All articles

How to Find Cheap Flights: 7 Travel Tips and Tricks

“How can I find cheap flights” is one of the most commonly asked questions by travellers around the world. So we have put together the ultimate guide on finding cheap flights – filled with tips, tricks and hacks exist to help you get the best flight prices!

Map

As we all know, travelling can be expensive – so it’s no surprise that we’re all looking for different ways to get our hands on cheap flights. But with so much conflicting information out there, finding helpful tips on how to find cheap flights can prove challenging! In this guide, we provide our tried and tested travel hacks – and highlight the Skyscanner features designed to help travellers get the best flight deals.

1. Check Out Budget Airlines

Budget airlines have it goin’ on as far as cheap flights go. You can save a surprising amount taking budget airlines. It can mean the difference between a $240 and a $95 flight.

Canada has a few low-cost airlines that you can fly domestic on, including Swoop, Flair Air and BudgetAir, but when it comes to budget airlines Europe always pops into my mind. If you’re headed out and about on a European tour, make sure to check out those budget airlines for cheap flights

Don’t forget about local airlines, especially if you’re in some more obscure places. Depending on where you’re visiting, local airlines can be great when it comes to saving money on your airline ticket.

Check out some of the discount flights on Canadian budget airline Air Transat.

2. Stretch Those Flexibility Muscles

Girl flexing on the beach
Getting cheap flights means booking with flexibility

Being flexible about your flight dates and your destination (both to and from) can mean saving on your next vacation. Where you fly from and to and when you fly makes a difference when it comes to getting a cheap flight. If you have a chance to be flexible about your dates or your destination.

Likewise, while this most certainly doesn’t work for every trip, if you’re planning on spending a few weeks touring Scotland and Ireland this summer consider where you fly in. A ticket from Calgary to Edinburg is almost $300 cheaper than one to Dublin, and you can get a flight from Dublin to Edinburg for under $50. It seems like a better deal to explore Scotland first, no?

Have flexible dates? Consider using Skyscanner’s whole month search.

3. Know the Best Time to Book

Alarm clock
Getting a cheap flight means knowing when to book

If you know when and where you’re headed it’s best to book sooner rather than later. Last minute flights are not typically cheap flights. This is especially the case if you’re trying to get your hands on a cheap vacation of the international variety. For other travels, purchasing six to eight weeks in advance is prime. Wondering what the best times are to book flights from Canada? We have a guide for you here.

As far as days of the week go:

  • Check for deals on Monday
  • Rumour has it the cheapest flights can be found Tuesday morning
  • Avoid booking flights on Thursday and over the weekend

Whatever you take from this, do your best to not book your flight last minute if you can help it.

Curious why flights always seem to be changing? Find out why.

4. Buy Smart

Bridge in Paris, France
Get a cheap flight to Europe

Most people think it’s cheaper to purchase your tickets together as a round-trip but as it turns out, sometimes finding the cheapest flights comes from purchasing single one-way tickets. Two one-way tickets to Vancouver from Calgary is between $20 to $50 cheaper than buying a round-trip flight ticket!

5. Try and Buy in Bulk!

Yes, this sounds like it directly contradicts the advice just given, but hear me out. Let’s pretend you’re booking that jaunt around Europe we talked about and you know you’re planning on flying from Glasgow to Warsaw, Berlin to Stockholm and Oslo to Athens sometime during your trip — pick your fly dates in advance and book your flights in bulk.

Note that this trick, as far as getting cheap flights goes, works only if you’re flying on the same airline (or in some cases airlines owned together or with deals). You can also use this cheap flight hack if you’re booking multi-city flights.

Speaking of Europe, we have an awesome article on getting cheap flights to Europe.

6. Set up Price Alerts

The ultimate way to discover those cheap flight prices is to set yourself up a price alert. When you download the Skyscanner app to your Android or iOS device, you’ll be prompted to create an account and given the option to set up a price alert for any flights you are looking for! That way you get notified about anytime the price on your dream flight drops. Price alerts are best used when you know where you’re going but the date is far enough off that you have time to shop around a bit.

Set up a price alert on Skyscanner.

7. Other Cheap Flight Hacks

Flying on the cheap isn’t all about getting the cheap ticket (though that is a big part of it), there are a few other things you can take into consideration when it comes to planning and going on your vacation.

  • If you can, try to fly carry on only. This is overly obvious but bears repeating, if you fly carry-on only you’ll forego expensive bagging fees.
  • Forego the bells and whistles. In the same vein in flying carry-on only, forego some of the other bells and whistles — stick to the basics for the cheapest trip.
  • If you book a flight, go. You’ve already invested the time to find it and the money to purchase it, so if you’ve booked your flight get on that plane!

Finding yourself a cheap flight and scoring that cheap vacation does not have to require the amount of strategy it takes to win a game of Risk (depending on who you play against). There are plenty of ways you can ensure that you get the best deal without putting too much thought into it. Happy booking!

Map

Looking for the Cheapest Flights?