17 Airfare Secrets for Scoring the Cheapest Flights

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"Golden rules" about buying cheap flights, like booking domestic flights 57 days before the departure date, are no longer valid, as there has been a huge shift in the travel industry in what days were thought the cheapest to booking flights. If a study has not been conducted recently, or only one year ago, do not put too much faith in it; there's no reason to worry about booking a flight far in advance. The stellar tips below are current.

1. Flexibility is Everything
The more flexible you are, the much cheaper flight deals you can book. Here's a new way of doing things: Instead of deciding where to go next, choosing dates, and then searching for the cheapest possible flight tickets to certain destinations on those particular dates, consider first selecting your destination and dates based on the best going deals available. By exercising greater flexibility where you travel and the specific dates you fly, you will have a far better opportunity to find cheaper airfare.

2. Book First, Think Later: Cancellation   
Take complete advantage of the free 24-hour cancellation window while purchasing flights. Because of the Department of Transportation's strict regulations, any flight booked to or from the United States could be canceled without worry of incurring a penalty, for 24 hours after the flight's reservation; it must be booked no less than one week before the flight's departure. What this means is that if you buy a flight and the ticket price drops within 24 hour window, you could cancel the original flight and purchase the new, less expensive one.

Warning: the 24-hour rule can only work for flights directly bought with the airline or with booking engines such as Priceline.

3. Set a Price Alert
You can choose emails or push notices to your cell phone which will tell you exactly when the flight you are interested in has increased or decreased in price. This may be a great way for getting the best possible price on a certain flight. You can do this on the majority of search travel sites and OTAs. Why miss out on potential easy savings?

4. Buy in Foreign Currency
Because regular fliers travel abroad now and then, you could switch the currency on the airline's website to determine if the price would be listed in other monies.

You can save big this way. For example, if an airline increased the flight price in US dollars but not in Indian rupee, you could book flights at half the price! But this may require altering either the location or language on the airline's website; or you may change to the home country's URL, where ticket prices are generally cheapest by searching in its local currency.

5. Sign Up for an Airline's Travel Rewards Credit Card
One of the smartest ways to take full advantage from travel credit cards is to use the hefty sign-up bonuses. For example, if you sign up for a new travel card when the airline is offering unusually high quantity of bonus miles, you could score yourself literally thousands of dollars worth of reward points by just opening the card.

Although several of these travel cards could have higher annual fees, a big sign-up bonus may amount for months or even years worth of free flights!

6. The Best Time to Book a Flight
Even though you might see great deals flashing on your computer screen for international airfare three to six months out, if you are flying during peak times, or perhaps your plans are not very flexible, it's smart to begin searching sooner.

This does not automatically mean you ought to purchase tickets when hitting the 6-month window; hold on till you find a good deal. And, just ignore the old advice that travel experts often repeat regarding booking the cheapest flights at 3:00 a.m. on Tuesday; that used to be true but now airfare prices are updated often and great deals could pop up any given moment when least expected.

7. Utilize Momondo to Ensure You are getting the Best Flight Price
Upon finding what you imagine to be the cheapest flight wherever, try searching on Momondo; it will search dozens of OTAs; bear in mind that it may not display the cheapest fares seen on large OTAs and Google Flights.

8. Fly During the Low Season
Have you ever scanned flight prices from the USA to Europe's insanely popular cities in August? Surpassing quite easily $1000.00, they can frighten seasoned and expert travelers alike.

But are those the same ticket prices in February? Flying from major hubs in USA to Europe, you could often locate roundtrip flights throughout the winter months for less than $400 or even $300!

9. Fly Basic Economy
A basic economy flight ticket could save you money, if you do not require checked luggage or advance seat selection. Pay only for what you need.

10. Search for Free Hotels and Stopover Tours
Whenever an airline imposes a lengthy layover because of its very tight schedule, the airline will usually offer a free STPC, or stopover paid by carrier, which can include a free tour or hotel room as well.

11. Enroll in the Airline's Loyalty Program
If you fly one particular airline often, join its loyalty program in order to earn points each time you go anywhere. Then, you can redeem such points for upgrades or flights in the future. If you accumulate enough miles and achieve a considerable status with the airline, you might receive free upgrades.

12. Skiplag to Discover Hidden-City Fares
Hidden-city ticketing happens by booking a flight to a place beyond your final destination, and then end your flight on the layover city. This could save you a ton of money on last minute trips.

13. Prolong Your Layovers
Sometimes only by extending a layover a few days in another city in-between, you can score a cheaper flight to your original destination.

14. Don't Overlook Sales
Airlines are frequently offering amazing deals which you may jump on fast enough and save yourself hundreds of dollars on your next flight. Sign up for your favorite airline's newsletter to be on top of their latest flight deals.

15. Focus on Flying Across the Ocean Very Cheaply
If you are thinking to visit a distant location, it could be less expensive to book one ticket to the main hub, and then a second ticket from there to your final destination. For example, if you wish to fly to Alhambra, Spain, it's probably cheaper to book one roundtrip flight from your home to Madrid and a second roundtrip ticket from Madrid to Alhambra than it would be to buy a ticket to Alhambra on one itinerary.

16. Don't Overlook Destinations with Low-Cost Carriers
Carriers such as Frontier, AirTran, and Southwest all drive down airfares along their routes. So, it may be quite wise to travel a bit longer to a larger airport with low-cost carriers, because even major carriers flights will most likely be cheaper.

17. Avoid Friday, Sunday Flights, & Traditional Travel Days
This may mean going away before and returning later than usual, or even flying exactly on the holiday. Pelletier, the travel specialist, says you can save up to 50% by simply flying Christmas Eve or Day. She said: "We saved $300 per ticket around Thanksgiving for our family of four by flying out the Saturday before Thanksgiving and coming back the Saturday after. Not everyone can swing that with their work schedules, so my advice is to leave Thanksgiving day and return on Saturday for cheaper fares."

Fired Travel Agent Tells the Public the Airline's Dirty Secrets, How to Turn Them Around In Your Favor, Including How to Fly Practically Free!

The fifth freedom flights loophole results from cheaper flights, enhanced use of frequent flier miles to nicer planes. The fact that Emirates is permitted to fly between two countries, Singapore and Malaysia, is known as a fifth freedom flight and could open the way for fliers to huge saving advantages. Fifth freedom flights take you between two nations which are different from the airline's home base. This kind of route is allowed as long as such flights start or end in the airline's home country. 

Fifth freedom flights could present unusual opportunities to attain a better time out of a cheaper airfare that's on the same routing. Much nicer and larger planes fly on these routes, for they are often extensions of a previous long-haul flight. Such carriers can provide an overall better cabin experience, better food, and the seats are much more comfortable. Also, you can buy these flights using your frequent flier miles.

In the U.S. there are many fifth freedom routes such as Emirates flying between Milan and New York JFK, Air New Zealand operating flights on a weekly basis from L.A. to the Cook Islands. Passengers flying the Cathay route obviously preferred the Boeing 777-300 ER, policy of free check bags, and a free meal. The flights between Frankfurt, Milan, New York and Athens offer regular discounted tickets across all cabins. LATTAM operates between Frankfurt and Madrid with often cheap airfare as well as the option of mileage redemption seats.

Moreover, Air France operates between Papeete and Los Angeles, Tahiti, South African Airways flies between Accra, Ghana and Washington Dulles. Airlines such as Turkish and Brussels Airlines, Air France, Kenya and Ethiopian Airways operate several of these routes within Africa. Search for such flights to have a greater possibility to redeem frequent flier miles.


If you are planning to go on a small or big trip, here is a body of tips to make your trip truly memorable.

  1. Be extremely flexible regarding your overall traveling schedule so you can take full advantage of unexpected great deals that might appear from no where.
  2. Make a sound list of everything you must absolutely take with you, and use it as a checklist to ensure you are not forgetting anything.
  3. Learn very practical phrases of the native language most spoken in the country or location you are visiting.
  4. Bring photocopies of all vital papers and documents such as passport, hotel reservations, etc.
  5. Always pack additional underwear.
  6. Research on the cost prior to taking public transportation.
  7. Take cream in your carry-on bag for easy accessibility.
  8. Record hotel address and assigned room number.
  9. Learn if there's free public WIFI.
  10. Wear a good sunscreen, especially if there's a lot of sun where you're flying to.
  11. Book as soon as possible to get the cheapest flights.
  12. Maintain an open mind at all time.
  13. Tell at least one person in your family about your travel plans.
  14. Divide personal items.
  15. Keep your money sources separate for emergencies.
  16. Bring a travel first aid kit.
  17. Apply for an international driver's license.
  18. Obtain the correct visas months before the trip.
  19. Get the right shots.
  20. Give second copies of all reservations to your travel partner.
  21. Make copies of your plane tickets.
  22. Pack a lightweight towel.
  23. Get a compact suitcase.
  24. Bring extra socks.
  25. Take with you a second credit card that charges no fees during ATM transactions.
  26. Take a decent and detailed map.
  27. Wake up early to dodge the crowds.
  28. Slow down your pace to delight in your trip.
  29. Seek volunteering opportunities so you can soak in more of the lives of the local people.
  30. Take a ton of photographs to add to your family album.
  31. Break free from comfort zone by challenging yourself and see anxiety melt away.
  32. Deliberately allow yourself to get lost so you could learn how the natives live and work in small towns. 
  33. Never over-plan everything, or else you will end up spoiling your trip.
  34. Order a book or two on the country you are planning to visit.
  35. Bring a scarf which you can use in many creative ways when least expected.
  36. Pack a decent filtered water bottle to have drinkable water.
  37. Reduce your backpack load to half only for easier travel; buy what you need at most destinations.
  38. Take with you a lock to use to secure your bag in a hostel locker.
  39. Pack very comfortable walking shoes.
  40. Plan on going on free tours but do consider handing $5 to $10 tips to the tour guide.
  41. Consume often local food available in the streets or corners.
  42. Dodge costly hotels by staying in hostels and other cheaper alternatives.
  43. Prepare own meals; just go to the local supermarkets.
  44. Befriend locals with eye contact and plenty of smiles.
  45. Never turn down kind invitations any where.
  46. Buy a comfortable traveling pillow to rest your head on during the flight.
  47. Check the weather prior to leaving to be properly clothed.
  48. Be wary of anyone suddenly approaching you.
  49. Inquire from locals for their travel tips.
  50. Get sound sleep so you can wake up fully energized and ready to go exploring your next site in the morning.

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