Lowest Airfare: How to Book Cheap Flights
There are several approaches to getting cheap flights. Whether or not you are flying domestically or internationally, there are helpful tips that can help save you a bundle—even if you are booking your flight last minute. Therefore, WeExpats thought we would put together an article on how to book cheap flights so that you can get that lowest airfare the next time you want to see the world.
- How to Book Cheap Flights – Flight Booking Engines:
The most basic step in learning how to book cheap flights is to use flight booking engines. These companies—like Expedia, Travelocity, or Orbtiz—are basically search engines that find the lowest airfare on travel deals from airlines which agree to release their fares on these search engines. The flight booking engines will search through their affiliated companies to find the lowest airfare possible and then they charge a small markup—which is how they become profitable.
Flight booking engines are a great tool when you are just starting to learn how to book cheap flights. If you are not particularly tech-savvy, then flight booking engines will certainly find you decent deals in a pinch. However, you will likely never find that once-in-a-million cheap flight that makes your dream trip around the world become a reality.
- How to Book Cheap Flights – Fare Aggregator Websites:
If you are new and learning how to book cheap flights, then you may not have heard about travel fare aggregator websites. Fare aggregator websites are often confused with flight booking engines, however, they function slightly differently. Instead of searching the different airlines to find the cheapest flight through their affiliated airlines, fare aggregator websites search several of those flight booking engines across as many search engines as possible.
*Fare aggregators are a form of metasearch engine. Click here to learn more.
Because they offer a more comprehensive online search of all the flight booking engines, then they can cover the internet more broadly in order to find you the lowest airfare possible through their business model. Not only do fare aggregator websites search flight booking engines, but they also search through a multitude of other websites, which generally saves you more money than a typical flight booking engine.
When you are looking for a fare aggregator, try and choose one that searches through as many search engines as possible. Be sure to pick one that shows you whether or not you find the lowest airfare within a few days prior to the exact date you had in mind. Also, try and find a fare aggregator that can show you savings if you fly into a nearby airport as opposed to the airport that you originally entered. Each of these functions can help you greatly in finding the lowest airfare when learning how to book cheap flights.
Fare aggregators are not perfect. Some fare aggregators only search a few search engines leaving several options hidden from their search. Others will dazzle you will incredibly low rates, however the rate increases dramatically once you begin to book the flight. Overall though, fare aggregators are a great way to find the lowest airfare.
*For more information on Fare Aggregators, click here.
- How to Book Cheap Flights – Flight Price Trackers:
Flight price trackers are one of the most important tools when learning how to book cheap flights. They can help you find the lowest airfare through a particular flight booking engine or fare aggregator.
Flight price trackers help you by finding the best price for the flight that you have in mind. You can hunt around for a perfect flight, and then you set the flight price tracker to notify you when the price of the ticket goes up or down. Once the flight reaches within your budget, you will get a flight alert. These flight alerts generally arrive in the form of an email or a push notification, and it will inform you when there has been a significant increase or decrease to your desired flight.
Many of these flight price trackers have joined forces with flight booking engines to offer you a cheap flight and then enable you to set a flight alert for it so that you can wait until it’s even cheaper.
- How to Book Cheap Flights – Cheap Flight Memberships:
There are also groups that you can join where specialists in finding cheap flights will help you to find the lowest airfare. This is probably the easiest way to find incredible deals when you are first learning how to book cheap flights.
You can just pay an entry fee and let these memberships know where you are flying and when, and they will find some incredibly cheap flights. The most famous of these organizations is Scott’s Cheap Flights. Scott’s Cheap Flights only charges you a membership fee of $39.99 USD a year, then they charge you no extra commission when booking your cheap flight.
Scott made a name for himself when he traveled around the world, in particular finding a flight from New York to Paris during Xmas week for under $280 USD (which is about $1,000 USD cheaper than the average price). Instead of revealing his secrets, he decided to begin to help people find their own cheap flights for a price and since then his business has grown to gain international notoriety.
- How to Book Cheap Flights – When To Book Your Flights:
It is no secret that the time when you decide to book your flight will help you save money. This is one of the most important lessons when learning how to book cheap flights. The lowest airfare is generally released on certain days of the week. In addition, the amount of time that you give yourself before your flight will vary greatly in exactly how low the lowest airfare possible is, and how much you will end up having to pay.
The first thing that we would mention is that when you track prices—using flight price trackers—as often as we do, then you will notice that prices generally go up on the weekend. Furthermore, on average the cheapest day to book flights is on a Tuesday. You will notice a marked price drop between Monday and Tuesday, and then you will also notice a sharp increase from Tuesday to Wednesday. Tuesday offers the cheapest flights in general.
However, if you are booking with months in advance, when is the best time to find the lowest airfare?
- 10 – 6.5 months before a flight—You pay an average of $50 USD more per flight
- 6.5 – 4 months before a flight—You pay an average of $20 USD more per flight
- 4 months – 3 weeks before a flight—Is your prime booking window for lowest airfare!
- 3 – 2 weeks before a flight—You have a chance of finding deals, but flights might be booked, and fares can rise if the flight is a popular one.
- 13 – 7 days before a flight—You pay an average of $135 USD more per flight
- Less than a week in advance—You pay an average of $220 USD more per flight
*For more information on when to book cheap flights for the lowest airfare, click here.
PRO TIP: When you are booking a flight, use an Incognito Tab (or the equivent on your browser). This is a setting on your browser that will not accept any cookies.
When you look at a flight’s price, and you don’t immediately book it, if you go back to that same flight, a cookie will notify the flight search aggregator that you are interested in that flight. The price will slightly increase every time you look back at that flight.
An incognito tab prevents this cookie from getting loaded on your computer so the flight search aggregator doesn’t know that you are interested.
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