How to score the cheapest flights for lower travel costs
Get the cheapest flights! Flight prices can make or break the travel budget. There are times when expensive flights can be inevitable. If you’re flying from a state without an international airport (me!) to a place across the world, the price will likely reflect that. However, there are definitely ways to reduce the price and get the best deals on your flights.
The most important tip for getting your flights at the cheapest cost is to BE PATIENT!
Tips for getting your flights at the best price
If you can get your flights at a good price it is a GAME CHANGER in the traveling business. With good flight prices, it lowers your overall cost of your trip and allows room in the budget for activities or splurging during your trip. Try these recommendations to get cheaper flights:
1. Track flight trends
- My best resource for tracking trends is the Hopper app. The Hopper is an app for your phone (previous link will give directions to downloading the app if you are on your computer). You can search for flights on the Hopper app and it will tell you if flights prices are likely to trend up or down and if you should book now or wait. You can track multiple flights at once and turn notifications on for the app to keep you updated on the best time to book! Skyscanner will have a trend chart at the top as well. It will show the previous trends on flight prices, but does not provide information on probable future flight trends
2. Search Bare-Fare flights
- There are a lot of bare-fare airlines for domestic travels. Even with carry-on fees, the prices can be very affordable (we flew Spirt from Dallas to Cancun direct for $180 US + $60 luggage!).
- US Bare-Fare:
- European Bare-Fare:
- Jet Blue
- Easy Jet
- Ryan Air
- US Bare-Fare:
3. Look at surrounding dates
- IF you have a flexible schedule, take advantage of it. Many booking sites will let you know how much you can save by switching your dates a little. Perk: you will likely get the cheapest flights on a weekday. Downfall: you will have to use more PTO days. You will have to make the decision on which is more important for your situation.
4. Book at the right time
- Typically, the earlier you book, the cheaper the flight. However, once you start to get closer to the trip there is a sweet spot: between 2-3 months prior to your trip seems to have some of the best deals. Whatever you do, DON’T WAIT TOO LONG. I have regrettably waited to book a flight in hopes that the price would go down closer to the trip only to watch the prices go up!
5. Be Open to a long layover
- A long layover will add time to your total travel time. However, the flights are typically cheaper and you may have the potential to do site-seeing in a new city! My first time to see Time-Square was during an 8-hour layover in NYC on my way to Ireland! The best site to get cheap flights by piecing them together (and potentially getting an overnight layover) is Skiplagged!
6. Companion Deals
- Some airlines offer companion deals if you have a credit card through the airline.
- Southwest is one of these as well as Alaskan Airlines.
- Many of the common airlines such as Delta and American have similar offers.
- However, many of the deals require that you spend a certain a certain amount on the card (which can be a high amount for some cards, such as the $30k requirement for American!) to qualify for the companion deal and most are for domestic travel only. Southwest loyalty program seems to have the most benefits for the companion deal, but be prepared to swipe your card to qualify!
7. Travel Credit Card
If you don’t want to be tied down to one loyalty program to one airline (like me), there are several options for travel credit cards that rack up points you can redeem for travel purchases. I own two, the Chase Sapphire and the Capitol One Venture. Both have great sign up bonuses and acquire points quickly. I put all of my bills, groceries, gas and entertainment on the cards and pay them off every month to acquire travel points on things that I would otherwise use my debit card for.
- Chase Sapphire
- Perk: You get extra points when you book through their portal. I paid for 1.5 tickets to Europe with the rewards I built up! You can also cash in your points for the amount equal to your travel rewards (some cards will decrease the amount of cash you can get compared to the amount you can redeem in travel rewards)
- Disadvantage: You have to book through their portal to use your points, meaning you can’t book your plane ticket through the website of your choice (if you find the plane ticket cheaper somewhere else, sorry!). There is also an annual fee, but if you use it enough, the perks are worth the fee!
- Capital One Venture
- Perk: Great point accumulation on daily purchases. Redeeming your travel rewards is easier. Simply purchase your ticket from any site you want and then apply your rewards to that purchase to get your money back afterward!
Cheapest flights Recap
Flight prices can make or break a travel budget. Being strategic in getting flight prices down can take the stress of planning and budgeting down and allow for more wiggle room to do more activities. If we can’t find flights for a reasonable price we usually choose another destination. This keeps us being able to take more than one trip a year!
Wanting to find the best price on accommodations? Here are some tips!