12 Top Tips for Booking a Cheap Flight

Dr. Jessie Voigts's picture

My travel motto? The more you save, the more you can travel. But where to start, when looking for options for budget travel? Whether you’re headed to Paris or somewhere closer to home (I am always looking to visit my brother in Seattle), the more you save, the more you can travel. (Sense an echo here? Ask my family. They hear it all the time!)

But there is SO much to search and do to find the prices you can afford.

Where to start? 

Here are our 12 top tips for finding and booking a cheap flight

12 Top Tips for Booking a Cheap Flight

Keep checking

Here’s the #1 tip I have for finding a cheap flight – keep checking! Don’t expect to find it the first time out (although if you do, bravo!). Make it part of your routine and keep at it. You’ll be surprised at what you find – and may even find new places to visit, for less than you’d imagine. Knowledge is power!

Fly out of alternative airports

We can drive to Detroit or Chicago, but have found less expensive flights from Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo, Michigan. The bonus? It’s MUCH closer, and we can book earlier flights without having to get up at 2am (like that one time we found an incredible fare to Seattle… leaving at a super crazy early time). You and your family will appreciate NOT having to drive hours to the airport, if you can find a smaller, closer airport to fly from.

Sign up for newsletters

This is an important one! Get on the email list for newsletters from airlines and airfare deal sites. You’ll be amazed at the deals that come through. We’re on Aer Lingus’ email list (because who DOESN’T want to go back to Ireland?) and have discovered incredibly low prices through that newsletter…that we haven’t seen on their site. This is a good call for all airline and deal sites, but especially for smaller airlines.

Pay attention to airfare sales

To go with the above point, pay attention to airfare sales. Maybe there’s a new airline coming out, or a new route planned for an airline. They will discount the fares to get this route going. Always keep an eye out for deals. 

Twitter and Facebook are your friends 

Follow airlines and deal sites online for flash sales. Set email or text alerts or notifications for these, so you don’t miss them. They will usually be sold out within a half hour.

When to search

Experts say early mornings and Tuesdays. I love pouring a cup of coffee and searching for flights in the mornings – it’s a fun start to my day (and exciting, to think about travel plans!).

Search for flights in other currencies

If you’re flying to Europe, search for flights in euros. Wherever you're going, search for flights in that currency. You can find much lower prices, and your credit card will just translate that fare into whatever the exchange rate is the day you buy it. This is especially important to do if your currency has a favorable exchange rate.

12 Top Tips for Booking a Cheap Flight

Utilize available discounts

Are you a student? A member or veteran of the military? An educator? Search for these specific terms to find the latest discounts. There are many ways to travel on a budget – be sure to explore all of them. Tip: Be sure to get the ISIC or ITIC card for other discounts as you travel.

Flexible dates

Unless you’re attending a conference or large event and are locked in to a schedule, be flexible with your travel dates. By searching a few days earlier and later, you can discover the lowest fares for your window of travel. 

Search for single tickets instead of multiples

Need to fly your family somewhere? If you search for multiple tickets at one time, you might not get the best fare. Search for individual tickets, and then purchase as many as you need. It usually will show up costing much less. Who knew?

Fly midweek

Planes are least full on Tuesdays and Wednesdays (followed by Saturdays). If you can, fly midweek to get the lowest fares possible. Don’t fly around or on holidays, no matter the day, if you can help it.

Shoulder Season

This is a big one, especially if you are flexible in your travel plans. Shoulder seasons offer lower priced options for a wide range of things you’ll need for your journey, from flights to accommodations to entrance fees to museums and attractions.  

Do you have any tips to add? Please comment below!

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12 Top Tips for Booking a Cheap Flight


Note: These tips are in collaboration with dealchecker.co.uk