July 14, 2024

How to Find Cheap Flights

Since flights can represent the biggest part of your trip expenses, finding that hidden cheap deal can be just as important as finding the right destination, the right tour company, the right backpack, or the right place to stay. After all, if a flight is too expensive, you aren’t going anywhere – and today I am going to help you master how to find a cheap flight. These are the exact steps I follow. If you follow them too, you’ll never be the person on a flight who paid the most for their ticket!

First, know that there are many reasons why cheap Flights are expensive. Bankruptcy has meant that airlines, which are under pressure to make a profit, can’t reduce fares as much, and limited competition gives them less incentive to do so. Additionally, since airlines have slashed routes and capacity, they are flying full planes. Fuller planes also means less incentive to reduce fares. And though oil prices have fallen substantially, airlines aren’t going to lower fares, because for the first time in a long time, they are making money and they don’t want to stop! (More: Why your airfare is so expensive.)

But that doesn’t mean the deck is fully stacked against you. Every day the airlines have thousands of killer deals – from mistakenly published cheap fares to normal deals to slashed prices to compete with another airline. Cheap fares are out there if you know how to find them.

Here is my 13-point guide to easily finding cheap flights, based on over ten years of travel and thousands of flights flown.

13 Steps on How to Get Cheap Flights

Ignore the myths
Be flexible with your travel dates
Be flexible with your destinations
Fly budget carriers
Don’t always fly direct
Remember, not all search engines are equal
Take advantage of student discounts
Sign up for a frequent flier program and travel hack
Join a mailing list
Search ticket prices as one person
Search in other currencies
Know your price
Book early (but not too early)

1. Ignore the myths
There are many myths online about finding cheap flights. They will lead you astray. The first thing to know about finding a cheap flight is there is no magic bullet or one secret ninja trick. So let me first say: it is NOT cheaper to buy airfare on a Tuesday, there is NO evidence that searching incognito leads to cheaper deals, and there is NO exact date or specific time period in which to book your airfare.