Finding cheap flights is a matter of knowing where to look and having good timing.

Airlines are constantly changing their flights and knowing a few of the basics in “playing the game” with the airlines can help you fly places on the cheap.

The flight is often the biggest cost of a trip, and it is an awesome feeling when you find a bargain price for a place you have always wanted to go!  I recently took a Norwegian Air flight from SFO to London round trip for $415 dollars over Spring Break and jumped at the opportunity to watch some Premier League soccer and finally visit one of the world’s greatest cities!

After 10 years of extensive travel here are a few of the tips I have learned!

  1. Check Google flights map to give you an idea on what destinations are cheaper during the dates you hope to be traveling.

2. Use good airfare search engines.

These sites search for tickets across many airlines.  Use the tools like “flexible dates” “search nearby airports” and “see calendar month of prices” to help you use these flight filters to find their best deals.  Check several of these flight filters as they may have different flights or different prices.

My Favorites: 

3. Sign up for fare alerts where these websites well let you know if there are changes in the prices for the destination and dates you are looking at.  You can also use sites which hunt the internet for bargain deals and post these deals on their websites.

Check out these sites which let you know of bargain flights.

4. Search in advance and be flexible.  The best time to look for flights is 4-10 weeks in advance with a recent study showing that 54 days before a trip is about the perfect number of days in advance to purchase a ticket.

Be flexible with your dates and times if possible.

Often Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays can be cheaper along with flying on the exact holiday instead of before or after.  Clearly the off-season or even shoulder season will be cheaper.  For example Europe in the spring instead of summer, or New Zealand in the fall instead of summer.


5. Fly Budget Airlines Many regions of the world are full of budget airlines.

Names like Ryanair, EasyJet, and AirAsia are famous the world over.  Often I will find flights into one city for several hundred dollars less and then take a cheap budget flight over to the country I actually intend to travel to.  I remember finding a super cheap flight to Bangkok, and then taking a budget Air Asia flight over to Malaysia which ended up saving me a bunch of cash. Check out this List of Budget Airlines in every region of the world.

6. Airlines manage to charge different amounts to different people based on your searching of given routes and dates.

Don’t ask me how exactly this works, but it is true that not everyone buying a ticket on the same day is paying the same price.

To ensure that you are not paying a higher price because they are tracking your search history use an Incognito Window.  Some travelers I know even like to set up their own VPN, or Virtual Private Network in order to search for flights without be tracked. So there it is!  These are my tips and tricks for finding cheap flights.  Flexibility and a little bit of time searching for your upcoming trip can save you hundreds on your next flight.  Happy flight hunting!