Airfare is notoriously pricey and if you travel extensively for business and recreation, it’s easy to burn a major hole in your pocket. Thankfully, there are a number of travel hacks you can apply that will save you hundreds, or even thousands of dollars, annually.  

Finding the cheapest flights requires much patience and diligence, but when done correctly, will allow you to reap major savings and practically fly for free. 

10 Tips for Booking the Cheapest Flights

  1. Check flight search engines for the cheapest flights from multiple airlines.
  2. Check airlines’ websites, booking apps, and social media pages for seat sales and discount fares.
  3. Monitor airlines that frequently offer promo fares and subscribe to fare alerts.
  4. Search for airline error fares.
  5. Book in advance if the travel destination and dates are confirmed.
  6. Search for flights in private browsing mode. 
  7. Consider flying with budget airlines.
  8. Check the booking details and read the airline’s terms before purchasing tickets. 
  9. Enjoy free flights via airline rewards programs.
  10. Hire a virtual executive assistant to book the cheapest flights for you.

 

1.Check flight search engines for the cheapest flights from multiple airlines. 

 

The best place to start in your quest for the cheapest flights are the flight search engines. Remember that not all flight search engines are created equal and each has its strengths and weaknesses.  

To find the best deal, you’ll have to search multiple websites. The most highly regarded are the “big three”: Skyscanner, Google Flights, and Momondo.

  • Skyscanner is the top choice among many travel enthusiasts, as it searches all major and budget airlines, including non-English websites. It’s an extremely comprehensive booking site and will yield some of the lowest prices being offered by the air carriers. Skyscanner can also be used to research hotels and car rentals.  

  • Google Flights displays price trends and shows you how much your ticket will cost based on your selected flight date. The site also has analytical tools that enable you to track the prices of a particular route, allowing you to find the lowest prices once they’re available.  

  • Momondo searches the most number of websites and airlines, enabling users to identify the cheapest flights based on their travel dates. Momondo sometimes pulls up cheaper fares than Skyscanner. 

As no single search engine is able to offer the best deals, it pays to search as many as you can to yield the lowest airfares. Consider adding these other websites to your list:  

More tips on how to find cheap international flights using flight search engines 

  • Open each flight search engine and enter your destination and travel dates. 
  • Review the airfare results on each site to find the ones that offer the lowest prices.  
  • Once you’ve identified the best prices, confirm prices directly with the airlines. 

 

2. Check airlines’ websites, booking apps, and social media pages for seat sales and discount fares. 

Many airlines offer discount fares and seat sales directly through their websites and booking apps.  

 Visit the websites of various airlines and look for current promotions, keeping an eye on pages marked “fare deals,” “promos,” “special offers,” and “seat sales”, etc. Another way to spot the latest promos and seat sales is to visit the airlines’ social media accounts (Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter). It’s painstaking work, but has the potential to yield major savings when done right. 

3.Monitor airlines that frequently offer promo fares and subscribe to fare alerts.

To avoid having to constantly check airline websites, consider signing up for the airlines’ newsletters. You should also take advantage of Skyscanner and Momondo’s “Fare Alert” feature. This way, you’ll automatically get updates when a new cheap fare alert is released.  

4. Search for airline error fares.

Airlines will occasionally make mistakes when posting their fares, resulting in some significantly discounted flights. These errors could be the result of various factors, including currency conversion mistakes, the omission of fuel surcharges and fees, human error, and technical glitches. Those who are savvy about spotting airline error fares could easily save hundreds of dollars on a ticket.  

Use these websites to help you track error fares: 

  • Airfare Watchdog 

Check out this handy guide from Thrifty Nomads for more tips on tracking flight pricing errors 

5.Book in advance if the travel destination and dates are confirmed.

If the destination and travel dates are confirmed, consider booking sooner rather than later. You’re more likely to save money by booking ahead instead of waiting for a sale that may or may not materialize.  

Not all airlines regularly offer seat sales, but those that do usually announce them three to six months before the flight date, with the cheapest ones being sold up to a year in advance. These promotional fares are only worth considering if you’re planning your trip that far ahead and the air carrier you’re considering frequently offers seat sales.   

6.Search for flights in private browsing mode. 

While some travel experts consider this to be a myth, others highly recommend searching for flights in private browsing mode if you want to keep prices from climbing. Flight prices increase when a particular route is repeatedly searched on a browser as the site wants to scare you into booking the flight before the price climbs even higher.  

To see the lowest prices, always search for flights in incognito or private browsing mode. Remember that your cookies are reset each time you open a new incognito window. Hence, if you want to ensure that previous searches aren’t tracked (which would potentially inflate prices), close all of your incognito windows, open a new incognito window, and perform a new flight search. 

7. Consider flying with budget airlines. 

If you’re looking to score the most economical flights, it makes sense to favor budget airlines. Budget air carriers now service many long-haul routes, making it possible to fly to international destinations without spending a small fortune.  

While budget airlines may not offer many of the perks found in full-service airlines (and you often have to pay for premium upgrades like meals and checked bags), they’ll get you to your destination in relative comfort.  

Here’s a list of some of the biggest budget airlines, broken down by region: 

North America 

Asia 

Europe 

Australasia

For an exhaustive list of low-cost carriers, check out this list from Wikipedia 

If you’re heading to any of these regions, start by checking their respective airlines. Check their social media pages and websites for promos and seat sales. Air Asia, Ryanair, and JetStar are renowned for offering regular deals. Moreover, many of these budget air carriers offer airline rewards credit cards, with many offer major signup points bonuses.  

Just be wary of the fees, as this is how budget airlines make extra money. They’ll often charge fees for carry-ons, checked bags, printing your boarding pass, or using a credit card. To avoid rude surprises, be sure to add up the cost of the fees and the airfare to ensure the resulting price is lower than those offered by traditional air carriers.

8. Check the booking details and read the airline’s terms before purchasing tickets.  

Take note of these additional tips before confirming your booking: 

  • Check the breakdown of fees - Some budget airlines pre-select add-ons during the booking process, which means you could end up paying for add-ons you don’t need. These add-ons include travel insurance, meals, and baggage allowance. 
  • Print your own ticket - Some low-cost carriers charge a hefty fee if you ask them to print your plane ticket. You can easily avoid this unnecessary expense by printing your own ticket. 
  • Pre-book the exact luggage allowance - To avoid incurring additional charges, don’t go over the specified size and number of bags. It’s always cheaper to purchase check-in baggage, preferably when you’re booking your ticket. It’s going to be a lot more expensive if you go exceed your weight limit and are forced to purchase additional check-in baggage weight at the counter.  

 

9. Enjoy free flights via airline rewards programs. 

If you’ve earned enough points, you can fly for free. One viable way of earning points is to sign up for a travel rewards credit card. Hitting the minimum spend could give you lots of bonus points, which could be enough for a free flight. You could also sign up for an airline rewards card that earns points with a specific airline, or a more general travel rewards card that allows you to redeem points across an array of airlines.  

For more information on the best travel rewards credit cards, check out this blog post from Nomadic Matt 

Alternatively, you could join your favorite airline’s frequent flyer program. The accumulated points could be redeemed for air travel or other rewards.   

10. Hire a virtual executive assistant to book the cheapest flights for you. 

As you’ve probably come to realize, obsessively monitoring websites, social media pages, and flight search engines to score the cheapest flights is a time-consuming process. It also involves a fair amount of luck and good timing. To avoid wasting hours trawling the Internet for the most economical flights, consider delegating this task to an experienced virtual executive assistant. 

Sigrid.AI’s remote executive assistants are supported by dedicated travel specialists. Together, they’ll tirelessly research the best (and cheapest) flights, as well as hotel accommodations and car rentals for you. Once they’ve found the best prices, they’ll book flights, hotels, and car rentals for you, saving you much time and effort. 

Your Sigrid.AI virtual assistant can perform additional corporate travel management services, including: 

  • Managing all aspects of your travel itinerary, including meetings, conference room and event bookings, as well as restaurant reservations 
  • Finding the best price for remote airport parking 
  • Booking airport shuttle services  
  • Managing your flight check-ins and securing your preferred seat 
  • Visa assistance and applying for the renewal of your passport 
  • Calling and emailing the airlines for travel-related inquiries 
  • Tracking lost luggage 
  • Booking taxi or car services (Uber, Lyft, Grab, Careem) 
  • Managing loyalty programs 
  • Travel and expenses data management 

Your EA can perform a host of other administrative, technical, and creative tasks, helping you focus on your core tasks while ensuring that non-core responsibilities are taken care of.  

Browse our service page to learn more about our services and check out our Dedicated EA Plans to learn more about our subscription-based plans. To speak to a consultant, book a free 20-minute consultation today.    

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