Buying airfare is typically the most expensive part of planning any trip. And if you are anything like me, you have spent hours online trying to find ways to save money on airfare, sometimes succeeding and sometimes just giving up and purchasing the ticket available to you at that moment–and I totally get that. I am no expert on how to save money on airfare, BUT I have spent some time doing research in the hopes that one or more of these tips can help save you money! See below for six easy ways you can save money on airfare today.
1. Use the “Explore” feature on Kayak.
I am sad to say I only recently found out about this amazing feature on Kayak.com. They have an “explore” feature for those who don’t have one particular destination in mind, but rather a time of year they would like to travel. Say, for example, you are looking to book a trip during a particular month (December) or season (Fall). You enter your origin destination, when you would like to book your trip, and then Kayak will populate the average cost of flights during that time of year from your hometown. This will show you the cheapest locations to travel to during that time. I also find this helpful to see what time of year your dream destination would cost to fly to. For example, if you want to travel to London, take a look at how much it would cost to fly to London in each season and you can see how the price is affected throughout the year.
2. Search two one-way tickets instead of round trip.
This doesn’t always work out, but it is worth checking. For example, when I flew from Washington, D.C. to Florida, I found that booking two one-way tickets actually cost less than a round trip ticket.
3. Clear cookies on your browser.
Rumor has it that the longer you spend time looking for tickets on your browser and the more airline websites you are visiting, prices may increase as you are looking. There are two ways to get around this. Clear the cookies on your browser while you are searching, or open an “incognito window” if you are using a Google Chrome. This allows you to search without having your browser history tracked. Here is a guide for how to open an incognito window..
4. Travel in the off-season.
Of course the reason traveling in the off-season is cheaper is because it is usually when traveling is inconvenient. But if you are able to, you should definitely save your vacation days to take advantage of traveling in the off or “low” season. This of course varies by destination, but I found a cute infographic to help us with that!
5. Set up alerts
If you are using multiple search engines to help find your flights, you should sign up for alerts for the particular flight you are looking for. Kayak, Momondo, and Skyscanner are some of my favorite search engines to use. Each of these have an option to set up alerts and will send you an email to let you know when the best deal is available. Google Alerts is another great option to have the best deals sent to you. Also, Kayak has another awesome feature at the top of their website while you are selecting flights that will tell you whether they recommend you wait or buy based on their predictions of the cost of that flight over the next few weeks/months.
6. Sign up for miles
Signing up for miles is a great way to rack up enough points to put toward future flights. I signed up for miles with Alaska Airlines and the great thing about Alaska is they have tons of partners including: AirFrance, American Airlines, British Airways, Delta, IcelandAir, and many more. Consider who you generally fly with and take a look at their mileage program. When you join, many programs allow you to count the flights you took six months to 1 year prior, so it’s not too late to get credit for flights you have already taken.
The list for how to save money on airfare is endless. Signing up for travel rewards credit cards is another great way to save, and Nomadic Matt has an excellent article written on how to pick the right travel credit card.
Overall the best way to save money on airfare is to use multiple search engines, try to travel in the off season, and, if possible, be flexible with the location you are visiting based on the time of the year.