How do you find cheap flights?
We’ve all heard things like “always search for flights in incognito mode” and “don’t fly on Fridays”, but the truth is that the airline pricing models have changed a lot in the last few years.
New data from Skyscanner actually shows that the cheapest day to depart from the UK typically is Fridays!
So is there actually anything you can do to get cheap flights?
The answer is YES. It is possible. And it’s easier than you think.
After several years, travelling full-time as a digital nomad, I’ve learnt A LOT about how flight search engines work and how to find the cheap flights.
Here are the 15 flights booking tips showing you how to find cheap flights this year:
How to find cheap flights this year
By following these 15 tips you can save not only a few quids but HUNDREDS of dollars on your flights this year.
And perhaps treat yourself to one or two extra trips with your savings!
1: Find the cheapest day to fly
Do you not have to fly in and back a certain day? Then you can save a lot of money.
The more flexible you can be with your travel dates and time of day, the more money you can save.
In a month, the flight prices can vary drastically. So how do you know which days are cheaper than others?
As soon as you have selected where you’re flying from and where you’re going, you can see the different prices, and you can pick a date with a cheap flight.
2: Jack’s Flight Club
Jack’s flight club is a newsletter where you get notified of unusually cheap flights leaving near you.
Since I live in the UK, they list flights from London. In their last email, the deal was flights from London to Aukland for only £450 (it’s usually around £1000)!
They also have a premium version, with a bigger selection of flight deals.
3: Collect flight points with credit card
There are many credit cards with which you can collect flight points and use to buy flights with.
Since I’m from Sweden and travel with Scandinavian Airlines a lot, I use their debit card Travel Wallet. Norwegian Air, Virgin Atlantic and British Airways are some other examples of airlines that offer credit cards.
4: Newsletters from flight providers
Subscribe to newsletters from your favourite budget flight providers to be the first one to know about their latest deals. Also, follow them on Twitter, Facebook and other social media.
5: Don’t wait to book
If you’re planning on flying with a budget airline and are planning on flying a certain date, then there is usually no point in waiting around for a cheaper price.
Budget airlines usually offer cheap tickets, but when they are starting to sell out, they increase in price.
6: Set up price alerts
Most search engines allow you to set up price alerts for a certain route.
If you, for example, you want to buy a flight from London to Singapore in the near future, you set up the flight alert and get sent emails every time the price changes.
7: Pack light and fly with budget airlines
It’s crazy how cheap flights you can find nowadays.
Especially for us living in Europe, it’s not uncommon to find flights to other European countries for the same price as a restaurant dinner! Ryan Air, Wizz Air and other budget airlines have cheap flights, however, bear in mind it’s only dirt cheap if you don’t bring a check-in bag.
A check-in bag could cost up to 60 dollars, sometimes making it cheaper to just take a quality airline instead.
Also remember that you need to check-in online, as they take a fee of around 30 dollar if you check-in at the airport.
I use Osprey Fairview 40 as my carry-on bag and highly recommend it. It’s approved for carry-on and super light, durable, and has a laptop pocket. You can read more what I pack in my carry-on here.
8: Find the cheapest place to fly
If you can’t decide on where to go, take a look at your search engine of choice. Kiwi has a feature where you can just type in “Anywhere” and your dates.
Then you get a map where you can see how much all destinations cost for those dates. You can then apply filters such as price, bags, and even things to do!
9: Be flexible with stop-overs
Direct flights are almost always more expensive than flights with stop-overs.
However, when you book, counter in the cost of airport food (which can be expensive) for long stop-overs, and hotels if it’s an overnight stop-over.
And if you’re planning on sleeping in the airport, ask yourself if it’s worth the money you are saving.
10: Use multiple airlines
When you search for flights on most search engines, the flights will be from the same airline or alliance. The benefit of that is that you don’t need to get your checked-in bags and then check them in again.
However, sometimes you can save money booking with different airlines. To find these opportunities, you can either search one leg at a time, or use Kiwi, which is great for revealing cheaper routes.
However, never book a layover shorter than 2 hours! Airplanes are often late, and checking in and out usually takes longer than you think, and you might need to go to another terminal.
The only exception is if you book with Kiwi, as they offer their own guarantee, if you fly with different airlines.
11: Use several search engines
12: Join a frequent flyer program and fly for free!
Most, if not all, airlines have some sort of airline reward program, where you can collect points. With these points you can usually buy flights, upgrade your ticket, buy flight meals etc. Why would they do this? Simply to keep you loyal to them.
Since I often fly with Scandinavian Airlines, I’ve joined their program, and every time I book a flight with them I get points, that can be exchanged for flights or products in their gift shop.
When it comes to frequent flier programs, the more the better. I have never stumbled upon a frequent flier program where you have to pay anything, so it doesn’t hurt to sign up for several programs. Especially if you are a digital nomad, go on many business trips or globetrotter.
13: Use student discounts
Are you a student? Then I have good news for you – STA Travel and Kilroy can help you book flights with student discounts.
14: Pay in the airline’s currency
It’s often cheaper to pay in the same currency as the airline, than in any other currency.
For example, if you’re flying with Norwegian Air, it’s usually cheaper to pay in NOK, if you’re flying with Wizz Air, which is from Hungary, it’s cheaper to pay in HUF.
Start by searching for your flight in a search engine. When you’ve found a good flight, go to their own website and search for the flight, and change your country of origin to the airline’s base.
A little heads up: Some airlines require that you pay with a credit card from their country. If this is the case, you unfortunately have to give up (but it was worth a shot!).
15: Buy flights in bulk
If you’re planning on flying to several places, it’s usually much cheaper to buy them all in one go with the multi-city function. At least when the flights are from the same airline or alliance, for example Star Alliance.
Let’s say you want to fly to New York, Florida, and Austin – it’s usually cheaper if you put in them in the multi-city function, than if you buy one leg at a time.
This applies to return tickets too, it’s usually much cheaper to buy a return from London to New York and back, then buying two one-ways.
There you have it, 15 flights booking tips on how to find cheap flights this year! I have saved hundreds of dollars with these flight hacks, and I am so excited for you to try them out too.
This was written by Julia Lundin, a digital nomad with the mission to help people step into their purpose and awaken their power.