When you do find small airlines, even if they are listed in a search engine results, it often pays to check the company site which may reveal exclusive online offers not found in a regular search engine. For example, when flying in Western Canada, I found that Hawk Air, a small and local company offers weekly deals on certain days. Be sure to double check!
Moreover, it’s always cheaper to fly during the middle of the week than on a weekend, because most people travel on the weekends and airlines hike their prices then. Prices are also cheaper if you fly after a major holiday as are early-morning or late-night flights are cheaper because fewer people want to travel then (who wants to wake up early?!).
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.
Again this varies a lot depending on where you are going, Los Angeles is cheapest around January due to it being the rainy season so you’ll find the cheapest flights to the USA then, Miami experience its off season from June to August as temperatures get very hot so cheap flight tickets are more readily available if you plan in advance and book them early.
Look into neighboring airports. The nearest major airport is a mere 20 minutes from your house, but several smaller airports are located within an hour’s drive. Rather than relying on the nearest or largest airport only, look into neighboring airports as well. These smaller airports aren’t controlled as heavily by large airline carriers, and have more ability to adjust their tickets and offer lower prices. Spend a few extra dollars to drive to an airport further away, and you may save several hundred on your flight bill.
By taking the two above mentioned approaches, you are sure to come across cheap airfare rates. Even if you can’t come across any amazing deals or discounts, you can still price compare airlines and specific flights to at least prevent yourself from paying more for your airline tickets than you need to.
a higher priced hotel room and airline tickets.
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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.
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.
the arrival and departure dates by a day or two to see if
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Airline tickets can be expensive no matter how you look at
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Finally, it’s time for you and your family to pack up and
Don’t be afraid of the little guy. It’s easy, and sometimes perceived as safer, to rely on large airlines as the sole means of air transportation. Instead of only considering large airlines, consider using small budget carriers. These small, area-specific airlines may offer lower prices as an incentive to choose them over the big guys. Do a search of budget carriers in your area or destination and see if they also offer lower prices.
You can even book your own multi-day layovers, essentially allowing you to see 2 destinations for the price of 1. Rather than spend a day sitting in the airport, you can spend multiple days exploring the city you are laying over in. AirWander is a specialized search engine for doing exactly this. Put in your origin, final destination, and number of days you want to stopover. AirWander will return a list of places you can visit on your stopover, often even cheaper than a regular flight search engine! To learn how to do this, read our guide on How to Get Free Extended Layovers & Hack One Trip Into Two.