How to find cheap flights
With Halloween (and even Thanksgiving prep) is in full swing, we already have our sights set on vacation travel. We dream of a variety of different trips near and far, but sometimes our eyes are bigger than our wallets, especially with the cost of living right now. But just because travel is expensive doesn’t mean you have to settle for the most expensive flights. We took a look at Expedia‘s 2023 Air Travel Hacks Report for some tips on how to find cheap flights so you can have a bigger travel budget for other (i.e. more fun) parts of your trip.
What are the cheapest days to fly?
The days of the week that usually end up having cheap flights are Tuesday and Wednesday. This is both a good thing and a bad thing, because although they are generally cheaper, they are mid-week, which we know can be difficult for some people to get around. Even if that’s not an option, do what you can to avoid flying on Saturdays and Sundays as they usually end up being the most expensive.
When it comes to the day of the week to book your flight, it’s actually the opposite. The Air Travel Hacks report shows that booking your flight on a Sunday can save you an average of 5% on domestic flights and 15% on international flights. Sounds good to us!
How to book cheap flights
Give yourself plenty of time to find a flight before last minute price hikes. Expedia’s Air Travel Hacks report shows that booking domestic flights one month in advance and international flights six months in advance can save you 10%. One to three months before a domestic trip is a good way to see if there are any trends in ticket prices and to get an idea of what to expect.
Maximize your spending by using a credit card that offers travel rewards. You can pay for necessities like gas and groceries to earn points – just make sure you pay for them every month! Check our podcast episode with The Points Guy for more travel ideas.
Compare the prices
Unless you’re a die-hard airline fan, don’t be afraid to compare flight prices to get the best deal. If there are multiple airports in your area, see which one has the best prices. If you don’t mind a longer travel day, see if there are layover flights that are cheaper than direct flights. Compare a variety of prices, airlines and days of the week to see what works best for your destination.
Time of the day
When looking for flights, chances are cheaper flights will be at less convenient times, such as early morning or late evening. If you don’t mind the messy sleep schedule, go for it! Booking a flight earlier can also reduce the risk of your plans being disrupted. According to the Air Travel Hacks Report, flights departing after 3 p.m. are 50% more likely to be canceled than those departing earlier in the day.
Tools of the trade
Use tools like Google Flights‘ price chart (in the upper right corner) or Incredibly cheap flights to find good deals. You can also try Hopper, which is an app that lets you know whether you should buy a ticket now or later based on its price change predictions. If you are lacking in spontaneity, Scott’s Cheap Flights will email you the most affordable flights from a given location for potentially great deals.
Although some sources dispute it, members of the team have also saved hundreds of dollars on their flights by clearing their cache or searching for tickets in incognito mode. All you have to do is figure out which sites work best for you, and after some trial and error, you’ll know exactly where to go for the best experience.
If you want cheaper holiday flights, you may need to be more flexible with your dates, according to some 2021 Expedia flight data. You can save an average of 5% on Thanksgiving travel if you depart Sunday through Tuesday or an average of 15% during Christmas week if you leave before Thursday. It might upset your travel plans, but if you can save money on the trip itself, you’ll have more money (and less stress) to do things you’re truly passionate about.
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