Whether you call it cheap flights, low-cost airfare, worldwide budget travelling or ‘fly is
cheap’, the trick to being able to find it is flexibility. If you are willing to give up some comfort, and a bit of time in order to spend less money for your voyage then here are a few hints to help you get the most out of your money.
Websites for Cheap Flights
These are easy enough to find, with names that are often self-explanatory. If you’re looking for a list of all the sites I check, take a look at my travel resources. Quite frequently you’ll find that each of the websites finds the same flight for the same price (give or take $5), but every now and then you’ll find a diamond in the rough on one site that didn’t come up on the others.
When you search a flight and it comes back non-direct, you essentially end up with two different flights. Without a doubt, it’s easier to have the two flights on one ticket, but you may be able to save yourself a few bucks by searching for each of those flights separately. (ie, If your flight from Paris to New Delhi connects through Istanbul, then take a look at how much a flight from Paris to Istanbul costs, as well as one from Istanbul to New Delhi)
Typically the cheap airfare websites are pretty good at finding this for you, but it never hurts to take a look.
Seeking adventure? This is your go-to! If you are looking to get to a certain destination in a certain time frame, this may not be your best bet, as the expense of overland travel may just negate the money saved, and who knows what kind of situation you’ll end up in. However, if you’re the type that sees the line ‘who knows what kind of situation’ and you get excited, then figure out where the major hubs are in a given region, get on the ground, and start your adventure… there’s no point paying for extra airfare to skip a wonderful adventure that your seeking anyway.
Delete Your Browser Cookies
This is a little-known secret that works wonders. After you have searched extensively for your ticket, and are pretty sure you know which route you’re going to take, delete your browser history. (Since each internet browser works differently, I won’t get into the fundamentals of pulling this off, but a quick google search should steer you in the right direction).
I’ve found that even the cheap websites will give you a better price if you don’t have an extensive browser history of searching for said flight.
There’s the obvious of high season vs low season, but there’s also the tricky situation of well in advance vs last minute. In general, flights two weeks in advance are cheaper. Lesser known is the fact that flying mid-week will save you some green. Demand is higher for flights on Friday through Monday, so try flying Tuesday through Thursday. I’ve even heard that conducting your search in midweek will yield better results, but I’m not convinced on that one.
However, there is no doubt that last minute deals do creep up. If you are wondering whether or not the price of your flight will increase overnight, check how much a flight from a couple of days earlier costs. If it is still the same price, odds are pretty good yours will still be there tomorrow.
Caveat Emptor: This method runs a risk. I’ve personally been burnt by it a few times, so understand that it doesn’t work perfectly… it’s more of a guideline than a rule.
We can certainly get carried away with our desire to find the cheapest flight… Understand what you’re giving up. If you are prepared to kill two days of your life sleeping in airports, tossing and turning in plane seats and wondering what time is actually correct, you’ll be able to find a cheap way to get around the world.
Try not to brag about it too much when you land. Everyone has a story about how they found the cheapest flight. Be original, have a story about how your cheap flight took you into the middle of the desert and you had to take a Camel just to get you to the closest Elephant in order to find your way back into civilization.
Check my list of cheap airfare websites here: Cheap flights and other travel resources.