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How to Find Cheap Flights: 8 Travel Tips and Tricks

“How can I find cheap flights?” is one of the most commonly asked traveller questions around the world. We’ve put together the ultimate guide on finding cheap flights – filled with tips, tricks and hacks to help you get the best flight prices!

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

These guys have it goin’ on as far as cheap flights go. Booking a budget airline ticket can mean the difference between a $250 and a $95 flight.

Canada has a few low-cost airlines that you can fly domestically with, including Swoop, Flair Air and BudgetAir, and the US has JetBlue and Southwest. But when it comes to super budget airlines, Europe is the king. Those heading out on a European tour can benefit from incredibly low fares with Ryanair, Vueling and easyJet.

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.

2. Get Flexible

If you have a specific destination in mind, being flexible about your flight dates means you can find a fare worth boasting about. Simply enter your destination into Skyscanner’s flight search, then instead of picking a departure date, select ‘Whole month‘. You can then pick the ‘Cheapest month‘, and from there, view flights for the cheapest day to fly. Find more out about Whole month search here.

Tip: Check airports near to your final destination too – you could save big. For example, 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 Edinburgh is almost $300 cheaper than one to Dublin, and you can get a flight from Dublin to Edinburgh for under $50. Big savings, and a trip to Scotland thrown in, too?!

Know when you want to travel, but not too fussed about where? Enter your departure city (or even country) into the Skyscanner flight search, add your dates, then hit ‘Everywhere‘. From unexplored gems to old favourites, you’ll see a full list of destinations you could fly to, by cheapest first.

4. Know the Best Time to Book

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. Purchasing six to eight weeks in advance is prime.

As far as days of the week go:

  • Check for deals on Mondays.
  • Rumour has it the cheapest flights can be found Tuesday morning
  • Avoid booking flights on Thursday and over the weekend – these tend to be higher in price

Read more:

Why do flight prices always seem to be changing?

When’s the best time to book flights?

5. Buy Smart

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 two single one-way tickets. For example, a return flight from Calgary to Vancouver could be $50, but a one-way flight there, then one back could be $20 each.

6. 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, then 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.

7. Set up a Price Alert

Price Alerts allow you to watch as fares go up and down, so you can book when the price is exactly right. 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 or hotels you are interested in. You’ll get notified if the price of your dream flight drops.

To set up a Price Alert, just search a flight or hotel for your desired dates and location, and hit the ‘Get Price Alerts‘ bell in the app, or on your mobile or laptop.

8. Other Cheap Flight Hacks

Here are a few other things to consider when it comes to planning your trip.

  • Fly carry-on luggage only. If you fly carry-on only, you’ll forego expensive bagging fees.
  • Fly overnight. Those red eye flights are always busy for a reason. Often, undesirable departure times are half the price of more comfortable ones. Plus, if you fly overnight and land in your destination the next morning, you’ve also technically saved on a night in a hotel.

Finding yourself a cheap flight or 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!

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