Purchasing flights is usually the most expensive part of a trip. And being a travel planner, I often get asked many questions from family and friends about booking flights. To save myself some time from answering the same questions and to share the knowledge, here’s everything I know and use myself when it comes to booking flights.
BE FLEXIBLE WITH YOUR DATES
This is hands down the biggest thing that will save you money on flights. If you’re going to fly when everyone else is trying to as well, you’re going to pay more. Back to economics class with good ‘ole supply and demand. So, summer time (June-August), around big holidays like Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years are all going to be more expensive. If you still need to fly during those times, try to arrive and depart a few days before and after.
YOU DON’T HAVE TO FLY DIRECTLY TO YOUR LOCATION
Instead, fly to a nearby airport and rent a car, take the train, or bus to your primary location. Get creative! The website Rome 2 Rio can help with this and give you options for how to get from where you are to where you want to be. It just depends which is a higher priority for you – convenience or saving money.
FLY WITH A BUDGET AIRLINE
You get fewer perks for sure but you can just bring your own snacks, drinks, only bringing a carry-on, etc.
Make sure you watch out for fees because on budget airlines there’s one for everything. Be sure to add up the ticket price and fees to make sure it’s actually cheaper than a bigger airline.
SIGN UP FOR THE AIRLINE REWARD PROGRAMS
No matter how often you fly, you should be signed up for the reward program. You get points for any flights you take with that airline so you might as well have them accumulate and add up over time.
When should I book my flight?
IF YOU’RE IN THE U.S.
For domestic flights, book your flight approximately 54 days before your departure.
For international flights, the number of days in advance you should book varies by location so use the image below as a guide.
WHEN THERE IS A SALE
I know this sounds obvious but book a flight when it’s on sale. If a big airline announces a sale, their competitors usually try to match it (at least where they compete directly) within 24 hours. So take some time to shop around before you book.
To know when it’s on sale, create a fare alert on Momondo. Search what you’re looking for and hit the Fare Alert button on the results page. You’ll then get an email notification when there is a notable change in price. You can also do the same with Google Flights.
Scott’s Cheap Flights is a resource I use to get flights that are on sale. Sign up to get email notifications. He sends all the sale fares he finds directly to your inbox (you can customize what you receive as well). I’m a big fan of SCF.
What day is the cheapest to fly?
TUESDAY OR WEDNESDAY
It’s cheapest to fly on a Tuesday or Wednesday. Most people travel on the weekends and airlines hike their prices then. So, try to avoid Saturdays – they’re usually the most expensive day to fly.
What time of day is the best to fly?
EARLY MORNING OR LATE AT NIGHT.
This is typically the cheapest time of day to fly because fewer people want to travel during those times. Again, flying when no one else is will save you lots of money. PLUS if you fly early morning, there is WAY LESS chance of of flight delays (those typically accumulate throughout the day).
Where can I fly for cheap?
If you’re trying to figure out where you can go for cheap, use the Google Flights “explore feature”.
TIP: I made a video on my computer showing you exactly how I do this step-by-step so make sure you check out THIS POST!
For the best way to search for and book your flights, go to this post: