Planning a trip and looking for plane tickets? Whether it’s for a special event, to relax with old friends and family or to have the adventure of a lifetime, you’ll want to reduce your costs. After all, who wants to spend more money on a trip than necessary? Save some money on your plane tickets and you’ll get to spend them on something else while you travel.
If you want to cut on your travel expenses, keep reading. In this article, you’ll learn how to find cheap plane tickets to anywhere in 7 easy steps.
Expected total time: 1 hour
1. Be flexible with your departure and arrival dates and times
When you’re planning your vacation in advance, you have the upper hand. You can play around with your departure and arrival dates and times. If you still haven’t requested your annual holiday at work, you can afford to be flexible. If you choose the days and times for your plane tickets you can end up saving tens or even hundreds of dollars.
You’re most likely to get the best flight deals when traveling in the off-season. For example, if you live in Canada, you are not the only person who wants to fly to Florida to escape the cold winter. Thousands of other Canadians will want to do the same and airline companies are aware of this. So if you want to save money on your plane tickets, you have the best chances to score some good deals in the off-season, like spring and fall. The same thing applies to weekend travel and flying out for the holidays.
As for the time of the day, overnight or very early in the morning flights (think 3 or 4 AM) are the best. Most people avoid these flights because they find them inconvenient. It’s difficult to sleep on an overnight flight and you risk being tired when you reach your destination. But, if you learn how to sleep on a plane and beat jet lag, you get a full day upon your arrival. It’s also safer if you are traveling solo, giving you a chance to fully get used to your surroundings before nightfall.
Mid-day flights are the next best option. With these, it means losing a valuable afternoon of your vacation. This is why most people tend to avoid them and look for plane tickets with departures before noon.
2. Do a price comparison between airlines
Unless you intend to take off and land on very small airports, you should be able to choose from the flights of at least three different airlines. Visit the airport websites to find a list of airline companies that service them. After that, visit the websites of both well-known carriers, but also those of low-cost airline companies. On each website, use their internal search engines to find their flight offers for your travel destination, in your preferred time frame.
After you run a price comparison, you’ll be able to find the cheapest plane tickets offered by an airline company.
3. Look for cheap plane tickets on third-party travel websites
Normally, airline companies offer cheaper plane tickets than third-party travel websites. But sometimes, these travel sites can get you the best deal, so it doesn’t hurt to look. When running a second price comparison to include your new search results, don’t forget to include any taxes or fees practiced by third-party travel websites.
Another thing to consider while on a third-party travel website is vacation packages. If you aren’t staying with friends or family at your destination, you will need accommodation. And if you wish to freely move around to explore more, you may need to rent a car. Travel websites are well-known for offering travel packages that will save you money. After a bit of clicking around, you will only have one payment to cover cheap plane tickets, a budget-friendly hotel, and convenient car rental services.
4. Keep going!
As I mentioned above, you should check for the best plane tickets on both airline company websites and on third-party travel sites. Although it’s pretty easy to do so, it’s a lot of work. But take a moment to appreciate the speed you have nowadays thanks to the internet and flight aggregators. It shouldn’t take you more than an hour to find the best plane tickets so keep going! That last site you intend to look on may just be the one!
5. Sign up for email alerts
Are you a frequent flyer or someone who leaves home only when they get a good deal on plane tickets? If the latter sounds like you, sign up for email alerts from airlines and travel websites. Nowadays, you can even customize these alerts to include offers for specific destinations, airlines, and/or airports. If you’re a fan of last-minute deals for plane tickets, this simple step will bring you closer to affordable flying!
6. Book your plane tickets in advance
Many prefer to wait for those last-minute offers to get their plane tickets. Though popular, they can be pretty risky. Despite the increase in traveler numbers, many airlines are losing money, so they have lowered the number of planes in the air. In addition, existing flights are fuller and sometimes even overbooked. If you wait until the last possible minute, you may be unable to find a seat. Or even worse: you’ll have to pay more to get your seat to make it on time to your destination! That is because while some airlines offer last-minute discounts, others are known to increase the cost of plane tickets for the last available seats.
7. Keep an eye on your flight
There are some downsides to booking your plane tickets too early. If the flight is still pretty empty in the weeks prior to the scheduled departure, the airline company is likely to offer discounted tickets. You’ll feel pretty bad about your choice knowing you could have scored a better deal if you only waited a bit longer.
Another risk is that the company will cancel your flight. Although you will get another flight option or a full refund, you may be unable to get a similar deal on your plane tickets after that. But, depending on your destination and the moment of your flight cancellation, you may be eligible for further compensation, according to EU Air passenger rights.
- Internet connection
- PC, tablet, or smartphone
In the end, getting cheap plane tickets isn’t the only way to cut the flight cost. One of them is to get familiar with your airline’s baggage fees. If you travel with a carry-on bag only, you will either pay nothing or a smaller fee for it. And if you will be traveling with your family, try to pack lighter to reduce the number of checked-in luggage.
Mirela Letailleur is a Romanian travel blogger getting ready to move to France. She writes on The Travel Bunny travel blog about affordable travel in Europe, creator of unique free travel guides, local travel expert. Problem solver. Wannabe coffee guru.