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.
How to Find and Book Cheap Flights Everywhere
1. Search in Secret
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 for 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.
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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 two websites, Skyscanner & CheapOair.
NOTE: These flight comparison sites don’t always show you many 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.
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4. Cheapest Days to Fly
Your best bet here is to search using Skyscanner monthly Price Chart. This is a handy search tool as it gives you prices for a whole month to see what days are the cheapest for the route you want to take.
You can change the view to ‘View Whole Month’. This will allow you to see how each day shows you a different price.
This is especially important if you’re trying to search for flights on certain days, perhaps to connect with another flight, or simply because you can only travel on selected days of the week.
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 onboard.
Alternatively, many budget airlines have the option to pre-purchase an affordable meal at the same time as purchasing your ticket.
NOTE: Low-cost airlines aren’t always included on comparison websites like Skyscanner 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.
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6. Find the Cheapest Airport
We like the feature on the Skyscanner website for selecting the city and airport you will be flying from (for example, Melbourne).
The platform will give you a selection of airports in Melbourne to fly from in the dropdown box. If you select Melbourne, Australia, you will be given search results for ALL airports that offer cheap flights from MEL-SYD.
You can select the main or international airport only if you choose, (which is Tullamarine Airport) and it will give you cheap flights that exist only from this airport. It’s a useful filtering tool and can help you find a cheap flight much faster.
You can save big dollars if you book to arrive at either Avalon or Essendon airport, as opposed to Tullamarine. However, the public transport options like tickets on a cheap bus or train to get into the Melbourne CBD will give you limited options.
7. Travel in the 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 using Booking.com during this time too.
8. Sign Up for Deals & Discounts
There are many budget airlines out there and lots of cash is 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 (read our honest review – should you fly with 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.
Helpful Travel Tips
If you’re planning to travel to Southeast Asia (you need to check out our ultimate packing list for SE Asia), then Agoda has some fantastic deals on hotels/villas/resorts too.
You may also be interested in reading our top 6 travel hacks to save you money if you’re planning some travels in the future.
We’ve got some great tips for saving money to travel the world. And, if you feel that you may just ‘wing it’ when you get to your destination, there are always these 20 Jobs that PAY YOU to Travel the World.
Read more about our 15 expert travel tips from almost 20 years of exploring the world.
You can also find our advice on our favourite travel websites, travel gear, products we love, promo codes, and discounts on our Travel Resources Page.