We try to avoid flying as much as we can and prefer road transportation but sometimes we don’t really get to choose… When it happens, it’s a lot better when it’s cheap ! Here’s how you can (easily) find cheaper flights :
1) hide your location from aircraft companies
The rule is always to book online by yourself (unless you are student, in which case it might be worth checking with specialized agencies like STA Travel).
When doing so, you should at least use the “private navigation mode” on your browser, so cookies are not used against you. It prevents flight aggregators and companies from upraising the prices of tickets you are browsing at when the page refreshes.
You can also use a VPN (Virtual Private Network), so you don’t use your real IP address and thus pretend to be logged from another place/country. It is sometimes better to log on in another country where the living standards are lower and even more if it’s the country you are going to. Some tickets sellers are also checking IP addresses in order to upraise selected prices, so more you hide, the better chances you have to stick to the early fares.
I used Securitykiss Tunnel on PC, it’s free (of course), well known and works fine.
-Update 2017- I now use a paid version of CyberGhost because it works on 4 different devices (Mac and android for us). The app crashes frequently and you’ll need a strong connection for it to be usable. I am still looking for the perfect VPN though… Please let me know in the comments if you know about anything better ! -Update 2017-
2) Buy your flights in advance not during peak days/seasons
Prefer booking and flying in the middle of the week, from Tuesday to Thursday, simply because it’s less busy, the demand drops so has the fares. Some say that it is better to book by night and, even though I’ve tried it and found low fares, I still don’t know if it really changed anything. Booking and flying in midweeks works just fine !
You should try to book at least 2 months prior departing, because prices are upraising from then. I’ve heard that you can find good last minute deals, I never did, but it might be worth a try for less organized travelers…
3) Use flights aggregators… and then book on the company’s website !
Price comparison Websites are your friends, to some extent. They search flights for you on different companies’ Websites (they have a commercial agreements with), so you can end up with the cheapest or more appropriate flight regarding to your criteria. Of course, you should simultaneously use multiple search engines to maximize your chances of finding the best deal. Once done, go on the company’s Website and book directly from there, you’ll cut the middle man’s share and save some more. Watch out, some flights search engines “forget” to add fees in the fares they first indicate…
Each continent/country has its budget companies and flights search engines. It’s always better to research fares though those Websites, using google translate if there’s no English Version, so you get “local” prices.
Here’s the list of the ones I’ve been using so far
Need more ? Here’s the wikipedia low coast companies list
Kayak.com displays an explore function, which enables you to find the cheapest flights departing from a selected airport for a defined period of time. This could be quite useful when you are planning a World Tour like we did last year and have a general route you want to pass by.
If this is not enough, you can also subscribe to email fare alerts on most flights aggregators that will tell you when a particular ticket will drop to the price you want. It’s a little bit random but might be worth trying for budget travelers that have a lot of time ahead.
4) Try to fly to international hubs
Flying from a hub to another is usually a lot cheaper than flying from average cities. If you have time, you’d rather fly to a well known international hub and then take the bus to reach your final destination. For instance, if you go from Western Europe to Asia you can fly from London or Paris to Kuala Lumpur or Bangkok (Singapore is often more expensive).
5) Your main backpack shouldn’t exceed 15 KG
Most budget companies have a 15 KG maximum weight limit but you should always double check the baggage policy, as those companies make money by ripping you off for each extra KG. Try to have some spare space in a smaller backpack (that you’re 100% sure fits the company’s standard dimensions) you can carry inside the cabin, just in case.
6) Follow airlines and travel insurances on social networks
Companies and travel insurances often give great deals through their social network’s pages, check it out ! You can even try to win miles or even free plan tickets by playing games, who knows ?
N.B. : I noticed that the average acceptable cost for any kind of transportation in Western countries is 0,04 € a kilometer (40€ for a 1000 km – This is the price we usually pay for long distance buses).
To find the price per kilometer for any ticket, you simply have to divide the price by the distance separating the city you’ll be leaving from and your destination.
What are your tips on booking the cheapest flights ? Please share them in the comments below.
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