How to Save Money on Flights: Insider Tips to Affordable Air Travel

March 10, 2024

Back in 2019, I found myself staring at a flight to Thailand that cost less than my monthly gym membership. My jaw nearly hit the floor, and I thought, "I have to get on that flight!" That decision sparked a life-altering adventure filled with street food, ancient temples, and one unforgettable full moon party. But here's the kicker - this wasn't a one-time deal. With a bit of planning and knowledge of some industry secrets, I was able to find incredible deals like this all the time.

So, what’s the secret?

Well, I suggest you buckle up as I will be sharing with you hot industry-tips on how to save money on flights and get your hands on affordable flights!

Flight Prices: A Quick ‘n Dirty Breakdown

Airline pricing can be sometimes confusing. But once you understand it, it's like a secret language that can unlock crazy good deals. Here's the rundown: Airlines use algorithms that consider factors like oil prices, demand, competitors' prices, and the timing of your booking to set airfare. And while it may seem like a game of roulette, there are methods on how you can win it.

The Secret Sauce of Flight Booking Timing

timing

Timing is everything. And I don't mean timing your click to buy just right, although that does help too. What I'm talking about is being savvy about the day of the week you book and the times you fly.

According to a report by Expedia and the Airlines Reporting Corporation, Sundays can be the best day to find deals. And as for flight times? Those crack-of-dawn flights or red-eyes are where you'll find the most savings.

The Secrets to Scoring Cheap Flights: Compare Search Engines

cheap flights

Do you feel like Sherlock Holmes every time you sit down to book a flight? Well, you should! Because using flight search engines like Skyscanner, Momondo, and Google Flights is a detective game. They search through hundreds of flights to find the best deals. But the key to unlocking their potential lies in their filters. They have features like "cheapest month", "flexible dates", and "anywhere" options to make finding the best deals a breeze. Play around with them; you'll be amazed at the deals you can find.

The Magic of Flexibility in Travel Plans

flexible travel

Flexibility is your golden ticket to savings. Not being tied to specific dates or destinations gives you the upper hand when it comes to finding the cheapest flights. Last year, I had my heart set on a trip to Brazil. But a quick search showed me that flights to Colombia were half the price. So, I went with the flow, changed my plans, and ended up having one of the best trips of my life.

Take Advantage of Error Fares and Hidden City Ticketing

error fares

Now, this is where things get exciting. "Error fares" are mistakes in ticket pricing that can lead to ridiculously cheap flights. Websites like Secret Flying and Airfare Watchdog can help you find these errors before they're corrected. But remember, airlines may not always honor these fares, so don't build your entire trip around them. And as for "hidden city ticketing," it can be a gamble. While you might save a few bucks, you could also find yourself stuck if the airline changes their route.
Another app that you should be using is Skiplagged. This app lets you find hidden city fares, also called point-beyond ticketing or skiplagging. How does it work? It is when you buy a ticket to a point beyond where you actually want to go. Your ticket lists one destination but the city you actually want to visit is the layover city on the way.

For example, you want to go from Bangkok, Thailand to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia but those flights are expensive. Skiplagged might find a cheaper flight from Bangkok to Singapore with a layover in Kuala Lumpur. So, you book the flight to Singapore, but you get off at the layover in Kuala Lumpur and remain there instead.

This method has some caveats to it, however, if it can work for you, you can often save significantly!

Flying High with Loyalty Programs and Credit Card Points

credit card

While it might take a bit of time and a certain knack for juggling points and miles, loyalty programs and credit card points can save you a ton on flights. Airline loyalty programs like Delta SkyMiles, American Airlines AAdvantage, or even a travel rewards credit card can build up serious rewards for regular travelers. Just remember to read the fine print and don’t let those pesky expiration dates sneak up on you!

Set Fare Alerts and Subscribing to Newsletters

While it might take a bit of time and a certain knack for juggling points and miles, loyalty programs and credit card points can save you a ton on flights. Airline loyalty programs like Delta SkyMiles, American Airlines AAdvantage, or even a travel rewards credit card can build up serious rewards for regular travelers. Just remember to read the fine print and don’t let those pesky expiration dates sneak up on you!

The Last-Minute and Standby Myths

Ever heard someone brag about the killer deal they got by booking at the last minute or flying standby? Yeah, about that - it’s not quite as common as you might think. While you can occasionally find last-minute deals (especially with package holidays), more often than not, booking in advance is the way to go.

Wrap Up: Make Expensive Flights a Thing of the Past

We’ve journeyed through the complex world of affordable airfare together, and now it's time to fly. Take these insider tips and make those dream trips a reality. Don't let high flight prices clip your wings – your adventure is waiting for you!

And if you want more insider travel tips, please subscribe or follow. There's a whole world out there, and I can't wait to explore it with you. Happy travels!

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