How to Save on Airfare with Hotwire, Skyscanner, Priceline and More
When it comes to flying, we all know how boring and time consuming the cheapest flight ticket search can be. Endless search engine checking, retyping the date and the destination, and then constantly changing prices can drive just about anybody crazy.
We wanted to give you some tips how to stay sane, save time and money while also getting a great ticket to an even greater destination:
1. Search in secrecy
There are ways to easily search not giving yourself away on Google Chrome and Safari, Mozilla Firefox and Explorer. Your cookies are reset every time you open a window with incognito. With every new search, close all the previous windows and open a new private search to remain invisible.
2. Use the best search engines
All search engines have increased the costs to take a cut from the airlines, but some, like Expedia, are known to inflate the prices higher than others. You should check out Skyscanner, AirFare Watchdog, Momondo, Kiwi.com, Cheapoair, AirWander, JetRadar, and Google Flights.
This year all budget airlines are on those search engines. To be totally sure that you are not missing any deals, you can look up regional budget airlines separately.
Skyscanner is one of the best, but even they need to be compared with others. Combine a few engines, when searching. Neither one of our recommended sites has the best deals 100% of time.
3. Use coupon codes from coupons sites to book your flight.
The easiest way to save on flights is to use coupons when booking your airline tickets. You can access a wide range of coupons at a number of coupon sites that offer the collection of the latest working coupons from different national companies, including airlines. For example, promocodes2018.com has a “Travel” section where you can get coupon codes issues by various online travel agencies as well as both national and budget airlines. Recently, this site has had great deals on flights, such as 50% Off last-minute flight deals at Hotwire or $50 off select flight and hotel packages with Priceline coupon codes.
4. Cheapest days to fly out
There are some legends that the cheapest day to book is Tuesday. But that’s all it is – a legend, because nobody knows the real truth here. Flying out on weekdays is usually cheaper than weekends, but even here some inconsistencies can exist. Best way to go is to look at the entire month and determine the cheapest days.
If you are checking tickets on Skyscanner, go to their website, enter the cities, select “one-way” to do the price checking, click “depart” and select the “whole month” instead of the date. Then “search flights” to see which days are cheapest to fly out.
Repeat the same steps on your return flight. Once you know the prices, you can then buy a round trip easily as you will know which dates will be best for your budget.
Kiwi.com and Google work similar and have maps in addition to everything else, so you can try selecting different airports for best rates. Hopper.com also has price analysis and best days to fly.
5. Budget airlines
Budget airlines are much cheaper than full-service competitors. You will have to deal with less leg room and no free drinks on board, but savings will make it worthwhile. When you book your flight with a budget airline, always check airport location because some of them fly to smaller airports, check your budget allowance and pay for luggage, and be very precise with weight, or you will pay a lot for extra weight. Also make sure you read the fine print and follow the instructions to avoid extra fees, such as a fee for a not printed ticket.
If you are looking for that cheapest flight, do your homework, know what to expect, be flexible, and lower your expectations.
Here are some U.S. and European budget airlines:
U.S. – Southwest, Allegiant Air, Frontier, Spirit, Sun Country Airlines, JetBlue, and Porter.
Europe – Ryanair, Easyjet, Aer Lingus, Aigle Azur, Wow Air, Eurowings, Flybe, Norwegian Air, and Wizz Air.
If you have a trip coming up, start following these airlines, sign up for their membership or reward programs, check their social media pages for deals, and don’t miss any special sales.
If you want to find even more discount airlines, especially in Australia and Asia, you can check out Wikipedia.
6. Book connecting flights yourself
If you have a long flight that requires a stop, for example from Canada to Australia, consider getting connecting flights yourself and make it a two stop flight, instead of one. Do not book tight layovers or you might be in trouble if one of the planes will be late. Short layovers are for those who want to create a separate short stay in a particular city before catching the next flight. Kiwi.com is the only one site that guarantees making connecting flights even when not with the same partners.
You should do your research and find out if the budget airlines you are looking at are unique to the country and if you will have any trouble making connections and transferring luggage. You can save $400 on each long leg if you’ll plan smart.Kiwi.com and AirWander are great for planning such intermitted and cheap trip.
You can also create your own little stopover and see another destination for the price of one trip. Instead of waiting a day at the airport, you can spend a few days exploring the city or lounging on the beach somewhere while waiting to complete your flight. AirWander can be great creating such an itinerary with a few days in between the origin and the destination. All you have to do is enter the cities you are traveling from and to, and specify how many days you want to spend a stop in between the two. AirWander will give you a list of potential places for a nice layover.
7. Find the cheapest place to fly
Kiwi.com can help you find the cheapest place to fly to and it doesn’t even matter if you know where you want to go or just looking for the next inexpensive adventure. You can enter the origin city and the date range of your flight, and the site will give you hundreds of flights all over the world to choose from. The destinations are ranked by price, so you will know what is best for your budget right away.
Most flight engines will give you choices of routes coming from just one airline or its partners. Kiwi.com will give you mixed and matched airlines and combinations. Sometimes you can save not just money, but time too if choosing different airlines to work for you.
It would be risky to book the flights with non-partner airlines, because if any plane is late and you miss the next flight, nobody would be obligated to put you on the next flight for free. Kiwi.com gives their own guarantee to cover delays, cancellations, and reschedules.
8. Buying in bulk
You will save more money if you will buy more than one ticket, especially with the same airline. For example, buying a round ticket will often be cheaper than two one-way tickets. Buying multi-city tickets at the same time will also save you some cash.
Another way to buy bulk tickets at a good price is to buy round the world tickets or regional passes. This is a whole separate subject, but you can travel around the world, a continent, or a country at a discounted rate.
At the end of the day, sometimes it might still be cheaper to buy separate tickets with separate airlines instead of relying on partner airlines. If you are not sure, use Skyscanner and compare multiple-city versus many one-way tickets yourself.
9. Search for errors and sales
Everybody makes mistakes, not excluding airlines. Sometimes they post wrong prices due to currency exchange, technical problems, or human error. If you know how to spot them, you are in some serious savings.
Use AirFare Watchdog or Secret Flying to find hidden mistakes and sales prices; those two sites pool all best prices in one place, so spotting a mistake is easy. If you are using monthly search on Skyscanner, you can also spot unreal deals that are probably mistakes.
10. Local airlines
While all search engines are great, they will not show you local and regional airlines, especially at non-popular routes. If you are flying somewhere rural, ask Google if there is a local airline. Check the company’s website or even call them to find their flights and prices.
11. Don’t wait to book
As your departure day approaches, tickets usually go up in price. Budget airlines start lower and increase their prices as the departure draws closer, especially in Europe and Australia. If you know when you want to go, don’t wait around for a magic sale. Your savings come from booking ahead and not the last-minute deals.
12. Other currencies
When booking a flight, look to see if it would be cheaper to pay with another currency. Most budget airlines will make you pay in the currency of your departure country, but not always. You have to be certain that your credit card is free of foreign transaction fees; otherwise you will end up paying even more than saving.
13. Hidden city ticketing
Sometimes it is cheaper to have a connection in the city that you want to visit than buying a ticket to there. This trick is known as a hidden city. You will hop off at the city and stay instead of making the last leg on your ticket.
If you choose to do that and are flying with the same airline, your luggage might be sent to the last place on your ticket, so have carry-on luggage only. If the same plane is continuing to the final destination, you might not be allowed off the plane. Airlines might understand what you are doing, but you might not be punished for it – people miss flights all the time.
14. Use flight points
Use your miles to get some free flights. The best way to get the best savings for your miles is to cash them for local flights. International flights eat up a lot of miles, so unless you are swimming in them, consider getting shorter flights. Use company’s credit card to score lots and lots of free miles and flight points.