Flights are a mundane yet unavoidable expense that can eat up huge chunks of your travel budget. But what many travelers don’t realise is that you can save hundreds on the cost of flights. And it’s easier than you might think. So how do you find cheap flights? Just follow these 10 simple hacks to become a flight ninja.
1. Thou Shalt Clear Thy Cookies
This is one of those travel hacks that you may have heard was a myth. But the fact remains, clearing your cookies works – at least some of the time. Legend has it that cookies reveal that you are looking for flights, meaning websites clever/cheeky algorithms automatically increase prices as it’s apparent that you are keen. So, deceive the algorithms and make sure you give it a try and clear cookies when trying to find flights. If you don’t want the hassle of clearing your cookies, just switch to incognito mode when looking and when making the purchase.
2. Thou Shalt Always Fly On A Tuesday
As a general rule of thumb, Tuesdays are the cheapest day of the week to fly. Saturday afternoons and evenings are also a good bet. There’s more demand at the beginning and end of the week from business travellers and city breakers, which pushes the prices up. So always try to avoid Mondays and Fridays if you can to save some extra money for your next adventure.
3. Thou Shalt Seize The Moment
Airlines sometimes make mistakes and accidentally publish ludicrously cheap fares. Oopsy! But since they’re there, it would be rude not to take advantage of them. Check out secretflying.com or Jacks flight club for up to date info on erroneous fares. You’ll need to be quick, and go with the flow with dates and location, so this isn’t a hack that will work every time, but it can be great for the odd impulsive adventure
4. Thou Shalt Stalk Thy Local Airport
Set up a Google news alert to find out about new routes departing from your local airport. Eg “new flight route London airport”. Often airlines will offer promotional fares for introductory routes, so be quick and you could save big.
5. Thou Shalt Love Thy Flight Comparison Sites
Flights comparison sites take the work out of finding cheap flights, helping you instantly compare offers from every airline in one place. It’s a good idea to check a few before you book, and sign up to their newsletter to make sure you get up-to-date insider info on the best cheap flights. The big ones are Skyscanner, Google Flights and Momondo. Momondo is rumoured to be the cheapest but Skyscanner is probably the best customer experience and simplest to use.
6. Thou Shalt Honour Thy Indirect Flights
If you’re time rich but cash poor, you should seriously consider an indirect flight to your destination. Admittedly they’re less convenient and take longer, but can sometimes save you hundreds of pounds. And if you’re very lucky, you could even get two holidays for the price of one! Some airlines now allow you to stopover for a certain amount of time (usually up to 7 days) before taking your connecting flight. Icelandair are on of the best airlines for this amazing perk. For example when you fly from London to New York, you can stop over for up to 7 days in Reykjavik for no extra cost. Check out Icelandair’s stopover options if you’re keen. They also have some awesome hostels in Iceland.
7. Thou Shalt Check Thy Airline
So you’ve found a cheap flight on a comparison website and you’re about to book. NOT SO FAST! You should always check the website of the airlines offering the flight to make sure you’ve got the cheapest possible deal. In some cases it is cheaper to book direct. Its worth 1 minute of your time to double check as it just might save you some dollar.
8. Thou Shalt Be Flexible On Dates
This is an obvious one but it catches lots of travellers out. Wherever possible, you should never put yourself in a situation where you HAVE to fly on a certain day. You’ll end up paying over the odds for a flight, just because your visa’s about to expire or you left it to the last minute to travel home for Christmas.
Most airlines and comparison sites allow you to look at cheapest prices both on a monthly and yearly overview. So if you know you want to fly to Berlin in March, for example, but you’re not fussy about when exactly, you can easily narrow down which day would be the cheapest. Or if you know you want to visit Bangkok sometime this year, you can also see which months are the cheapest to fly.
9. Thou Shalt Embrace The Unexpected
This is an amazing feature of flight search engines that not many people know about. If you’re not fussy you can search EVERYWHERE and you’ll get a list of the cheapest flights from what ever airport you choose. If you’re open-minded about where you go and like an impulsive adventure, then this can be one of the cheapest ways to fly. If you’re super flexible, why not select options for nearby airports, cheapest month and whole month too.
10. Thou Shalt Act Fast
Subscribe to airline and flight comparison newsletters for flash sales and ACT FAST when you see something you tasty. Also, consider following your favourite airlines on social media. Ryanair, for example, announce their flash sales on social media. These usually run for just an hour, but you can get some amazing deals.