How to find cheap air fares? is the most frequent question I get asked. So I decided to describe some of the basic tips and tricks on what I do to find really good flight deals, and what I have described below is something that everyone can do!
Some examples of the incredible airline fares me and my friends have flown on:
- Riga-New Delhi-Riga 145 eur
- Paris-Wellington-Paris 250 eur
- Amsterdam-Palau-Amsterdam 285 eur
- Riga-Hawaii-Riga 300 eur
All of these tickets had luggage and a meal included! Anyone could have bought these ones, as information about them was public. After you have flown for such cheap money, you just can’t fly on a more expensive ticket, it is like an addiction trying to find better deal!
So, what are some things you can do, if you want to fly cheaper?
- How to search for best dates: I usually use matrix.itasoftware.com (Matrix) to find cheaper dates for a specific time frame I am interested. You can input an interval and look at the whole month. For example, if I know I want to go in July for 5-9 nights, this search tool is amazing! It lets you choose several options for destination, airlines and alliances and numbers of stop and read the full fare rules. It has so many ways to search that there could be a whole book about using Matrix. But you can’t buy any tickets here, it is just a search engine of what exists in the system. It does not display low cost flights either.
- Travel blogs and forums: The easiest way to score cheap tickets is not to wait for a specific time and destination, but be flexible about your plans and look at what good deals become available – that’s how I went to New Delhi and Palau, as I did not have a plan to go there before seeing these amazing deals. I have market several pages on Facebook with “see first” option and every time I open my timeline, these will be on top. I use the following: Fly4Free, TravelFree, SecretFlying, FlyNous. Usually there are some examples shown on the site that I then check on Matrix to find some more dates.
- Online Travel Agencies (OTAs): After I have found suitable dates, I check aggregate site, for example, Skyscanner that then directs me to the cheapest OTA. It is worth to check also other versions of the site for other countries (for example, Belgium, Spain with inbuilt Chrome translator) if it is not cheaper there (and often, it is!). Sometimes a specific payment card will allow for a better price, like Maestro or Amex. If the price is very similar in OTA and airline site, better buy with the airline! If you buy several tickets, check if buying them one by one isn’t cheaper than all at once, and also check if it is the same price for two one way or buying return right away. Some websites like Kiwi.com offer the guarantee also for not connected flights, so you can use them for buying many low cost options with a guarantee. Sometimes some error fares or discounts only show on OTAs and not on Matrix.
- Buy right away! I can’t emphasize this one enough – if you see a good price, you must buy now (and not in the evening, tomorrow, when friends confirm etc). Especially error fares get fixes very fast, and the longer they are available, the greater the chance the ticket will be cancelled. Then you will get the money back.
- Follow travel forums and Facebook groups even if you are not planning a trip right this moment. You will pick up many tips on searching for good tickets, you will know what is a good price for a destination and can always ask the community for some help!
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