1. Have patience. It takes an effort to get a good price on flights. Now, don't let that stop you, because saving $ 100 or more on flights can mean having more money to spend on tours, hotels, restaurants, tours, etc. This means that if you want to travel in the spring, start checking prices in late fall or winter. There are sometimes last minute deals, but most of the time you will find the best deals at least 21 days before your departure date.
First thing in the morning (around 9am and at night after 6pm) I like to browse the travel sites to see if there are deals being offered that day. I also like to delete my browser history and cookies, because sometimes travel sites and airlines remember your search and this can cause prices to increase.
My favorite site is Skyscanner. One of the great features of this site is that you can check the best price of the day to travel the world from the airport of your choice. For example, I live in Toronto, so I will go to Toronto (YYZ) flights everywhere. This is a great feature as it tells me where, on that day, what date, month, etc. It's cheaper for me to fly anywhere in the world. (I used this site recently to help me get tickets for my trip to Seoul, South Korea in April. Other airlines were charging between $ 1,000 and $ 1,500 or more for flights to Seoul, but Delta was making a promotion and I was able to get around. travel flights for only $ 850 CAD / $ 770 USD at the exchange rate.)
Another great feature of Skyscanner is that you can enter your destination and travel dates and subscribe to "Price Alerts" to send you an email if the price goes up or down on the specified travel dates. (My sister just used this feature to help her catch a flight to Edmonton, Alberta for travel in May. One-way ticket prices were $ 300 to $ 400 and she was able to buy it. for $ 269.)
Another site I like to use is Expedia. Every day they show available travel deals to major national and international tourist destinations. They will also include offer packages for "Flight + Hotel". This helps me understand what the average cost is, for example a 4 night trip to Las Vegas. Let's say the price of the flight and hotel to Las Vegas for 4 nights on the Strip is $ 500 to $ 600 per person from Toronto, I like to try to keep an eye on offers at or below that price – that's how I know I'm saving and getting the best price.
One thing about Expedia, however, is that the advertised price is not always available. If you are looking for last minute flight deals, I might see round-trip tickets to Miami for $ 250 CAD (departing from Toronto), but as soon as you click on the deal it can be said that the price has increased to $ 350 CAD instead of. This is not always the case, but sometimes it happens, which is something to remember.
Other sites I like to use are: Kayak, Redtag, Sunwing, Bing Flight Predictor, and Airfarewatchdog.
2. Check the direct airline website. While these third party travel sites can be great, sometimes the best unannounced deals are found directly on the airline's website. I recommend signing up for email promotions offered by your favorite airline. For example, as I live in Canada, I signed up for Air Canada travel deals. We'll see the special offers available as soon as they are posted on the Air Canada website.
I really wanted to take a weekend trip to New York with my sister last February to celebrate her 21st birthday. In addition to checking third party websites, I also played with dates by entering the trip on Air Canada. They didn't announce this deal, but I was able to find direct flights from YYZ to LGA for $ 199. It was a great deal that I was very happy to find via Air Canada. Sometimes the airline website also offers promotion codes, so it's worth a look.
3. Check departures / arrivals from alternate airports. This is not always convenient, but sometimes many major cities have more than one airport or another airport near them in another city. For Toronto residents, we have Pearson Airport, which offers domestic and international flights, and Billy Bishop Airport, which offers select flights in Canada and the US. There is also the option of crossing the border and flying out of Buffalo Airport. It is almost always cheaper to fly from Buffalo airport than Pearson or Billy Bishop. But the downside is that most (if not all flights) are not direct and you will have to pay for parking because most people leave their car at the airport while traveling. Flying out of Buffalo is always the last resort for me, because it's a 90-minute drive from Toronto (you should consider fuel fares) and depending on the length of your trip, parking costs can raise that discounted flight. to or around the city. same cost as the flight would have if it had departed from YYZ or YTZ. However, sometimes there are significant savings when flying out of Buffalo, which will definitely make it worthwhile. (When I dealt with corporate travel from the company in my previous work, last-minute travel happened often and if a group of 2 or more needed to travel to the US, flying out of Buffalo saved over $ 300 to US $ 600 per flight ticket.)
This can also be said not only at the departure airport you choose, but also at the arrival airport. For example, when flying to New York, there are essentially three airports you can choose to reach: LGA, JFK or EWR. Sometimes you can get a better price when you arrive at one airport from another. One thing to keep in mind, though, is the trip from the airport to the hotel. If you are using public transportation, you can reach Manhattan from LGA for just $ 2.50 by taking the bus and subway train. However, it is a bit more expensive to get to Manhattan from the EWR, because you need to take the New Jersey transit and then switch to the Manhattan transit system. If you are taking a taxi, prices to go from each airport to Manhattan may vary. This is an important point to remember and I recommend that you conduct your own research before you travel.
4. Follow airlines and third party travel sites on Twitter (social media) and subscribe to the mailing list. One of the great features of social media is that airlines can use it to advertise special travel deals through certain social media. Sometimes an airline offers a special promotion code on its Twitter or Facebook page that is not advertised on other sites. West Jet offers Blue Tag Thursdays, a special promotion offered only on Thursday afternoons (unless they have another special edition during that time). You can find this on your website or watch it advertised on your Twitter or Facebook page. By subscribing to airline or third-party website mailing lists, they sometimes send private promotional offers to their subscribers that give them secret access to their sale.
5. Don't be afraid to book your flight and hotel separately. Sometimes you can get lots of deals on sites like Expedia when organizing your vacation and booking flights and hotels at the same time, but that's not always the case. If you see an exceptional offer on a flight, book now, don't wait! You may find a better price at the hotel later. I also recommend that if you really see a lot on a flight, book now instead of waiting until later that day. Let's say you see a lot on a flight to San Francisco in the morning, but wait until you get home from work to buy tickets, this may not work to your advantage.
Let's take an example: I grew up in San Francisco and was looking for flights to return and visit (this happened in October 2012), but they were about $ 600 and I wanted to wait for a better price. A few weeks later Delta had a sale and was offering flights from Toronto to San Francisco for $ 437 CAD. That was an unbelievable price considering that everything I saw was over $ 600 in the previous weeks so I didn't wait and bought the tickets right away. I checked later that afternoon to see if the deal was still active and the price went up to $ 600. I recommend booking when you see a price that you consider a lot because it may disappear sooner than you think.
Sometimes if you are booking flights with multiple cities, it may be more economical to book separately than with the same airline. For example, last summer (June 2013) I wanted to fly from Toronto to Las Vegas, then from Las Vegas to Los Angeles, and finally from Los Angeles back to Toronto. I spent about a month and a half checking prices daily to get the best deal. I ended up getting a sale through Air Canada for flights from Toronto to Las Vegas and from Los Angeles back to Toronto. I waited on booking the US domestic flight from Las Vegas to Los Angeles because Air Canada obviously didn't offer it and prices were around $ 100 for that one-way flight at the time. About a week later, I was at Southwest.com and saw that they had a "getaway" deal for $ 49 for the flight I needed from LAS to LAX. It was a great deal, so of course I booked immediately. All airfare from various cities ended up costing $ 515. (YYZ to LAS and LAX to YYZ cost me $ 466 CAD and Southwest flight from LAS to LAX costs $ 49 USD).
6. Know at what time of year and what are the cheapest days to fly. Traveling on Tuesday and Wednesday is usually cheaper than any other day of the week. (Generally, searching midweek flights also yields the best deals.) From experience, I also think Thursday and Saturday may also offer the best price. Of course this doesn't happen all the time and you will have to try dates, which is why Skyscanner is great for deciphering which day is cheaper to leave and return to. The most expensive days are Monday, Friday and sometimes Sunday. Airlines know that most business trips take place from Monday to Friday, which is why it is often more expensive to leave on Monday and return on Friday. However, business travelers started flying on Sunday rather than Monday, hoping to get a more affordable fare, but that doesn't always work. Getting the cheapest departure date of the week depends on the flexibility of your travel dates.
The time of year also helps. It is generally cheaper to fly to Europe in the low and shoulder seasons (late fall, winter and early spring). Last year (2013), my parents traveled to Paris in April, with round-trip direct flights with Air Transat from Toronto for $ 671 each. This is not the best price I have ever seen, but it was definitely the best deal for nonstop round trip flights. Traveling during or out of the season is not always negative. Sometimes, due to bad weather, you will not want to travel during the off season, but generally the off season is less busy and offers better prices.
I think now (early spring) it's a bit more expensive to travel to Las Vegas (about $ 400 to $ 500) because most people like to go there during the spring, before the weather gets very hot in the summer months. (I'm comparing this to flight deals I saw last winter for about $ 350 CAD.) It's always wise to check which events are happening during the dates you want to travel to a particular destination. Sometimes a holiday or a large conference meeting can increase rates. I always suggest setting the average price of flights to your favorite destination and then keeping an eye on how the price varies.
7. Save money on your luggage. Most airlines now charge $ 25 for each carry-on bag. And they will charge you an extra fee if your luggage exceeds the airline's weight limit. You can avoid this by carrying low luggage and making sure your luggage does not exceed the limit (check with the airline to confirm the weight limit and checked baggage prices). Also, if you are on a short trip, consider sharing a checked bag with your travel partner (s). This can save you $ 50 in travel costs as it costs $ 25 each way to check your luggage.
If you are taking an even shorter trip (weekend trip), consider only carrying carry-on luggage and forgetting your checked baggage. Most airlines allow you to bring a small amount of liquids aboard the plane. If you are just going for a quick weekend trip, you can leave with just one carry-on bag. I did this on my trip last month to New York. I went to my local dollar store and bought a small travel bag of clear plastic containers. This allowed me to bring shampoo, conditioner, face wash, night / day cream, foundation etc. It also included sticky labels, so I knew what it was all about. I know this is not practical for everyone, but for a two-night trip, I'd rather spend $ 1 for the Dollarama travel bag and $ 50 for a checked bag. It also saves me the trouble of waiting to retrieve my checked baggage at Baggage Claim.
8. Look for travel / health insurance. I always recommend travel or health insurance (extra) for your trip, but sometimes you don't get the best price when selecting the insurance package offered by the airline when booking your flights. Typically, your work insurance offers some type of travel or health coverage when traveling. Talk to HR about this if you are unsure. You can also buy insurance through your bank – that's where I usually find the best prices. This will also be long term profitable in your plan and will travel several times during the year. (Instead of paying for insurance each time you book a flight, you may be covered by your bank or alternate location of the year for a flat fee.) If you are over 40 (or have a history of health problems) , I recommend buying extra health coverage (even if you are already covered by work). Unfortunately, we can never predict what might happen during the trip, and if heaven doesn't allow anything to happen, you'll be happy to have gotten the extra health insurance. This is something unique for each person, so I can't tell you which option is best, it's something you need to discuss with HR, your bank and your family to see which option is best for you.
9. Avoid paying for seat selection (if you can). Some airlines ask for an extra fee for early seat selection, sometimes it's included in the price – if that's the case then that's great, but if you have to pay $ 20 or more to pre-select seats. Seats, I would pass. You can usually check in early (24 hours prior to flight departure) and select seats for free. You can get the seats you want or not. It is a success or a failure. If you have no preference for where you are sitting or are willing to risk, avoid paying the additional fee for early seat selection.
10. Take advantage of travel reward programs. Today there is so much competition between airlines and credit cards, so sign up for their travel reward programs. Talk to your bank and see which travel reward credit card works best for your needs. Many of them allow you to collect points on your daily expenses so that you can redeem them on free flights. Some of these credit cards have stipulations, as you can only book flights through your bank or there are travel dates unavailable. However, due to the large amount of travel reward credit cards offered today, they are improving and you may find one that does not contain any of these stipulations. This means you can use your points to redeem flights anytime, anywhere. Sometimes these cards come with a small annual membership fee, but the rewards alone are worth it.
The same goes for airline frequent flyer programs. The more you fly with an airline, the more passenger points will be collected. This works great for business travelers because, although your company pays for their travel, they will be able to collect frequent flyer points to redeem their personal vacation travel. Some companies even allow employees to book their own flights and then submit receipts for reimbursement. This allows the employee to earn points on the travel reward credit card in addition to frequent flyer points.
I hope these tips help you when booking your next vacation or trip. Note that these tips have worked in my own experience, but may not work for everyone. The main thing to keep in mind is that the key to getting the best deal on your flights is to be patient and be flexible with your travel dates.