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.
skipping your local airport and using one in a larger city
Depending on your departure point and destination, flights to the USA will vary in duration. If you’re flying from London Heathrow to Chicago-O’Hare, expect your flight to last around eight hours. Flights from Rome, Italy to New York are around 9.5 hours, and flights to Los Angeles from Sydney, Australia, are 14 hours in length nonstop. If your final destination is Miami and your departure point is Tokyo, Japan, plan on your flight taking anywhere between 17 and 24 hours with a stop or two along the way.
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.
were and may not give you anything lower.
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.
Another thing to note when you're booking your flight tickets online is to consider extra fees and "hidden" charges such as credit/debit card fees, baggage, meals, certain seats, extra leg room et cetera. Factor all these in before you compare between different airlines and flights before making the final purchase. Most online travel portals require you to pay via credit card, and may charge you a hefty credit card fee. But some sites also accept PayPal (including American Airlines website aa.com, Agoda.com, hotels.com). If you buy tickets directly from most airlines, you also won't be charge a credit card fee, and you should take those charges into consideration when choosing between booking through an airline website or other travel websites. Some online travel agencies let you pay via wire transfer from your bank account.
Airline ticket prices vary considerably day to day, from airline to airline. Ticket prices sometimes vary so much that some people claim no two seats on the flight cost the same amount unless they are purchased together. Rather than leaving the price of your tickets up to chance and poor planning, use these strategic tips to get the upper hand on your flight purchase. With a few helpful tidbits, you could save hundreds or thousands on your travel around the world.
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.
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.