There’s nothing more frustrating than booking flights somewhere and then hearing about how you friend got them for $300 cheaper the other day.
Or suddenly you see ‘Cheap as chips’ flights on the television and hear about a great holiday deal on the radio from an Airline to the very destination you’d just booked!
Unfortunately I can’t help with luck, but I may be able to give you some useful advice on where to look for flights and how to scoop up the best deals.
1. Sign Up To Airline Websites To Get Deal Alerts
I’m currently signed up to Grabaseat – a website associated with Air New Zealand where they advertise cheap flights. Most of the flights are within NZ but every now and again they’ll have a big sale on Overseas Destinations. Right now they’re doing big discounts on flights to the USA and the Islands (Raratonga, Fiji, Cook Islands etc…)
The dates are set within a time frame for either that month or next year so you have to be flexible with your travel dates if you want to take advantage of their good deals.
On their 11th birthday, they did $11 flights around NZ – bargain!
Virgin Australia also has a V-mail subscription so you’re the first to know about any Happy Hour Sales or Holiday Packages they’re advertising.
Subscribe to the Air Asia Newsletter, they have some amazing sales if you’re planning to go to Asia. Air Asia has just begun flying from Auckland, NZ so you can grab some great deals!
At the time of writing this, you could head to the Gold Coast from Auckland for NZD$79 from Feb – Oct 2017 or Auckland – Bangkok for $900 return in November this year.
Sometimes the best deals are only available if you’ve signed up to an Airlines e-mailing list. They’ll come with a promo code to enter at the checkout or a special link that’s only given to you in the newsletter.
For any American readers of my blog, the links below are of some popular US airlines that do E-mails with sales announcements, weekly discounts or special weekend fares.
2. Hide Yourself
Not literally of course.
But when you look up flights online, go Incognito in your Chrome web browser. When you’re in your normal web browser, flight prices can increase when a certain route is repeatedly searched because of the cookies the websites stores.
The website wants to scare you into booking flights quickly before prices get even higher so going Incognito means Chrome won’t save a record of what you visit or tell the website your history.
Every time you re-open an incognito window your cookies are reset so if you want to start with a clean slate for each flight search (so your previous searches aren’t “remembered” potentially inflating costs), close all your incognito windows, open up a new incognito window and then enter in your flights.
To go Incognito on your computer:
- Open Chrome.
- In the top right, click the icon: Menu or More
- Select New Incognito Window.
- A new window will open with a gray incognito icon .
3. Use Flight Search Engines
Whenever it’s time to look for a flight, I always head to Sky Scanner as it’s really easy to use and shows you all the Airlines available for the flight you’re wanting to take.
If you’re actually not fussed about where to go, type in ‘Everywhere’ in the Destination box and the site will show you the cheapest cities to travel to for the dates you’ve selected.
Skyscanner doesn’t sell flights directly ; instead, they show the cheapest deal for a desired route after which you’re automatically transferred to the airline or travel supplier’s website to make the booking directly.
Webjet is a good website to look for flights online. However they do have a booking fee when you book through them which sometimes makes it a little bit more expensive overall.
They have different websites for different countries so check them out below:
You can also look on websites like Expedia or TripAdvisor for flight and hotel combo deals. However I find that I don’t quite find the cheapest flights on these websites.
4. Go To The Airline Directly
If you’ve found a great flight through one of the search engines above, always head to the actual Airline Website and see if you can find the same deal.
Fee’s are hidden quite often in search engines whereas on the actual Airlines webpage, you can see exactly what you’re paying for. You can upgrade your seat, add an extra bag, add a meal or select just a ‘carry on’ if that’s all you’re wanting to bring.
If something goes wrong with the flight or you need to change a booking it’s much easier dealing with the Airline directly instead of through a third party. Reservations that you’ve made through another website may not be processed properly, leading to the airline and websites passing blame back and forth and you being stuck in the middle!
I like using the search engines as a guide for whats out there and then heading to the Airlines Website directly to book through them and get the best price.
This is also handy for when you’re booking hotels. If you find a good price online, e- mail or call up the hotel to see if they can match it or beat it. Third parties usually take a cut of the sale so Hotels are always happier if you book through them so they get all the profit.
5. Fly On Un-favorable Flights
Most people don’t want to fly at night time or really early in the morning. You’ll find the overnight flights are much cheaper than your usual day time ones. (I always find this an advantage if I’m going on a long flight so I can arrive in the morning)
If you’re not too bothered on what day to leave, try and get a Tuesday, Wednesday or Saturday flight as they tend to be the cheapest days of the week.
Most holiday makers like to come back from vacation on a Sunday so as to extend their holiday which makes coming back on a Saturday a little bit better for your wallet.
However, not all airlines fly every day of the week to your destination. Airline, current demand and seasonality can completely overthrow the Tuesday & Wednesday-is-cheapest rule so make sure you’re doing your research in the search engines.
The worst time to fly is obviously over the Christmas/New Year period.
Everyone is wanting to head back home for Christmas and Airlines know this so they’ll hike the prices up. If your whole family has booked a beautiful batch for the Christmas Break, of course you’re going to spend that extra $200 on flights so you get to be there too.
When you’re booking a trip over the holidays, use your booking engine’s ‘flexible dates’ option to see which days will save you the most money.
6. Get Student Deals (Even if you’re not a Student)
Believe it or not ‘Student Flights’ actually have deals for people that aren’t students. I’ve lost count on the amount of times I’ve told people to go to a Travel Agent that specializes in Student Prices and they come back to me with “but i’m not studying”
Usually student fares are for anyone under a certain age (eg, 26 years old)
Websites for ‘younger ones’
STA Travel NZ
Student Flights NZ
STA Travel UK
Student Universe – (Can use this website globally, just change the currency in the top right hand corner)
One Travel – USA
awesome! I am a travel blogger as well and I love giving budget tips!! Great post!
Hi, great post! But I’ve discovered a new flights comparator that work very well, because it includes in every research the many budget airlines which other travel search engines hide. Also it includes a new low-cost online travel agencies and little known, who have excellent prices compared to the classics Expedia & C.
It called trivafly.com and it’s already my new favorite!
i have followed your blog as i’m very interested on cheap flights