We all know that feeling. You’re mindlessly scrolling through Instagram and you see your bestie is having the time of their life on some exotic island in Thailand.
Sigh. I wish I was there.
When it comes to traveling, flights are still the most costly part of the entire trip.
The good news is that the very device you’re using to read this post plus an internet connection has made cheap flights easier to find than ever before.
We’re going to show you some tricks and hacks to finding the cheapest flights online no matter where you’re headed.
Remember the days when people used to say,
“Book your flight on Tuesday, it’s the cheapest day to buy tickets! ”
Or Wednesday, or Thursday…you get the point.
Sorry to burst your bubble but that technique no longer applies in this day and age.
In the past, you may have heard about some tips that may get you good deals but the truth is, they don’t matter at all.
Years ago, airlines used to have employees load the sales online by hand. This just isn’t the case anymore as airlines now use automated algorithms to price airfare.
So remember, it doesn’t matter which day of the week you pick to book your flight (the time doesn’t matter either).
Don’t you wish there was a website where you can enter your vacay details and guarantees you’ll be getting the best rate possible for your flight?
One can only dream.
The truth is, there are so many flight comparison sites out there but they’re not created equally.
So how exactly do you find the cheapest flights?
You have to put your elbow grease to good use and really do your research, make sure you’re not leaving any stones unturned.
There are a few websites that tend to consistently show the best results for me when I’m looking for flights.
So let’s dive in.
We searched for a flight from Vancouver (YVR) to Los Angels (LAX) across all the booking tools mentioned above.
Prices came in pretty close but there’s an obvious winner out of the bunch for this flight 😉
Keep in mind that this isn’t an indication of which site is the best, as results will vary and you gotta remember to do your homework and shop around!
Let’s look at the results:
These type of websites are constantly on the lookout for the best deals and will alert you if you sign up for their notifications.
It won’t work if you have a specific destination and dates in mind but it’s perfect for those who are spontaneous.
If you’re itching to get away and don’t have a destination in mind, you can find some pretty good deals this way.
It opens your mind to destinations you never would’ve thought of visiting before!
There’s always going to be a deal to some place.
Use these tools to figure out where to go next:
Google Flights has an Explore Destination feature which lets you set your departure airport and it searches for the cheapest flights all over the world within your specified time period.
Kayak has an explore feature where you can input your departure city and it’ll show a map of the cheapest round-trip flights based on the dates that you select.
If your vacation dates are set in stone but you don’t have a solid idea on where you wanna go, Skyscanner has the perfect search tool for that.
Set your home airport and destination to ‘Everywhere’.
It’ll list all your options from the cheapest to the most expensive places you can fly to during your vacay dates.
It always helps to travel outside of the busy seasons.
If you’re not too sure when’s the best time to book the flight, try using Hopper to get an idea.
The app will send you notifications when it thinks the prices are going to go up or down.
But don’t book directly through the app, we find the prices tend to be a bit higher.
What are mistake fares? We’ve all heard about it.
Mistake fares happen when an employee accidentally posts a fare at a really low price. It can be hit or miss because the airline may choose to not to honour the price.
If you’re a risk-taker, there’s a website that tracks down airline pricing mistakes and it’s called secretflying.com.
Start looking for flights at least 3 months in advance and try to book no later than 6 weeks before the trip. This is when the prices start to go up.
The only exception to this rule is if you’re planning to fly during the holidays (Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, etc.).
If you know for certain you’re going to be travelling during a holiday, book as early as possible.
There’s no point in holding out and hoping for the fare prices to drop. During high season, prices rarely go down.
There are mixed reviews when it comes to this tip.
Some people say it doesn’t make an ounce of difference if you search for your trip in an incognito browser or if you cleared your cache.
And based on your browsing history, they may inflate the price a bit to create that sense of urgency.
We put the theory to the test and the results for both browsers were exactly the same.
If you’re still not convinced, it doesn’t hurt to give it a try. It only takes a few seconds 🙂
Once you’ve found your ideal flight, hop over to the airline’s official website and do a quick search.
This step is especially important when it comes to budget airlines because they don’t always post their cheapest fares on the other sites.
Finding cheap flights is a lot of trial and error, there’s no magic website that’s going to find the cheapest flight every time.
But by being flexible with the dates and destinations, it’ll give you the best chance of scoring a good deal.
It always helps to jot down all your options so you have somewhere to refer back to!