Top Tips for Finding the Cheapest Flights

Explore the world with cheap tickets. Photo: Ross Parmly / Unsplash
Explore the world with cheap tickets. Photo: Ross Parmly / Unsplash

If you have a serious case of wanderlust but a tight budget, then managing to secure cheap flights may mean the difference between travelling to a far-flung destination and staying at home. Read our best travel hacks for finding the cheapest flights possible with minimum effort.

Shop around

In the days of old aggregator sites (sites that automatically search for a list of flights and airlines to your selected destination) didn’t exist. But now they do! So use them! Sites such as www.kayak.com and www.skyscanner.com will do all the hard work for you at the touch of a button, and will list all the different options to your chosen destination, from the cheapest to the most expensive. No need to go traipsing from airline site to airline site comparing figures, it’s all there for you.

Do open destination searches

The beauty of aggregator sites like Kayak or Skyscanner at that they will allow you to do open searches. That means that you can punch in your departure city and leave the destination open or select ‘Fly Anywhere’, and the search engine will find the cheapest place for you to fly to, anywhere in the world. If you want to get out and about but don’t have a fixed city or country in mind, then you can save some serious cash.

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Keep dates flexible

As well as allowing you to leave your destination city open, aggregator sites will also let you keep your dates flexible, and you can select to fly at ‘Anytime’. In the short term, this means you can save money by flying during the week at off-peak hours, and in the long term it might mean shifting your trip to the next month which happens to fall in low season. Either way, it means that you can see exactly when you need to fly to save the most on your ticket price.

Select airports wisely

Aggregator sites also don’t discriminate between airports – so they don’t just show you the main airport in and out of your destination, but will look at all airports in the surrounding area. This approach could show you that you might get an excellent deal if you fly into a lesser known airport rather than the central hub in your chosen city.

Consider Budget Airlines

Kayak and Skyscanner will also usually show you all the flight options to your destination without limiting you to just the major airlines, which some other sites do. As such, you will be able to quickly see which airlines will be cheapest. If you have to transit, the shortest leg of your journey may well be much cheaper if you change airlines and hop on a budget airline.

Buy Separate Tickets

This is linked to the previous tip to use budget airlines, but also works for you in other ways. Firstly, the aggregator site will do all the work for you and will break down how many tickets you need to buy to get to your destination of choice and how to do so in the cheapest way possible. It may be that a through ticket is the best option, but the search engine will also tell you if buying two tickets with the same airline, or two tickets with different airlines will work out cheapest for you, and it will often let you book them at the same time so that you don’t have to go from site to site making multiple bookings.