What are the top tips for booking cheap flights?
We all want to save on flights but most of us could do with some help and advice to get us started.
You should already know to compare prices for everything you need from flights, travel insurance, hotels and more but these tips should help further.
Follow this tips for booking flights and you’re no doubt about to get the best deal.
Top Tips for Booking Cheap Flights
When is the best time to fly
Did you know the day of the week that you choose to travel can affect the price of your air ticket? Tuesdays and Wednesdays are generally the best days to fly if you like a bargain. Fridays and Sundays are the most popular so expect higher rates on these days. With Saturdays, it depends on the destination as the day is not liked by business travelers but is popular with one week package holidaymakers.
Even if you do need to travel on a high demand day, the time of day can still make a difference. Evening flights are wanted by business travelers so think about leaving at lunchtime instead. The overnight red-eye flights can have some great deals as can the early morning flights, especially with budget airlines.
When to book flights
If you are looking at a budget carrier then the earlier you book the better. Months before your departure date is when the bargains are to be found as prices go up as availability reduces.
Other airlines will also try to entice you with offers and deals when they first release tickets so, again, early planning can be best. If you have a preferred airline, sign up for their e-newsletter/Like them on Facebook/follow them on twitter, etc. as they often offer deals to subscribers first.
If planning so far ahead is not for you, the other time to get a great deal is a few days before the flight leaves. Last minute offers are there to try and fill up the remaining seats so if you can be flexible with when you can fly then try this option (read all about planning last minute vacations).
The time of day you look for an online fare also matters as strangely many have found the cheaper fares in the early hours of the morning, around 2-3am. Whether it’s in your time zone or the airline’s is not clear but bargain hunters could try both options.
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Where to book your flight
Online travel aggregators such as Expedia are a good place to start as you can compare rates with different airlines and they do bundled packages with accommodation.
Travel search engines such as Kayak are considered to be second generation travel aggregators and offer similar options.
Travel Agents can still be worth talking to as they are travel specialists but be aware they may have commission deals that suit them well but possibly not you.
Airline websites are the place for those last minute deals and to get an idea of routes and prices they can offer.
Finding the best airfares during peak season
So how do you find affordable flights to popular destinations during peak holiday season?
Here are some tips:
- Looking for airports close to your destination (for example Sharjah is an airport which is only a 30 minute drive from Dubai). Sharjah is the hub of Air Arabia, (one of the best low cost airlines in the Middle East). Check out these airports in California.
- Keeping an eye over airlines, especially national carriers, which provide affordable airfares to destinations as compared to other carriers.
- Being flexible with dates of travel (+/- 2-3 days). There are always chances of you getting affordable airfares for flights taking off during weekdays (Mondays to Thursdays) than weekends.
- Catching a red-eye (night) flight. While flying in odd hours or avoiding rush hours can be a bit tough it could be a lot easier on your wallet.
- Booking in advance (if possible, although I would recommend you to book flights only when your travel plans are confirmed as Air Tickets are usually non-refundable).
- Managing your Frequent Flier Miles to your benefit.
- Using internet tools for airfare tracking.