The most frustrating part of booking flights is undoubtedly the inconsistency of flight pricing. Prices can increase from one minute to the next, so it’s always tempting to just enter your card details and get it booked. But there are a few tricks of the trade that can help you find cheaper flights.
Booking on Tuesdays? You’ve probably heard the rumor that booking flights on Tuesdays at 3 P.M. will get you the cheapest flights. Though there are occasionally sales and flight deals on Tuesdays, this rule does not apply to every flight. So don’t be surprised if you check flight fares for your destination on a Tuesday and nothing has changed. The time of day or day of the week that offers the cheapest deal depends on where you’re going and what time of year you’re traveling. We have found, from personal experience, that traveling mid-week offers the best deals.
Book between 2-8 months in advance. Most travel bloggers and frequent flyers will advise you to book your flights two to eight months in advance. The further out you book, the lower your prices can be, especially if you’re planning on traveling at the height of tourism season or during holidays. It’s smart to start looking once you have an idea of where and when you want to go. But don’t worry, you may not lose a ton of money if you book two months out instead of eight. On any given day, you could find an amazing deal.
Search with affordable airlines. Though you may have your go-to airlines, the cheapest flights can be found with low-cost airlines. These flights are not guaranteed to be comfortable, offer the best food or have storage space for your carry-on, but they can almost always guarantee a price lower than those of more reputable airlines. Low-cost airlines are perfect for domestic flights, or if you’re traveling between two and four hours.
Use flight search databases. Booking directly with an airline before checking sites like Skyscanner, Expedia or Travelocity could mean that you’re losing hundreds of dollars. These sites help you to find the cheapest flights within a manageable timeframe for you. On platforms like Google Flights, you can set notifications for flight deals and be alerted when prices drop. Learn about the best sites to search for flights here.
Be Flexible. Another helpful feature of Google Flights is that it’s easy to see if changing your dates can lower the price of your ticket. When you choose your dates, Google Flights will show you two months worth of dates and highlight which ones are the cheapest days to fly based on the length of your trip. Frequently, changing the dates you want to travel by even a day, or switching from a five-day trip to seven days, can cut the price by as much as 50%.