Stick to economy. Possibly the most obvious way to save money on a ticket is to simply sacrifice the desire for creature comforts. You can save hundreds of dollars by flying in 4th or 5th class, rather than opting for 1st or 2nd with any airline. Although leg room and the dinner menu might be lacking, your wallet will thank you for the hefty amount of money you will have saved.
Most major cities in the USA have reliable public transport options to transfer you to the city centres. For example, LAX has a shuttle bus ‘G’ to the Metro Green Line and JFK has the AirTrain connecting to the New York subway. Buses and taxis are also plentiful if you don’t want to negotiate traffic. However, in some cities hiring a car may be the quickest and convenient option to get around especially if you plan on doing a road trip. You’ll find all the major car rental agencies at most US airports, including Budget, Dollar, Hertz and Thrifty.
First, do your research: are there budget airlines unique to the country you're flying out of and where you're headed to? Booking with a budget Australian airline (Jetstar) from Sydney to Honolulu, then an American one from Honolulu to Montreal saved us over $400 each when flying back from Australia to Canada earlier this year. This allowed us to create a thrifty five-day stopover in Hawaii on our way back, which was less exhausting and a lot cheaper! Kiwi.com and AirWander are both great search engine for revealing cheaper routes like this that involve multiple airlines.
There are between 20-40 low-cost airlines in Europe. Some low-cost airlines are much bigger and popular than others and fly everywhere in Europe, while others are smaller and have a limited choice of flights. All of them share one thing: they made traveling affordable to so many people and now flying between two countries in Europe is almost as easy as taking trains or buses between two cities.
If you're flying somewhere that involves a transfer, say from Canada to Australia which typically involves Canada to LA, then LA to Australia, consider that it may be cheaper to book these two legs separately on your own by adding another destination to your trip. It should go without saying that in doing this, you should not book tight layovers. I repeat: do not book layovers that are hours apart! This approach is for those who want to create an additional destination of a few days or more, before catching their next flight. The one exception is when booking with Kiwi.com, who offer their own guarantee on making connecting flights even when not with the same partner airlines.
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.
Keep your dates flexible. Many airlines have specific requirements for a minimum and maximum total number of days to be spent in a location in order to get the best deal. For the cheapest flights, stay for a minimum of 2 nights and a maximum of 30. Try to stay at your destination over a weekend, as flights that bookend a Saturday night are cheaper than those that lack a Saturday stay.
Our detailed how-to guide spells out how to find mistake fares easily on your own. Basically, AirFare Watchdog and Secret Flying are great resources to stalk for finding mistake and sale pricing as they conglomerate slashed ticket rates all in one spot. Another great approach is to search for flights for an entire month using Skyscanner (Tip #3 in this article). This will allow you to easily spot a significantly reduced fare against what's displayed that month, and has twice helped us stumble on error fares ourselves.