10 Ways to Hack Cheap International Flights
There’s a common misconception that traveling is reserved for the wealthy, but in reality, traveling is very accessible when you know how to find good deals, when to book your trip and where to find cheap flights. There are a wide variety of tricks that can help you become an international traveler on a budget. By keeping the following tips in mind, you can save money and find the cheap flights you’re looking for every time. So grab your passport and start hunting!
- Visit foreign sites: Sometimes the best deals are residing outside your home country. Global travel sites are the ideal place to find cheap flights that aren’t available anywhere else. Expedia.co.jp (the Japanese version of Expedia) is a perfect example. Just select English as your preferred language and choose your travel dates to see cheap flights. The prices will display in Yen, but you can use a currency converter to calculate the cost in your own currency. Using foreign sites to search for cheap flights can help you save money and indulge your inner travel bug.
- Stay away from mainstream airlines: When it comes to finding cheap flights, your best bet is to use smaller airline companies because commercial airlines tend to be more expensive. Check out airlines like Air Asia, Jetstar, Tiger Air, Norwegian Air, Germanwings, WestHet or Allegiant.
- Stay flexible: A major key to finding the best cheap flights is being as flexible as possible about your dates. Plan to travel during off-peak seasons and be flexible about your departure and arrival dates to find cheap international flights. Use apps like Skyscanner to monitor ticket prices for a couple of weeks and alert you when it’s the best time to buy your cheap flights. Try to avoid flying during a holiday or on a Sunday, which is typically the most expensive day to fly. Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays are the most inexpensive days to fly.
- Know your options: Take the time to research the different airports surrounding your destination. Not all airports service the smaller airlines with the cheaper flights, as many main airports only cater to commercial airlines. Try searching for flights that use a surrounding airport and see if the difference in price is worth it. A slightly more expensive cab fee to your final destination can sometimes cost less than a flight to a main airport.
- Know when to buy: The trick for finding cheap flights often lies in knowing when to buy your ticket. Airlines make money by anticipating the habits of travelers, so going against the trend will definitely help save money. It is recommended that you book your flight 6-8 weeks prior to your trip to get the best price. Shop early, but don’t necessarily buy early, and don’t feel intimidated by “limited seats” notices. Airlines start offering cheap flight seats about 4 months before departure for national flights, or 5 months for international trips. Prices will spike up to 40 percent higher the week of the flight. Also, try to book your ticket on a Tuesday or a Wednesday, as the most discount ticket prices are offered early in the week. As a general rule, your ticket will be cheapest on a Tuesday at 3 p.m., six weeks before your departure date.
- Know your destination: Knowing when to buy has a lot to do with where you are going. If you are looking for cheap domestic flights, book your ticket three to seven weeks before your trip. For cheap flights to Europe, book your ticket between eight and 10 months in advance. Trips to South America should be booked around 6 months prior to departure, while flights to central America can be booked between four and six weeks beforehand. Trips to Africa or the Caribbean can be booked later at three to five weeks before departure, while flights to Asia should be booked early, at about nine to 10 months in advance or at least two to four months out.
- Check out the “other” flight websites: There are many excellent, low-key airline websites that are not well known but have several cheap flights available. Check out sites like Secretflying.com, the flight deal, airfarewatchdog, or CheapOair to score a great deal.
- Embrace lay overs: While a direct flight to your destination may be more convenient, it is often more expensive than taking a flight with a layover. Choose a flight with a layover that is long enough for you to comfortably make your next flight. Not only is this a good way to find cheap flights, it is also a great opportunity to squeeze in an extra destination if you can extend your layover to include a mini expedition.
- Earn miles with online shopping: If you need to purchase an item online, skip visiting your usual sites and try searching through an airline’s online mall instead. Many airlines have online shopping malls where you can choose from a wide selection of popular stores, and actually earn air miles for everything you buy. You can also visit EVRewards.com where you can search for different stores and learn the reward programs you can use at each vendor to earn sky miles.
- Take advantage of airline mistakes: Errors on airline websites can, and do happen, and you are allowed to take full advantage of them! If you book during a “price error” where you will find insanely cheap flights, your purchase, in most cases, will remain valid even after the airline fixes its mistake. Secret Flying.com is always the first site to publish news about error fairs so you can hop onto the accidental deal as quickly as possible.