How to Find Cheap Travel Deals

Posted on:
Student Lifehacks
finding best travel deals

Main topics in this article concern travelling, last minute flight deals, cheap places to travel, travel websites, travel agency, last minute travel, cheap travel deals, travel checklist, cheap train tickets, cheap bus tickets.

How to Find Cheap Travel Deals

Some of you who have already decided on your travel destination, secured travel insurance, saved or earned money to truly enjoy your trip, and booked your flight tickets and even went one step further to book hotel or Airbnb rooms – well done! The rest of you, making up probably more than 50% of the category, are still unclear about what you would like to do for the upcoming summer holidays. Taking into account that our modern capitalist system lives by the formula “demand creates its own supply”, you might have already noticed that the prices for travel deals have gone up significantly during summer months. It should not be surprising to you since a lot of people are searching for the same tickets to go to the same holiday destinations. That is why here at BooksRun we decided to help you avoid post-holiday syndrome and potential black holes in your budget: below you will find our useful tips on looking for cheap flight tickets and best travel package deals. There is no rocket science behind traveling cheaply: Nomadic Matt has shared all his tips in How to Travel the World on $50 a Day: Third Edition: Travel Cheaper, Longer, Smarter. It’s definitely a must-read if you want to embrace a nomadic lifestyle. If you’re just want to save on your next holiday, follow our advice with no reservations!

  • Ignore certain myths

A lot of people think that there is a magic rule or a secret trick to finding cheap air travel to the destination of your dreams. There is tons of information available online on how to search for flight deals. The reality is that most of this information is outdated or has never been true:

  • Buying plane tickets on Tuesday is NOT cheaper
  • There is NO proof that searching incognito helps to find cheaper travel deals
  • There is no specific time period to book your airfare at a reduced price
  • You can’t predict flight tickets and certain websites are just guessing them

Nowadays the systems responsible for determining the prices of the tickets are very smart: in fact, these are the computer-based pricing algorithms that take into account the time of the year, tickets demand, weather, major events, competitor prices etc. So it is hard to predict a realistic price just out of the blue!

  • Be flexible with travel dates

It is not about browsing Google on Tuesday in search of cheap tickets to India but rather about being realistic in terms of your budget and flexible about the time period. It is clear that most people tend to go somewhere warm during the winter holiday season which makes it almost impossible to find cheap airline tickets and hotel bookings during this time. This is applicable to such popular getaway holiday times as Christmas, New Year’s Eve, Thanksgiving or the 4th of July. Also, in August a lot of people like going to Europe to do sightseeing.

So the rule is to avoid the times when everybody is flying and being organized at work to book your time off earlier than others (it works almost the same as with the best time to sell your textbooks). If you are decisive about overseas adventure traveling to Paris, make sure you go there in the spring when fewer people visit this city and therefore when airfares are more affordable. Remember that only one day difference can save you hundreds of dollars!

How to Find Cheap Travel Deals 1
Designed by / Freepik

Also, some additional cheap tickets lifehacks:

  • travel during the middle of the week rather than on a weekend
  • prices on tickets drop significantly after major holidays
  • late-night and early-morning flights can be money saving

Check flight booking secrets about travelling from Miami in this video:

  • Be flexible with travel destinations

Another useful point is to be flexible where you fly. Research Google Flights, STA travel and Costco for cheap travel destinations and make sure you choose the right flying season. Kayak has a useful feature “Explore” that lets you select your home airport and see where you can fly from it to anywhere in the world.

  • Fly budget carriers

In the past travelling was always associated with huge expenses because flying between continents was stuck with traditional expensive airlines. Today the world has become much more globalized and budget airlines make it possible to fly around the world with little money. For example, Norwegian Airlines allows you to fly between Europe and Bangkok for about $250 each way. With AirAsia, you can travel between Asia and Australia for as little as $100 each way. Indian and Middle Eastern airlines offer some good flight deals to Africa. You can fly almost anywhere in the world on a budget if you do some prior research!

Here are some of the best budget airlines that offer very attractive travel packages:

  • Canada
  • United States
  • Asia
  • Europe
  • Australia
  • New Zealand

One extra lifehack when traveling on a budget airline: watch out for extra fees! Once you have checked the travel weather in the destination of your choice, read different travel journals and checked travel blogs, packed your travel bags including all the accessories, your passport, travel pillows and your best travel camera – make sure you weigh your baggage and check if it fits the standard required by the airline! All this information is available online so make sure you read it before making a purchase!

Some interesting info on how budget airlines work allowing you to travel in a more affordable:

  • Consider indirect flights

Flexibility helps in this uneasy task of looking for affordable flight deals. Apart from being open in regards to the period of travelling and holiday destination, you can consider being flexible with the route in order to get an extra discount. For example, if you are looking for flight deals from Atlanta to Amsterdam, it can be cheaper for you to fly to London and book a budget airline to Amsterdam rather than fly direct to the Netherlands. In order to consider this option, check first the cost of the direct flight to Amsterdam. Then in Google Flights check ticket prices to nearby destinations and compare how much you can save. Another useful tool can be Airwander which lets you see stopovers and compare prices. Moreover, the search engine will include budget airlines as well.

Make sure you leave 3 hours between flight connections because if there is a delay with your first flight, you will still have a bit of time to catch up on that.

  • Consider different search engines

It is a good idea to compare multiple travel search websites to decide on the best offer. Also, it is important to know which websites include budget carriers and which of them do not. For instance, on such large sites like Kayak, Expedia, Orbitz and generally on US booking sites you will not find AirAsia or Ryanair tickets. This is due to the fact that budget carriers refuse to pay a booking commission to these search companies. Therefore, it is better to use Skyscanner and Momondo when hunting for cheap travel flights. Momondo is your starting point!

  • Momondo – searches most airlines and websites in the world even in foreign languages and finds cheaper deals in 92% of cases.
  • Google Flights – very easy to navigate, very quick and lets you see prices to multiple destinations
  • Skyscanner – almost as good as Momondo, has a great user interface as well as a mobile app

If you are a student or under 26, you can find a lot of discounts on flight tickets of up to 20-30% off the original price. Travel agencies like STA Travel or Flight Centre specialise in such deals so do not forget to knock on their doors!

  • Mix airlines

If you do not get stuck with one airline, you will have a chance to match tickets and get the best flight deals. By mixing and matching different airlines on several legs of your trip, you can make sure you always choose the cheapest option. Most of the time, booking websites use the same airline for your ticket and you end up overpaying money.

Let’s take an example of a trip from Vancouver to Berlin as it appears on Expedia: if you book your flight with Air Canada,  you will be travelling part of your journey with this airline’s partner Swiss Air which means you will be paying the price set up by Air Canada. Instead, you could have chosen a budget carrier for that part of the journey! Useful tools that will let you travel in the cheapest way at all stages of your trip are the following:

  • Use your Miles

Most airlines offer rewards programs these days so do not forget about it! It is a great way to get cheaper or free flights, free upgrades and free companion tickets. There is no difference for such companies how frequent you fly – they give you an option to sign up anyway. US flight carriers tend to cooperate with all the major international alliances and for you, this means that you can earn extra miles even when you are on their partner flights. For instance, if you bought tickets with Singapore Airlines, you still can earn miles with United Airlines just because these two companies cooperate. A lot of extra miles can be earned through credit card sign up bonus, shopping online, taking surveys etc. In a year’s time, this can mean free flights (even in business class) for you and your family members as well as travelling around the world for very little money!

  • Check Airlines’ Special Deals

Another useful saving tip is to sign up for different mailing lists of search companies and airlines where they regularly send you offers and updates on their deals and latest policy amendments. The thing is that a lot of people want to save their money as well as most airlines make such offers for as short as just 24 hours so you will surely miss these discounts if you are not informed about them beforehand. Also, you can be offered bonuses for frequent travellers which will let you upgrade for business class tickets for free for example. To stay aware of these offers, sign up for the following websites mailing lists:

  • Search for tickets as one person

Avoid buying multiple tickets in a single purchase because it is the policy of airline companies to show the highest price range for a group of tickets. Let’s take an example of a family of four people: the airline will want to seat all of you together meaning the fare will be based on the highest ticket price. Different seats cost a different amount of money so if you want seats A, B, C, D and if seats A, B and C cost $200 but a seat D is $400, the system will price all the seats at $400 and you will have to pay a whopping sum $1600!

  • Check tickets in other currencies as well

Stay alert how the currencies in the destination of your choice react to US dollar! Always search for airfare in a country where the currency is weaker! For instance, you want to go to Australia from New York and you have seen that the US dollar is strong today to the New Zealand currency. If you check the direct flight on the Australian version of the site, you will see that the tickets sell for $1,000 but if you check the New Zealand version of the site, you will end up paying the equivalent of $600 for the same flight, the same airline and the same booking class! Another tip: use a no-foreign-transaction-fee card to avoid a surcharge!

  • Book tickets at the right “early” time

Everyone understands that airline fares rise closer to the desired date of your departure. At the same time, if you try booking too ahead of time, there might be no promotions and the tickets will be sold at a general price. So do not wait until the last second and do not book too early. The best time is 6-8 weeks before the date of your departure or three months before travelling during the peak tourist season.

Iliana K