Some of the links below are affiliate links, so we may receive a commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link. Check our disclosure for more info.
FINDING CHEAP FLIGHTS IS POSSIBLE! FOLLOW THESE 10 SIMPLE STEPS TO FIND THE CHEAPEST AIRFARE TICKETS EVERY TIME
Have you ever spent hours and hours on search engines and websites trying to find the cheapest possible deal for your next flight?
There are so many websites to look through, and with prices changing within a few minutes and so many options to look at, finding cheap flights has become a stressful experience!
If you’ve been on this blog before you know how much I love traveling. And the thing I like more than traveling is avoiding to throw money away, especially if there is a way to do something for cheap.
That’s how, during many years of research, trial and error, I put together a list of all my tips and tricks to find the cheapest flights, no matter where you are in the world.
And to make sure I didn’t miss anything, I’ve asked some expert bloggers to share their top tips to always get the best possible deal!
How To Find Cheap Flights in 2020
1. Use the best search tools
All search engines make their money through a commission added on top of the ticket cost, therefore you need to watch out for the less greedy ones. Also, not all airlines are featured on all search engine and comparison sites, which means it’s always best to check a few.
Unfortunately, there isn’t a single search engine that beats them all – wouldn’t that be too easy for us travel lover?
But my favorites are these 5:
- Skyscanner: one of the leading search engines out there, and definitely the one I check first.
- Momondo: it gets the cheapest option 99% of the time as it picks up fares from the less expensive agents.
- Google Flights: very useful calendar option to search for the cheapest days to fly. Once you find the cheapest date, use one of the other websites to book the flights.
- Kiwi.com: much more flexible than Google Flight or Skyscanner in the number of options you can find.
- Jetradar: includes some budget airlines that other websites don’t have, so it’s always worth a look.
Make sure you check them all before making a booking.
There doesn’t seem to be a consistent winner (and I book many flights a year!), but the two websites that seem to come to the top over and over again are Momondo and Skyscanner. I love them both, and I always check them first.
2. Hide your search!
You search for your flight to Paris and find a great price. But you are not ready to book it yet. You just want to think about it and go to make dinner.
You come back 2 hours later and voila! Your $500 flight is now $750. Same day, same airline, same flight!
This used to happen to me ALL THE TIME.
Some websites claim this isn’t true, but I have witnessed it with my own eyes: if you keep searching for a specific route, prices go up!
Always make sure you search for cheap flights in incognito mode or private browsing mode for the cheapest prices.
NOTE: Will browsing in incognito lead to cheaper deals? Not really! But it will avoid your airfare to go up once you find a good deal!
But what is incognito mode?
Incognito mode, private browsing, and InPrivatebBrowsing all do the same thing – they just use different names. Incognito mode ensures nothing from your session is logged in your browser history, search history, temporary internet files or cookies. Any data you enter during a private session will be forgotten by your computer when you close the browser.
So how can you find your cheap flight in incognito mode?
Go Incognito on Google Chrome
- Open Google Chrome and click the wrench icon in the top right corner.
- Click ‘new incognito window’.
- Alternatively, you can press Ctrl + Shift + N.
You can tell if you’re browsing privately by looking for the logo of the person in disguise in the top-left corner of the window. He’s wearing sunglasses and a secret agent hat.
Go Incognito on Mozilla Firefox
- Open Firefox and click the hamburger Menu button – it looks like three parallel lines.
- Click ‘New private window’.
Go Incognito on Safari on Mac
- Open Safari and click on ‘File’.
- Click ‘New Private Window’.
- Alternatively, click Command + Shift + N.
Go Incognito on Microsoft Edge
- Open Microsoft Edge and click the ‘More’ icon – it looks like three dots.
- Click ‘New InPrivate window’.
Open a new incognito or private window between new searches, as cookies are reset and deleted between each session. By doing this you will have the best chance to find cheap flights without being fooled by airlines.
3. Grab error fares super fast!
Have you ever heard of error fares?
Airlines occasionally make mistakes due to computer glitches, human error or currency conversion mistakes, which lead to unbelievably discounted cheap flights. These are known as error or mistake fares.
Among thousands of flights, errors in the prices of flight tickets are inevitable. And because it would be too time-consuming for airlines to correct any ‘price with a mistake’ they are often honoring such bookings.
You can try spotting error fares yourself but that can be time-consuming. Plus, some of these deals are only available for a few hours before the airline spots the “mistake”.
The easiest approach to find ‘error fares’ is in to follow the specialized hot-deal-hunters.
Here are my favorite resources:
Secret Flying is one of the most popular sources for error fare detection for flights to all destinations around the world, with over 3 million visitors a month. You can simply check their website, subscribe to their email and follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to look for the best deals.
Scott’s Cheap Flights
Scott’s Cheap Flights is one of my favorites for cheap flights around the world! The cheap subscription is pretty cool, but if you are a frequent traveler I recommend the paid subscription. Not only is it ridiculously cheap for all the extra updates (and if you subscribe to the free version, you get a 20% in your inbox for the paid one!) but it MORE than pays for itself with 1 booked ticket!
Jack’s Flight Club
Jack’s Flight Club is my favorite for the cheapest flights and error fares in Europe. You can sign up for alerts via e-mail or by downloading their app. For example, today I receive an email for a return flight from London to Venice for only 30EUR.
Airfare WatchDog lists “Today’s Top Fares” on the homepage of its site. If you don’t have a specific destination you are looking for, this list alone can be full of bargains. When you subscribe to their email list, they also allow you to create flight alerts to specific destinations. This one one of the best features that sets apart Airfare Watchdog from some other sites.
The Flight Deal
This site is great for global flight deals and offers discounted rates not only for flights but also for hotels, cars as well as top deals for credit card purchases. You can subscribe to their newsletters and follow them on Facebook and Twitter.
There are plenty of other great “error fare” websites out there! Rose, for example, saved over $600 on her flight using Thrifty Traveler!
Rose from The Compass Rose
Most travel bloggers are persistent in their quest to find cheap flights, but we just don’t have the time to look at every airline every day. There may be a fantastic deal that gets us close to our destination, or a mistake fare to somewhere that is not in “the plan” but is too cheap to pass up!
These deals are emailed to me regularly via a flight alert service called Thrifty Traveler. I can set up alerts from or to specific destinations, or just receive alerts for every deal they find!
I’d been planning a trip to Europe when I received an email about round-trip flights from Minneapolis to Berlin for just $336. That’s $643 cheaper than usual for my dates, according to Google Flights!
A subscription to Thrifty Traveler Premium is $40 a year and it easily pays for itself. This kind of service is especially valuable to those of us flying from small and mid-sized airports where there aren’t the common deals you see from JFK, LAX, etc.
4. Price alert!
Do you know how to find cheap flights with a price alert? I love this tip!
“To get the best deal, pay attention to the price alerts. They’re your frugal-friendly reminders. Best yet, do these for a couple of sites that sell airline tickets so you know when the prices decrease or increase for a number of sites. This way, not only you can compare the prices among sellers but you can also see any changes in the price of the flights you want to choose. Never make the decision to buy tickets right away.”
Want to know how to do it?
There are several websites that let you set price alerts.
My favorite ones are:
On Google Flights, you can select “track prices” to watch fares on specific routes. You need to be logged in your Google account.
- At the top, choose the number of stops, cabin class, and how many tickets you need.
- Choose your departure airport and destination.
- To track prices for this route, turn on the switch next to “Track prices.”
- Tip: you can also track prices for a specif flight: just select the flight you want to track, then click “Track price”.
Google will send you an email every time your tracked flights change prices.
On Skyscanner, you can select “get price alerts”. To set up an alert, make a search for your route and specific dates as usual, and then click the “bell sign” and enter your email address. You’ll receive an email to confirm – simply click the link in the email, and you’re all set!
And on Kayak you’ll get asked automatically if you want to set up a price alert as soon as you look for a flight!
You’ll also always see the website’s advice in the top left corner, which will suggest buy now, wait, or watch. Kayak will even give an estimate as to how much the airfare will rise or fall, helping you gauge whether or not it’s worth the risk.
5. Be Flexible
In your quest to find cheap flights, you need to be ready to be flexible in:
When to book
When we book our vacation we normally pick a destination first, decide when to go and then check the price of the flights for those dates. This normally leads to find flights that are more expensive than necessary.
If your top priority is to get cheap flights, you need to change your approach.
This is how:
Stop flying when everyone else is! If you are flying in the summer holidays or during Christmas it’s always going to be more expensive. Try to be flexible with the day of the week you are flying. A lot of people fly on Friday to avoid having to take an extra day of vacation, but this can cost you hundreds of dollars in airfare.
By changing your mindset, you could save a fortune.
Divine from Live and Earn in Canada
As a travel blogger and a person that is always looking to save money, I am constantly on the lookout for tools and resources that I can use to cut costs. I am currently in the process of booking a family trip to the beautiful island of Mauritius and tickets can be pretty expensive.
We will be traveling from Canada to Mauritius and as a family of 3, ticket costs are anywhere between $4500 – $5000.
To save money on flight, we changed our travel dates significantly. Instead of traveling in July, we are saving over $1000 traveling in October. I also used Google Flights to help me track and pick dates were flight tickets are much cheaper (see tip #4). This allowed me to save an additional $350.
Where: find the cheapest place to fly
If you love to travel, and you want to explore everywhere you might not have limitations about where to go. If you don’t mind where you’ll end up and you just want to find the cheapest place to fly to there are a few tools that will come handy.
1. Go to Google Flights, click on flights and then on the map:
2. Put in your specific dates and home airport and find your best option!
Kiwi.com works pretty much the same way as Google Flights. Just go on the website by clicking here, then select your departure city and a data range to fly and click on the “Explore” button. You will then see prices to fly to hundreds of destinations. You can just pick the cheapest flight to one of the places you’ve always wanted to visit!
Skyscanner doesn’t have a map view, but its search engine is pretty good so I recommend you always check it to find great deals.
1. Type in your departure city
2. Write “Anywhere” in the destination field.
3. Enter the dates you want to travel. Or you can even search by month!
You can now see a list of all the destinations you can travel to by country. You can then click on each country on the list and look for the best deal.
Another favorite that uses the map search. The option I prefer here is the Explore all.
1. Simply click on “Explore all” on the top right-hand corner of the map.
2. Select your home airport and your preferred time to flight. You can leave this blank if you are not sure. You will now be able to set your flight time (depending on how close you want to stay or how far you want to go) and your budget.
3. Move the map around until you find a destination that you want to explore.
TIP OF THE DAY: Always check for airports that might not be the obvious choice. Smaller airports or an airport that is only an extra hour drive from home might save you hundreds of dollars!
6. Go local
If you are booking with an airline from another country, always check the price in the destination currency. You might find differences closer to hundreds of dollars!
A lot of airlines offer cheap prices for locals, but make sure you check your credit card fees for foreign transaction fees and exchange rates or you could lose all the savings!
Make sure you use a VPN connection when looking at local websites.
A VPN provides an encrypted tunnel for your internet connection, keeping your online travels safe from prying eyes. All of your online activities are protected by the layer of encryption and you will be able to select which “country” you are browsing from.
I use TunnelBear and it’s great! It has an app and a chrome extension. The first 500MB of data is free every month, and if you send a tweet out to share Tunnel Bear, you get another 500MB on top (1GB of data).
I’ve been using the free version for over 2 years and never had to upgrade!
7. Find the best time to book
If you want to find cheap flights, you need to avoid peak travel time.
There are two factors to consider here:
- Cheapest time to fly
- Best time to book
✔Cheapest time to fly
The cheapest time to fly is:
- January through mid-May
- September through early December
The most expensive time to fly is:
- Peak summer (mid-June through mid-August)
- Christmas/New Year’s
How cheap or expensive a flight will be, can also vary a bit by destination, for example, if you would like to visit Kyoto in Japan, during the cherry blossom season, you cannot expect to find cheap flights, even if you book months in advance!
✔Cheapest time to book
There are different theories on the best time to book based on the type of flight you are after. If you need to fly during peak and holiday season, the best time to start looking is as soon as the flights are released by airlines (usually 11-12 months in advance).
For other times of the year, the “sweet spot” varies a lot, but this is usually what works best:
- Domestic flights: 1 to 3 months in advance
- International flights: 4 to 8 months in advance
Is there a best day to flight?
Years ago, airlines would add more fares on Tuesdays, which is why you will find a lot of websites telling you to book on that day. Today, airlines load new fares all the time, which means there is no perfect day to book.
Normally, flying on Friday and Sunday is more expensive, as most people book on those days and airlines and hotels tend to increase prices. So, if you can book your flights mid-week, you are likely to find cheaper tickets.
8. Master travel hacking and fly for free
If you are reading this, you want to find the cheapest price for your flight.
But what if I told you that you could get that same flight for free? You can, using the magical world of travel hacking!
Travel hacking has been around for a while and it can help you to fly for free or get that incredible business class international seat for an economy price! It’s what frequent traveler and travel bloggers use to save loads of money.
Don’t believe me? find out how Leslie has saved hundreds of dollars using credit card reward points!
Lesley from Freedom 56 Travel
My best tip for cheap flights is to focus the majority of your travel with one airline alliance group, like Star Alliance or Oneworld.
Once you picked your alliance group, you can use a credit card connected to the airline alliance you fly with the most. Use that credit for everything, but make sure you pay it off every month (to avoid being charged interest). With the sign-up bonus and your monthly spending, you’ll quickly have enough points for almost-free flights.
I use American Express cards for most of my spending and convert the points to Aeroplan points, which I use on Star Alliance airlines. I recently booked 2 flights to Europe (in Business Class!) on Aeroplan points and paid less than $300 for both tickets!
Advanced travel hackers churn credit cards for the best sign-up bonuses and accumulate amazing amounts of points.
9. Budget airlines are your best friend
They are called budget airlines for a reason! If you are serious about finding the cheapest way to travel, you might have to sacrifice a bit of comfort to save some money.
So what are you giving up?
Normally you will have:
- Less legroom
- No free food and drinks
- No baggage allowance
Always make sure to check the fine print with budget airlines. And consider all the extras you’ll have to pay before you buy your ticket.
Some of the extras you need to keep in mind:
- charges for checked bags (and now charges for hand luggage too – see Ryanair)
- fees for using debit or credit cards to pay
- printing your boarding pass (yep, thanks Ryanair, again!)
Also, remember to check the location of your departure and arrival airport. Most budget airlines fly to smaller airports further away from the town center. It’s not a good deal to save on the airfare if you then have to spend the extra money to reach your true destination.
|United States||Australia & New Zealand|
|Sun Country Airlines||Jetstar|
|Allegiant Air||Tiger Air|
You can find even more low-cost airlines all over the world here.
TIP: If you subscribe to airline newsletters, you will get sale information ahead of everyone else and might be able to snap a bargain. Also, by signing up to Facebook pages or Twitter feeds, you might hear about great deals.
10. Mix and match
Flying with different airlines (or to different destinations!) might give you the cheapest option.
Some of the more traditional flight search engines like Expedia will only show you a return flight with the same airline. But by using websites like:
When you perform a search, they will automatically look for the cheapest route, even if it means booking your return with a different airline.
TIP: Normally buying a return ticket is much cheaper, but you should always compare the price of two one-way tickets, instead of opting straight away for a return flight! You could find a good deal!
Pick a different destination
Another great tip in the “Mix and much” category is to book a flight to a different destination. Yes, that’s right!
Check out Adam’s tip below:
Adam from Aowanders:
“The single greatest deterrent to most travel plans is airfare, and as any longterm traveler can attest too is also the biggest portion of their budget. Here in the United States, it’s slim pickings when it comes to budget airlines, but with a couple of travel hacks, you’ll discover how to find cheap flights to any destination.”
“My favorite trick to finding cheap flights is what I like to call “layover cherries“.
This is where you book a flight to one destination but intend to travel to another destination.
Let me give you an example:
Let’s say you want to fly to Denver, but the one-way flight is $183 from Minneapolis. You can find round trip flights from Minneapolis to Salt Lake City with a Denver layover for less than $130! Or one-way tickets to Las Vegas with a Denver layover for less than $100. Simply hop off in Denver, and your ongoing seat will be sold or given to someone on standby. Win-win for you and the airline!”
11. Become a social media guru
Did you know that if you follow airlines on Facebook, Twitter on Instagram you might score some amazing deals?
When an airline opens a new route or they have some juicy discount, they might reveal the deals on their social media channels first.
Another great way to be the first to know about cheap airfare tickets is to be part of Facebook groups in your area that specialize in travel or follow some of your favorite travel bloggers. They always seem to know about cheap flight prices before anyone else.
Ming Lee from Flyerism
“I am a loyal fan of a few travel bloggers on Facebook. They constantly update the followers on the latest flight deals that you may not be able to find on Skyscanner or Google Flight. Over the years, I’ve managed to snatch some really good deals.
For example, AirAsia launched a new route from Kuala Lumpur to Lanzhou (China) on March 8th. On March 7th, I saw the news on a Facebook travel page. On the following day at 12am, I logged into my AirAsia account and scored two return tickets to Lanzhou at just $95 per person. A few hours later, the airfare had raised considerably. Today, you would have to spend more than $300 to travel the same route as me!
12. Travel light
You might think that packing only a few items of clothing isn’t possible on a long flight. I used to be like you. Always packed a big suitcase, no matter where I was going: if I was away for more than 3 days, I needed everything!
But since I started traveling more, I learned the importance of traveling light!
Carrying only a few items with you not only helps to reduce the amount of stuff you have to wheel around (ever tried to carry a big piece of luggage in the desert?! It’s not fun!) but can also help you to save lots of money your flight.
And it seems I am not the only one to use this tip:
Now you know how to find cheap flights!
Ready for your holiday?
Follow these strategies and the next time you need to find the cheapest airfare tickets you will save money, time and irritation!
Do you have any other tips you would like to share? I am always open to trying new tricks!
READ MORE ABOUT THE BEST TRAVEL TIPS:
If you are interested in starting your own blog, have a look at my step-by-step guide! I will show you everything you need to do to start a successful money-making blog!
Check out all the best resources for your blog! I find all these resources so valuable and I am sure they will help you as much as they helped me.