10 Tips and Tricks to Find Cheaper Dates to Fly

by Rich Jones

Flying can be an expensive proposition. However, there are many ways you can make sure you’re getting a great deal on your flight. No one wants to pay more than they have to, and the good news is you don’t need to skimp on the amenities or fly on some no-name budget airline to get a good deal. Often, something as simple as adjusting the dates of your trip can save you a fortune. To that end, we’ve compiled 10 tips and ticks to find cheaper dates to fly. While you won’t always have flexible travel plans, taking advantage of a few of these tips and tricks whenever possible can add up to serious savings on the cost of your flights.

What are some tips and ticks to find cheaper dates to fly?

  1. Be as Flexible as You Can
  2. Check Out Multiple Airports
  3. Use the Best Search Engines
  4. Always Use Private Browsing
  5. Sign Up for Frequent Flier Rewards Programs
  6. Mix Your Airlines
  7. Sign Up for Fare Alerts
  8. Book Connecting Flights Yourself
  9. Try Other Currencies
  10. Keep an Eye Out for Sales and Airline Mistake Fares

#1Be as Flexible as You Can

One of the best tips and tricks to find cheaper dates to fly is to be as flexible as you can with your travel dates. It’s often cheaper to fly on a specific day of the week, which can vary by route and whether you’re talking domestic or international flights. So, if you can go a day earlier or later, this can make a huge difference to the total cost. Being rigid on dates can push the cost up, so always check the airline schedule and see when tickets are cheaper.

Another trick to finding cheap flights is traveling off season. It’s much cheaper to fly in spring than during summer, or around big holidays like Thanksgiving or Christmas. Although this is not an option for everyone, try the same trick and fly a few days before the holiday when it’s cheaper. This is good advice to keep in mind when you are planning voluntary travel, such as vacations, provided your schedule allows for such flexibility.

Also read – 40 Cheapest Places to Travel in 2019

#2Check Out Multiple Airports

Most people automatically opt for the airport that’s closest to their home. If you have a look a little further out of your town or city, you might well find another airport offering cheaper flights. Airport shopping can be one of the best ways to get a cheap flight. Many smaller or regional airports offer better travel deals than the major international airports, so it’s always worthwhile checking these out. Also, consider not flying direct. Can you make it close to your destination and then drive or get the train? You might find the savings are worth it.

#3Use the Best Search Engines

This entry on our list of tips and tricks to find cheaper dates to fly is incredibly easy, costs you nothing, and can save you a fortune, There are numerous search engines that are designed to help you find cheap flights, and utilizing these is a great cheap flight trick. Search engines like Kayak, Google Flights, Skyscanner, and TravelZoo, to name a few, give you wide-ranging search options. They pull in details from major and smaller carriers to compare dates, times, destinations and savings. Search engines are a great way to save money, as well as the time it would normally take to search individual carriers and budget airlines.

#4Always Use Private Browsing

Many people are aware of the need to use private browsing or incognito mode when using a public or shared computer. But did you know it’s also important to use this feature when you are looking to book flights? If you’re at home using your laptop and continually going between airlines sites, they’ll be tracking your visits with cookies. If you’ve ever noticed that flight prices seem to be increasing the more you search, this is no fluke. When your cheap flight searches are tracked by the airline, they think you’re keen to book, so they hike up the price. Always use private browsing when you search as this stops any price increases in your cheap flight. Luckily, search engines like Skyscanner don’t do this, so you don’t need to employ this trick there.

#5Sign Up for Frequent Flier Rewards Programs

Another of the best tips and tricks to find cheaper dates to fly is to take advantage of frequent flier rewards programs. There are many frequent flier programs, designed to encourage brand loyalty. These can be good for travelers as they allow for cheap (or even free) upgrades and a host of other benefits. Airlines like Delta, Alaska Air, JetBlue and United Airlines all have very popular and highly-rated frequent flier reward programs. Aside from carrier programs, there are many travel credit cards that affiliate with airlines to offer benefits.  As an example, the Chase Sapphire Preferred card offers points to put towards travels, and extra points when you pay for travel with the card. Bank of America Rewards and Amex Platinum are also credit cards with reward programs for travelers.

ALSO READ: 10 Best Vacation Spots in the US for Couples

#6Mix Your Airlines

You don’t need to book your whole trip with a single airline. While many people automatically plug-in departure and return dates, smart travelers keep their cheap flight options wide open.  Finding cheap flights with one carrier on one leg of your journey doesn’t preclude you from switching to another carrier to get home. It can really pay off to shop around on both legs and it can be a great way to get a good deal on flights. Also, don’t be frightened to look for connecting flights and free layovers on your trip. It can sometimes work out cheaper to go via another city on the way to your final destination and airline prices vary widely.

#7Sign Up for Fare Alerts

Another example of one of the best tips and tricks to find cheaper dates to fly is to use the tools at your disposal, such as fare alerts, to monitor changes to ticket prices automatically. Many airlines (including budget airlines) will inform the world of their new fares and routes via email or other alert systems. This means that signing up to those pesky emails is actually a great way to find cheap flights.

This is usually the same practice when airlines are offering last minute flights to Europe, the US, and Canada, or any route they choose to discount. If an airline is struggling to fill a flight, or has a special offer, email and alert subscribers are the first to know.  Although the emails can be annoying when you don’t have time to scroll through them property, they can also be pure gold if you’re on the hunt for cheap flights at the right time.

#8Book Connecting Flights Yourself

If you’re traveling, for example, from Dallas, Texas, to Manchester, England, there’s a fair chance you’ll end up in Atlanta or Philadelphia, or even Amsterdam or Paris on the way. Instead of booking with your airline all the way through, try to split your flights. Check the original flight price and then see what the difference is when you book the connecting flights yourself. You might end up finding that individual flight prices are cheaper than a combined package, and you still arrive in Manchester at the same time.

Alternatively, if you’re actually flying to Amsterdam, you could book the full flight to Manchester as it might actually be cheaper than a direct flight with Amsterdam as the final destination.  As strange as it sounds, hidden city ticketing can be a great trick for finding cheaper flights. It is frowned upon by airlines, though, so you do have to watch what you’re doing.

#9Try Other Currencies

Did you know you don’t have to book flights in your own currency to get a good deal? One of the best tips and tricks for finding cheaper dates to fly is to book in another currency. If your own currency is strong, search for one that’s weaker and see if you can book your flight in that currency. Trying an airline site in another country, for example on .co.uk instead of .com, can make a difference to your flight price. Just make sure you have a travel credit card with no foreign transaction fees to stop you getting hit with additional charges.

#10Keep an Eye Out for Sales and Airline Mistake Fares

Sale fares and mistake fares aren’t massively common but, if you know where to look, you can take advantage. Sale fares will be highlighted by individual airlines, while mistake fares will be removed from sites as soon as possible! It can be difficult to predict sale fares and, clearly, mistake fares can’t be predicted. Mistake fares are often caused by human error, and sometimes by computer glitches. One of the best ways to find cheap flights in this way is to set a price alert with a flight search engine. This will let you know if there’s a change in price on your desired route.

ALSO READ: 10 Best Family Vacation Spots in the US

How can you find cheap flights?

Many people swear by budget airlines to grab a cheap flight deal. However, budget airlines often have hidden costs for baggage and even seats, so it doesn’t always work out as cheap as you’d think. A good trick for cheaper flights is to use a flight comparison search engine. These allow you to search through a wide range of airlines and choose cheap ticket prices.

Do airports still do last minute super cheap flights?

Yes and no. Most airlines know that last-minute flights are often booked by business travelers. This means they often have the ability to pay more, which often pushes up the price of last minute flights. The best time to book flights to get the best deal is usually between a few months and three weeks before the departure date. In saying that, if an airline knows it has spare seats on a specific flight, it will often advertise this via its email subscriber list.

What are some good ways to find cheap flights without specifying a city to go to?

Using flight-specific search engines, such as Skyscanner or Google Flights, allows you to search your departure city and dates without specifying a destination. The search engine will then literally search the world for the cheapest flights and give you a list of good deals to save money on flights. Never rely on a single search engine, though. Many don’t work with budget airlines, so these prices don’t always show up. Searching a few should usually give you a good spread and let you find save money on flights.

How can a broad range of dates be entered or monitored for flexible cheap flights?

Being flexible about your dates is one of the best ways to get cheap flights. Most airlines will allow you to search up to a year in advance for cheap flights. This does depend on when they release their new flight schedules, though. Many allow you to search by destination and give a ballpark on your dates. Some go with a simple route schedule, so you can easily see when the cheap flights are offered to save money. Several search engines also allow you to check flexible dates and set up fare alerts with a flexible date range, say, for any flight to a destination within 14 days of a specified date.

How can I find cheap flights to take my kids on their first plane trip?

It’s rare to find an airline that offers a child-ticket at a reduced rate these days. One of the few exceptions to this is Southwest, but you need to call to get the deals. Most domestic carriers will allow babies between 14 days to 2 years to sit on the lap of their parent or guardian for free. If they’re older, they’ll have to pay for a seat like everyone else. However, you can use these tips to search for cheap flights to take your kids on and often get a good deal.

How do I find cheap flights? Is what I’m seeing all that is available?

Check out budget airlines’ booking sites or use a search engine to search for flights. You can then compare and contrast flight prices from a wide range of carriers. You will generally see whatever is currently on sale at the time of searching, however – airlines want to sell their seats, not keep them hidden or in reserve.

Conclusion

There are many ways to book a cheap flight and not all of them are equal. Taking a bit of time to research the strategies we’ve mentioned can go a long way towards saving you some serious money. There are so many great tips and tricks to find cheaper dates to fly and save money on flights, that once you start using them, you’ll never turn back to your old ways. We hope our overview of these ten tips and tricks to find cheaper dates to fly gives you all the information you need to start saving. Bon voyage!

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