Don’t search for or buy multiple tickets in a single purchase. Airlines always show the highest ticket price in a group of tickets. For example, if you are a family of four and searching for four seats, the airline will find four seats together and show your fare based on the highest ticket price. So if seat A is $200, seats B and C are $300, and seat D is $400, it will price those tickets as $400 each instead of adding up the individual ticket prices. Therefore, always search for tickets as a single person. Afterwards, in the checkout process, you can pick your seats so you and your family are sitting together.
Search at the right time. Turns out, there is a best time to search for flights. After several studies of domestic (to the US) air carriers, it has been determined that the best time to search for flights is around 3:00pm Eastern time on a Tuesday. Why? Around this time is when airlines release their discounted flight options, and look to fill up last-minute flights for the upcoming weekend. Therefore, save your flight searching for a mid-afternoon break on the nearest upcoming Tuesday.
Once you have found a date, you can use the Internet to
The Internet is the easiest route and might save you some
If you have to be at your destination by a particular time, be careful about waiting too close to your departure time before purchasing your ticket. If you do not have your seat reserved a week before you need to be there you run the risk of not being able to get a flight. This is especially true of flights to popular destinations and during peak travel season.
Although it is arguably quite tough to save up enough miles to get a free flight, using the miles that you've accumulated to offset ticket prices or upgrade seats can still help you save some serious money. Taking advantage of the bonus offers you get when you sign up for top travel credit cards is definitely the easiest way to collect enough miles for 100% free flights.
Finding a cheap flight is about being flexible and smart in where you go, when you go, and how you get there. Follow the tips above, but don’t waste forever finding a cheap flight. If you’re spending more than an hour booking a flight, you’re spending too much time. Spend 30-40 minutes finding and booking a cheap flight at a price you’re OK paying and move on with your life. I never second-guess myself on flights. You’ll go crazy if you do.
While the above search engines are great, they do not always include small airlines, especially in less popularly booked routes and/or in remote regions. If you're flying somewhere obscure, Google search and ask around if there exists a local airline. While in South America we learnt that the LADE Air in Argentina (run by the military) has cheap flights to Patagonia, which is of course not listed in mass search engines online.
Airline fares will keep rising the closer you get to departure, but there is a sweet spot when the airlines begin to either lower or increase fares based on demand. Don’t wait until the last second but don’t book far, far in advance either. The best time to book your flight is around 6–8 weeks before your departure, or around three months before if you are going to your destination during their peak season.
If you're looking for true Americana, your choice is clear: road trip. Will you drive the soothing ocean view and coastal mountains Pacific Highway Route 1, or the truly amazing Beartooth Highway in Montana/Wyoming? How about the Sun Road in Montana through Glacier National Park, or the technically challenging Tail of the Dragon in Tennessee/North Carolina? Or will you tour the Main Street of America itself: U.S. Route 66?
Whether you know exactly where you're going or you just want to find to the cheapest possible country to fly into, Kiwi.com is a great tool to get the wanderlust going and save some big bucks. Hop on their site and enter your departure city, then select a date range to fly. Approximate costs then appear over hundreds of countries around the globe from your departure point, while the list of destinations is sorted by price, allowing you to see the most cost-effective place you can fly.