Buying Flight Tickets – Your Cheatsheet
It’s easy to find a destination, but it’s hard to find a trip that will be the least damaging to the wallet. With multiple tabs open, scouring dozen of airlines and travelling sites, we wind up spending more money (and time!) than we expect on flight tickets. How do you find the cheapest flight tickets when airlines and booking sites offer more than a dozen price points for the same seat on the same plane? Aside from using the air points that you’ve been racking up for years, we’ve rounded up a few nifty tips on how to save on your next flight.
Paying for a flight can be a big investment, which means you’re likely to come back to the website on multiple occasions before making the final decision. There are certain websites that track how many times you’ve visited their pages through your browser cookies and use that information to provide different offers and deals, depending on the user. This can also mean that a ticket you were looking at last week is now suddenly more expensive. Be sure to clear your web browser’s cookies and cache to see the lowest prices, or use an incognito mode if available.
The best time to buy tickets varies on the location. If travelling domestic, the ideal time to purchase your flight is 1-3 months before the departure date. If travelling international, the best time is 1.5-5.5 months in advance. During peak seasons such as June, July, August, and the December holidays, the ideal time to purchase tickets are 2 months in advance.
Specifically, the best day to purchase domestic tickets is on a Tuesday when airlines launch fare sales for those infamous empty middle seats. Fly Tuesdays, Wednesdays or Saturdays since statistically not many choose to fly on those days. Keep in mind that the most expensive days to fly are the most popular days to fly – Fridays and Sundays. Flights are cheapest at dawn, red-eyes or overnight flights, and after dinner hour.
If you can’t fly during the cheapest times or days, do it one way for your trip and you’ll still reap half the savings!
Choose Fare First, Destination Second
There are travelling sites that are useful for searching multiple airline fares at a time, providing us with all the destinations listed under a set budget, opening up more options and making the destination more spontaneous.
Although it may require more research, you may want to look into the smaller regional and discount airlines that might not show up on the big booking sites for cheap tickets especially if leg room is not an issue! Whether you know exactly where you’re going, or feeling wanderlust, consider finding a cheap region/country to fly into and then consider budget airline, connecting trains or buses as options to make your final connection.
If you are flying somewhere that involves a transfer for a connecting flight, it may be cheaper to buy the tickets separately. It should go without saying that this is more risky so make sure you leave enough time to make your connecting flight!
All in all, it will pay off to find a cheap flight, but don’t forget to read the fine prints (example: must print your own ticket or a fee will be charged) and include all the hidden fees (car rental, luggage allowance, extra baggage) and always read the fine print!
Disclaimer: Any views or opinions presented in this blog post are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Aversan Inc.