will give us the best deal, the most direct flights with minimal credit card charges. So how do we find and book cheap flights around the world?
With many different flight comparison websites out there and inconsistent pricing between each one, the approach to thrifty flight booking is at times exhausting.
After many years, we’ve worked out how to beat them at their own game! These are some tricks of the trade that we can’t wait to share with you. Now you can travel for less too.
These tips will save you time, ease your frustrations and show you how to find and book cheap flights everywhere.
The second that you type in your destinations and dates into a website and hit the search button, the information is being recorded. This is called ‘tracking your cookies’. Your search data is being fed back to these websites.
They’re notified that you’re checking several sites, searching to book cheap flights and they now recognise that you want to fly between let’s say Sydney and Dubai on the dates that you’ve entered. Now they hike up the prices.
Somehow the cheaper flights you’ve seen only hours before have mysteriously disappeared. You can see the same flights are available, yet the prices have quickly inflated.
Don’t panic; just get into the habit of hiding your search efforts and book cheap flights in secret.
Here’s how: Always search in incognito windows or private browsing windows. This is a super-smart tool. Incognito works the same as any other internet page. The difference is that your cookies reset every time you open another private browsing window.
Check out how you do it below-
For Internet Explorer or Mozilla Firefox, press Command, Shift “P”.
In Safari, Chrome or Google, enable incognito by pressing Command, Shift “N”.
This opens a brand new browsing window and your data is not tracked.
Now you can start searching for that cheap flight without being watched and avoid being charged more for the exact same service.
2. Break up the Journey – Or add a Stopover
You’ve got to think outside the box, be flexible and book separate legs of a journey rather than requesting a price for one through-fare to your destination.
For example: If you’re searching for a flight from Melbourne to London, perhaps break it down and first search one flight from Melbourne to Singapore (search for cheap flights with a budget airline such as Air Asia or Scoot Airlines).
Then search for a separate flight from Singapore to London with different airlines using the comparison websites listed below. It’s all about staying one step ahead of the big guys.
3. Use the Best Flight Search Engines.
We know, there are so many flight comparison websites you can use to book cheap flights, and there isn’t just one that will always give you the best flight deals available. But follow our lead and stick to these three websites below.
NOTE: These flight comparison sites don’t always show you most budget airlines. Sometimes it’s worth just doing a little research and searching for local airlines that operate between the two destinations you’re interested in.
A simple google search will do, perhaps search for ‘budget airlines in the Middle East’ or ‘cheapest low-cost carrier in Asia’. This may lead you to check out their independent website or direct you to somewhere that you can book their flights for much cheaper.
4. Cheapest Days to Fly
Your best bet here is to search using Skyscanner’s monthly search tool. This is handy as it gives you prices for a whole month to see what days are cheapest for the route you want to take. (See in below pic – top left corner you have the option to ‘Show Whole Month’.
If you choose to view ‘whole month’, this is the window that will open up for you below. Notice how you can see each day shows you a different cost. If you are really flexible, simply select ‘cheapest month’.
Watch the website do the work for you as it displays the cheapest flights available and you’re likely to see a pattern here. Try to avoid flying over weekends and rather than search Saturday to Saturday, perhaps compare the price to fly Wednesday to Wednesday.
5. Research Budget Airlines
Budget airlines can sometimes be the best option available. You may not get in-flight service and movies, just take your laptop to watch movies in the sky and take some food on board.
Alternatively, many budget airlines have an option to pre-purchase an affordable meal at the same time as purchasing your ticket.
NOTE: Low-cost airlines aren’t always included on the comparison websites, so do your research first to find the cheapest fares.
There are a few things to remember before you book cheap flights:
– Check the airport code and location of where you’ll be arriving (sometimes budget airlines fly to random airports which are located much further from the city than you’d prefer, which is going to make your transfer cost back into the city either difficult or expensive in some cases.)
– Pay for any luggage that you may have to check-in at the time of buying your ticket. If your bag is larger than carry on size or weighs more than 7-10kg, they’ll catch you out and make you pay super high costs to check it in at the airport.
– Always read the fine print about check-in times, rules of the airline, if you have to print your boarding pass etc.
6. Find the Cheapest Airport
We like the Skyscanner website feature for selecting the city you will be flying to (for example, London), and just under this is a button that asks you to ‘add nearby airports in the search.
This is a great tool for searching for cheap flights for arrival into London for example. This city has multiple airports (all with great public transport options to get you into the centre of the city).
You can save big dollars if you book to arrive at either Gatwick or Stansted airport, rather than Heathrow.
7. Travel in low season
It pays to be flexible with your travel plans. If you can avoid travel during the high season to your chosen destination, you’ll be rewarded with some very desirable fares.
We like to travel during shoulder season as you can avoid cities being too busy with tourists. You will also find cheap accommodation during this time too.
8. Sign Up for Deals & Discounts
There are many budget airlines out there and lots of cash to be saved by booking competitive fares with them rather than the more popular, expensive carriers.
If you’d like to be notified when sale fares are on, just sign up for it.
Subscribe to some email lists of budget airlines to receive the latest deals and perhaps like their Facebook page too.
We recommend bookmarking these low-cost carriers – Ryanair, Easyjet, Jetstar, AirAsia, Nok Air & Scoot.
Want to save even more money on accommodation once you arrive at your destination? We use Booking.com to book all our hotels. They offer unbeatable prices and their website is very easy to use.
Airbnb is another fantastic accommodation option. Click here to get a $55 credit from us for your first booking. If you already have an account with Airbnb, just sign up with a different email address and you can still claim this credit.
Rach is a self-confessed travelling foodie. Her passion for food and culture has seen her eat her way through 186+ countries. She's currently on a big food adventure to visit EVERY country in the world!
When Rach isn't travelling, you can find her at the beach, drinking coffee or wine with friends or chowing down on the best eats around her home city of Melbourne, Australia.