One of the first questions I get from people when I tell them about a trip I am going on is always “How did you afford the flight?” I actually like answering this question because I almost always score a deal on my flights. For international travel especially, the flight is often the most expensive part of the trip. Now, I pride myself on finding great deals on flights, such as my flight to Hawaii which only cost me $365 roundtrip. In this post, I want to help you all find cheap flights too! This collection of tips is how I find great deals and hopefully it can help you too!
Note: This post contains affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here.
Scott’s Cheap Flights and Facebook Pages
This is hands down the best tool in my arsenal for finding cheap flights, especially if you have flexible travel dates or even locations. So what are these? Well, Scott’s Cheap Flights is an e-mail list where they send out great flight deals that they have found. There is a free option or a premium option. Premium subscribers receive emails for every deal and free subscribers only get some of them. Scott’s Cheap Flights is actually where I found my Hawaii flight! You can select the regions you want to receive flight deals for and then boom! You will start getting emails with deals!
In addition to Scott’s Cheap Flights, there are Facebook pages dedicated to sharing flight deals. My favorite is Secret Flying because their deals always seem to be relevant to me. Since it’s a Facebook page, you simply have to like the page to see the deals. However, with Facebook’s algorithm, you will want to set it up to either appear first in your news feed or notify you of new posts so that you don’t miss any deals! With both Secret Flying and Scott’s, you will have the most success if you have money saved up and are prepared to buy a flight with little planning. For our Hawaii trip, my sister, my friends, and I all had no plans to go on this trip. Then, we saw the flight deal, each had the money for it and the flexibility to decide to book it. We booked in February for a May trip so we had time to figure out the rest. Definitely keep up with both of these options for the chance to grab a cheap flight!
Use Google Flights
Google flights is actually one of my favorite ways to search flights. Their flight search is super user-friendly and has great tools for finding the best flights. I particularly love their price graph tool(pictured below). It allows you to see the best dates to travel for a trip of so many days. It shows you a simple visual comparison of different travel dates and helps you narrow down your search to the perfect dates. I also love the ability to search for more vague destinations. For instance, if I know I want to go on vacation from July 7th through 17th but I am not sure where I want to go, I can choose my departure airport and put “Europe” or “Asia” as my destination. Google will then give me prices for multiple destinations and I can choose which one I want. Its amazing and makes it easy to plan my trips!
Book at certain “ideal” times
For some unknown to me reason, Tuesday at 3pm about 6 weeks out is the “ideal” time to book flights. I do not understand why, but I have actually seen the “Tuesday Effect”, as I like to call it, in action. It makes sense that flights would be more expensive on weekends because more people are booking then. That is basic supply and demand economics(I think? Idk Econ isn’t my strong suit). But honestly, how many people do you think are booking flights on a Tuesday afternoon? Most people are at work at that time! Now, this isn’t a guaranteed way to get your flight cheaper, but hey, everything helps!
Set Price Alerts
If I know far enough in advance that I am going on a trip, the first thing I do is set a price alert on Kayak.com for the trip. With the alerts, you can set the alert for specific dates, a month range or just ask it to search for the cheapest options in a larger window. For example, I currently have price alerts set to help me find a deal on my flight to my friend’s wedding in England this September. Each day Kayak sends me an email like the one pictured telling me what the current price of flights for the dates I selected. It’s a simple and effective way to track flight prices and score the best deals!
Don’t be afraid of Budget Airlines
Budget Airlines are the necessary evil of finding cheap flights. If you aren’t aware, budget airlines are airlines that serve flights with no frills. In the US we have Spirit and Frontier and internationally there is Norwegian, WOW Air, Ryanair, Easyjet and others. These airlines offer you a cheap flight but it doesn’t include much other than a seat on the plane. No food, no baggage, and no extras, but if you are a low maintenance traveler this may work for you! I have flown Ryanair and Easyjet throughout Europe and Norwegian between the UK and the US and they really aren’t bad at all for the price. Definitely don’t write these off!
Bonus Tip: Join Airline Rewards Programs
Being a part of an airline’s rewards programs is a free way to earn money off future flights. You simply sign up and earn miles for flying with them. These miles can be used to cover part or all of the cost of a flight. Better yet, airlines like Delta offer exclusive sales to their rewards program members. If an airline has a credit card, that is also a great way to turn everyday expenses into travel rewards! I personally have the Delta Skymiles Card and I love it! I earned miles everyday towards my travels and it comes with the added benefit of a free checked bag whenever I fly with Delta and their partners! You can sign up for the card here if you want these great benefits!
Hopefully these tips can help you score a great deal on your next flight! And always keep in mind that sometimes you just get lucky! Be sure to leave a comment with what trip you want to score a cheap flight for. From one Misguided Millennial to the world, I hope you all enjoy the cheap flights you find!