Of all the benefits gained through globalization, cheaper international shipping might just be one of the best. We can order lambs wool directly from New Zealand or coffee directly from Columbia for a relatively low flat fee, which is wonderful. Why, then, does it cost so much to fly a person overseas? The answer is rather a mystery. Regardless, if we know where to find cheap flights, we can still get from Point A to Point B on a budget. Read on to find out how to sidestep horrendous airline pricing and get to the fjords without breaking the bank.
Step One: Go Incognito
Cookies are great when they’re oven fresh, but far creepier when they’re lodged in your browser. Unfortunately — and thanks to cookies — those clever airline companies know when you search for flights and up their prices automatically to try to scare you into booking quickly. To avoid this annoyance, always search for flights in incognito mode (Mac users: private browsing mode on Safari). Every time you open an incognito window, your cookies get reset, so you can escape the naughty airline price trap.
Step Two: Update Your Flight Search Engine
Search engines are not all the same — and that applies particularly to travel search engines. To get the best possible prices, pick one of the following SEs:
Skyscanner (comprehensive flight searches across a host of leading airlines)
CheapOair (I’ve consistently had good luck with this one)
JetRadar (includes local budget airlines)
Kiwi (you can combine routes to create the cheapest composite travel plan)
Momondo (sometimes cheaper than Skyscanner)
Step Three: Go Budget
Sure you want the extra legroom, but if your flight only lasts 2.5 hours and costs $800 more for a business-class seat, why not go budget? Some budget airlines are better than others, so advance research is always warranted. You probably won’t get any free onboard food, so you’ll need to bring snacks, and you may have to pay extra for checked luggage. Still, the cost-cutting aspect of budget travel often makes a little discomfort seem less serious.
Step Four: Flex Your Airport
So you want to fly to London. Great! Did you know that there are six — yes, six — international airports in the greater London area? Other major cities have a similar setup. New York, for example, has three major international airports and a host of smaller airports, while Los Angeles plays host to five international airports. In short, if you have trouble finding a good flight price to one airport, try an alternative. A travel agent can help you sort through your options.
Step Five: Flex Your Day
If you can, be flexible with your outbound and inbound flight days. Moving your holiday departure date by just one day can save you hundreds of dollars. Weekday flights are often cheaper than weekend flights, and some months are much more expensive than others. Many search engines now give you the option to be flexible: Some allow you to flex a few days here and there, whereas others let you see fluctuating prices for a whole month. These steps might sound fiddly, but they can slash your flight prices significantly.
To recap, you can find cheap flights if you use effective search engines in incognito mode and if you opt for budget airlines. You can save even more money by flexing your outbound and return days and by changing the airport you fly into. So don’t let anyone tell you it can’t be done: Put these tips to the test and save money on your next vacation.