There are many things you can do to find the cheapest flight for your trip. If you have never done any of these tricks before you can save a significant amount in some cases.
1. Incognito/Private Browsing
First switch your browser to incognito mode, private mode or whatever it is called on your device. The reason for this is that airlines save information about your searches on their website so they can tell how many times you have searched for a flight. The more you search the more interest you are assumed to have and therefore the cost for your flight (or flights in general) will go up, specifically for you! By searching in private mode this information will not be stored and it will look like you are doing your first search every time. This keeps the price normal.
Another bonus you’ll get from this is that you won’t be bombarded with targeted advertising which you would get after doing searches in normal browsing mode.
2. Search Engines
Skyscanner is by far the best search engine I know of. It generally gives you the cheapest prices and it is far more flexible in terms of search options. However, every now and then you get a slightly cheaper flight on one of the other sites, so check as many as you feel like. But always include Skyscanner in your searches.
3. Go to the Airline’s Website
Once you find the cheapest result go to the website of that particular airline, and search again. It’s not always the same price. If you speak other languages, then check the same airline in those other languages. Eg. If you speak French, then check www.example.fr. Speak German? Check the German domain. The price may vary.
Alternatively you can just change the currencies on the site and do a currency conversion in another browser window. Keep going through as many as you feel like. A weaker currency is likely to give better results than a strong currency from a rich country.
If you don’t speak the language it might be difficult to complete the purchase. If the deal is really good, consider using Google translate and see if that helps.
4. Check Other Days
If you are flexible, then do the whole process again for several days on both sides of your original planned date. Sometimes you have the option of choosing “Flexible” while searching, which makes it easier, to check multiple dates at a time. Tuesdays and Wednesdays tend to be the cheapest. Saturday can also be a good day to fly. The reason is that most people fly before and after a weekend, leaving 2 “holes” in between.
5. Buy the Ticket Early
If you have the chance to look for your flight at least 6-8 weeks prior to leaving you can save some money that way. 3 weeks before departure the price usually goes up considerably on a daily basis. Depending on which continent you are traveling the number of weeks prior to departure you need to search in order to find the cheapest flight differs. Sometimes 4-6 months in advance gives the best price. I’ve even seen 9 months in advance being the best time for some routes and earlier or later than that would slowly increase the price.
Every now and then I read that the cheapest flight is on a specific number of days in advance, on a specific day at a specific time. Such as exactly 6 weeks prior to departure on a Tuesday at 5 PM. That does not seem to be true in general though.
If this seems too complicated then use this very quick and easy guide:
Step 1. Switch to “private browsing”.
Step 2. Go to Skyscanner.net and search for your flight.
Step 3. If you have enough flexibility to choose which day you want to fly then do a search for your flight on a Tuesday as close as possible to the date you want to leave.
Assuming you are not searching 1/2 – 1 year in advance then that’s all you need to do. The 3 steps I just showed you are quick and easy and likely to give you the most significant reduction. If you are searching way in advance consider checking back every now and then and see if there’s a change in the price.
These tricks are just the beginning but it can save you a lot of money in some cases.