When it comes to getting to Bora Bora, Sydney or New York City, it’s easy to spend at least half of the vacation budget on flights alone, but with the crop up of Skyscanner, Kayak and more, it’s never been easier for you to save big. Still, there are many things to keep in mind when searching these sites for flight deals because if you’re sneaky, you can make the savings come piling in and leave the budget for great things such as skydiving, winery tours and daily excursions.
- Book at the right time.
About six weeks before your desired flight time is when it’s going to be cheapest, and if you want to get super exact, studies show that 47 days prior to liftoff is going to give you the best deal. That means you don’t want to book six months in advance as people used to do because it’s not going to be financially better than waiting a little later. So make a note to get really interested about two months out—it will save.
- Pick your travel days (and times) with care.
I like to travel on Tuesdays in general (the airport is usually less full), and hotels have better deals during the week than on the weekends, but it turns out that Tuesdays are a great day to fly for your wallet as well because airlines can’t afford empty seats and not many people like to sacrifice the extra vacation days. But throw in Wednesdays (and Saturdays as well) to that equation, and you’ve got tried and true days that are going to save you a bundle both ways.
- Make an impossible connection.
Whenever I’m traveling a long way, I try to have the smallest amount of flight connection time possible, and that’s just because I like to get it all done as quickly as possible. But the flip side of this deal is that if I miss my connection, I get new arrangements, and a lot of the time it’s better than what I had before.
Recently on a flight from Budapest to Atlanta, I missed my connection in Amsterdam and then no other flights were going out that day. What happened to me? The airline put me up in a hotel for the night with two meals, transportation, and upgraded my seat to business class (including an aisle)! Plus I got to explore Amsterdam for the day—all for free. Another time, I missed my connection, was booked for a better flight and got access to the premium lounge while I waited. Can you say international Netflix binge? Yes, please!
I was flexible, and it totally worked out for me. So if you can be flexible as well, you can either get a better flight or just a great one-day adventure in a new city.
- Get email alerts for your trip details.
If you’re set on a specific date of travel, the best deal is to set up alerts for pricing. Websites such as Kayak.com will keep an alert on a specific week and dates, sending them straight to your inbox and showing the difference in the day before. After a couple of days of lower pricing, it’s easy to see you’re making a good choice.
- Use your 24 hours of cancellation.
Not many people know about this hack, but even non-refundable flights technically have 24 hours of cancellation—and you should definitely cash in on this. Once you book a non-refundable flight, spend the next 24 hours looking for other deals or scouring your email alerts for the possibility that something even better might come in. Don’t be afraid to cancel or to rebook with the airline; it can really save you in the long run.
Flights can get pricey, especially if you’re down to the wire, but if you take these tips into consideration, you can get off with a steal! Happy travels!
About the Author: Caroline is an avid traveler and enjoys writing about her adventures. Knowing there’s more to the world than the bubble she lives in makes her want to travel even further.