How to Find Cheap Flights Online

The most expensive part of any trip is usually the airfare, with most people paying a fortune for specific dates or destinations. But did you know that there are a number of hacks that could help you fly smarter?

Flight prices can fluctuate greatly depending on time, season, and demand. In fact, the difference could be hundreds of dollars depending on when, where, and how you book. The key to big savings is to keep your eyes peeled on the market. Above all else, it’s about being flexible and having a sense of adventure to explore those unexpected places. You never know where your passport will take you next…

If discovering new places and enjoying exciting cultural experiences gets the blood pumping in your veins, read on for the inside intel on cheap flights to any destination!

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Tips and Tricks to Find Cheap Flights Online

While it’s not rocket science, finding great flight deals takes a little practice. It also requires time and patience, as you’ll need to do additional research and be ready to shop around.

The truth is that airlines have thousands of amazing deals available every day. However, they’re often missed by travelers unaware of all the tips and tricks to score the best deals. So, to get more for your buck—and have more funds left over to spend on your trip—follow our top airfare hacks.

Be Flexible With Your Travel Dates

Having rigid plans can be costly because of supply and demand. Everyone wants to jet off to a sunny island destination in winter, while locations in Europe are particularly popular in the summer months due to the continental climate. Travel with the crowds, and you’ll likely be paying premium prices.

Protect your purse strings by being flexible about when you travel. If possible, fly off-season to get the best deals. Even opting to fly just a week or two out of season could help you claw back some serious cash.

Bonus tip—most people travel on weekends, too, so try to fly mid-week and don’t rule out those super early morning flights. Hefty savings can be achieved by setting your alarm a little earlier!

Don’t Get Hung Up on Specific Destinations

We get it; you have your heart set on Paris. But did you know the city of Nancy in the Grand Est region is just as charming with more baroque and art nouveau landmarks than you’ll know what to do with? Or how about visiting the city of Bordeaux, which offers the same amount of French elegance as Paris but with a bit more affordability?

Being open to alternative destinations not only looks after your bank balance, but it can transform your experience as a traveler, helping you uncover places off the beaten path. 

Ideally, it’s best to be flexible for both when and where you’re going. But if your dates are set, not being picky about your destination can be your ticket to cheaper deals.

Consider Budget Airlines

Budget airlines, sometimes called ‘no-frills airlines’ or ‘low-cost carriers,’ are a great way to save money. In some cases, it’s possible to save up to 80% just by choosing to fly with a budget airline.

In the past, low-cost carriers were only used for short trips, but these days they offer short, medium, and even some long-haul routes around the world. Sure, it may be less comfortable, and extras like in-flight food and luggage may not be included in the price. However, it still works out cheaper than flying with a luxury airline.

Get the full lowdown on choosing budget airlines here.

A beautiful sunset mid-flight

Consider Flying Direct and Non-Direct

Flying direct is the most convenient way to travel, but don’t overlook indirect routes during your search. Sometimes, it’s cheaper to fly to another destination first. As a result, you can save up to hundreds of dollars in exchange for a little extra travel time (just don’t forget to pack some in-flight entertainment).

Leave at least three hours between connections to ensure you have enough leeway for delays. Did you know that you can only claim on your travel insurance when there has been at least a three-hour delay? Anything less can’t be claimed, so a three-hour buffer is essential when booking connecting travel.

Keep an Eye Open for Special Deals and Offers

So, the more flexible you are, the more likely you’ll be able to grab those amazing offers. That’s why it’s always worth keeping an eye on the market. At Next Vacay, we keep our eyes glued to the market for incredible round-trip deals to destinations worldwide. Some of our recent trips include Florida in October for $67, Alaska in December for $125, and St. Thomas in January for $225. Our system continuously scans thousands of flight databases for the cheapest flights to destinations worldwide. Find out more about how it works.

Browse Multiple Flight Search Engines

To view as many deals as possible, we recommend using more than one search facility. One flight search engine we think is worth checking out—along with signing up for Next Vacay—is Google Flights. This tool lets you quickly search flights across different airlines and departure airports, as well as multiple destinations and travel dates.

The calendar feature lets you compare airfares easily, and you can even set up a price alert to get notifications on future flights and price drops.

An Airplane fills a blue sky - cheap flights online

Student? Use the Available Student Discount Schemes

You could be eligible for cheaper airfare if you’re a student, so always check before booking. Certain airlines provide student discounts up to 20-30% off the standard fare.

Some airlines that do this include Southwest Airlines, American Airlines, United Airlines, and Delta Air Lines. Also, bear in mind that partner airlines can honor these discounts too. For example, airlines such as KLM and Air France that are in partnership with Delta may offer you the same benefits.

Book Parts of Your Journey with Different Airlines 

Avoid booking directly with one airline as this restricts the number of flights you’ll have access to. Instead, use a flight search engine or deal scanner to mix and match your own travel. Not only does it mean you get to shop around for the best bargain, but you may find a flight time that better suits your itinerary.

Use Points, Rewards, and Air Miles

Even if you’re an infrequent traveler who just likes to vacation once or twice a year, it’s still worth joining these programs. You could earn free flights, free hotel stays, or other travel perks—and every little bit helps!

Book as ‘Individual’ Travelers Even When Traveling as a Group

Traveling in a group? The airlines don’t need to know this. In fact, searching for multiple tickets for friends or family could end up costing you more than searching for a single individual. If this seems strange, there’s a reason: airlines display the highest ticket prices for groups.

By searching for one single ticket at a time, you’ll get access to lower ticket prices. Once you’re ready to book, you can always pick seats next to each other at checkout. But even if you don’t end up sitting together with your group, it could be a worthwhile sacrifice for cheap flights.

Leverage Your Currency and Take Advantage of Exchange Rates

It’s second nature to search in your home currency when booking flights. But sometimes, it can be worth using a different currency, depending on whichever country’s currency is stronger or weaker. Of course, this doesn’t always save you money, but it only takes a minute to check. Hence, it’s worth giving it a try for possible additional savings.

Airplane from below - Cheap Flights Online

Discover the ‘Perfect’ Time to Book

Knowing when to book matters—we bet you didn’t know there’s a sweet spot for the best airfare deals. We recommend booking early, but not too early. Around two or three months before you travel is a good rule of thumb (or five months ahead for peak season travel).

It’s also usually cheaper to fly mid-week as everyone travels on the weekend. But remember, none of this is an exact mathematical formula. Instead, use flight scanners to keep an eye on different destinations and travel times and stay up-to-date on special offers and flight deals. Find out more about the cheapest days to book here and join the Next Vacay newsletter for deals on your future cheap flights.

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