How to book the best flight in your budget in 2019
Travel starts the moment you step outside your doors. Wait, somethings wrong, what about long hours that you have spent planning for it. It all started when you started looking for the flight tickets to your dream destination.
Flights tickets and hotel bookings are the first things that come to anyone’s mind when thinking about travel. I will cover my tricks on booking the best hotels within your budget in the coming days. For now, let’s continue on our quest to become masters in booking the best flights within our budget.
Flight tickets price vary for each destination depending on a number of factors including peak tourist season for the destination, how close or far are your travel dates, specific time of the day and sometimes on specific days within a week or month. While this presents us with a lot of challenges to book tickets to our dream destination, this also presents us with a lot of opportunities to get the best flight to our dream destination. Equipped with the right knowledge and little effort we can get the best flight within our budget. Let’s begin
Not all times of the year are the peak tourist season for a destination. This means that the flight tickets will be cheaper for a place during the off-peak travel season. Visiting in the off-peak season doesn’t mean less fun. Most places have tourists coming in all year round making them an ideal place to visit year long. Keeping our destination flexible allows us to use this opportunity and grab a good deal.
Dates and time flexibility
Flight prices vary for different dates and even specific times during a day. Weekend prices are generally higher than weekday prices as are during a holiday season. Keeping your date and time flexible allows you to get the best flight at a lower price.
I am flexible, now what?
To start our search for destination let’s open explore map view option on each of these sites and play around with the month and different destinations to shortlist a few.
Do remember, the flight prices that we see mostly are not final prices and are just an approximation to help us shortlist our destination and month of travel.
Use multiple websites to research
Now that we have shortlisted a few destinations. Its time to finalize our destination and look for flights to it.
There are multiple different websites for booking. Some are flight search engines like Skyscanner or Google flights. These websites perform a search on multiple different websites and give you accumulated data. However, these websites also have different sets of data to scan and no one website scans all the flights.
Almost all Airlines also have their website, which allows you to check rates and book tickets online. We should also scan these websites.
How do I know which flights operate in the region of my destination?
Its difficult to tell which airlines operate in which region and hence its easier to start our search with flight search engines like Skyscanner and then by looking at various flights that operate we can go directly to each of these websites.
Also a quick google search like “flight from Seattle to Vegas” or “Southwest Seattle to Vegas” will give you links for different websites to start your search.
Try alternative routes
Direct flights are mostly costly compared to connecting flights. Don’t fly direct if you have time. When you go on the flight search you will see a lot of connecting flights with one, two or maybe more connections.
The connections are the key to saving. Look for cheap flights to these stops and then from there look for different flights. Often you will find flights cheaper by this method.
For example, the direct flight from Seattle to Miami international is 404 USD on March 6th, while a flight from Seattle to Chicago is 126 USD and Chicago to Florida is 106 USD on the same date.
Visit multiple places in a single trip
Let’s say you plan to visit Mexico city and then you find that the flights to Colombia from Mexico city are much cheaper than flights from your home city. Grab on to this opportunity to add Colombia also to your vacation list and you have captured more in less.
The same goes for connecting flights. If it is cheaper for you to fly on a connecting flight, why not add the stop to your list of destinations.
Look for tickets on websites local to your destination
Local flight booking websites sometimes have some deals running, that might provide great value. Even though the price, in general, might be greater than other flights, combined with the deal the value may be better.
Once you have searched on flight search engines like Skyscanner and if you see a few local websites, go ahead and try searching on these websites and you might be in for a surprise.
For example, I used makemytrip.com deal to save 500 Rs. on multiple instances while traveling within India last summer.
Check low-cost airlines individually
A low-cost airline offers low fares in exchange for eliminating many traditional passenger services including leg space(literally), charging for checked bags separately and many more.
If you are fine with fewer amenities in your flight, checking low-cost airlines is a must. See the list of low-cost airlines by region in my blog post List of low-cost airlines by region. This is the most exhaustive list of low-cost airlines on the internet. So do give it a try and start searching low-cost airlines individually.
Book at the right time
Thanks for reading this far. Since you are here, I hope you have finalized your destination and also finalized the website from where you will book your flight. But wait don’t just book. Its time to create a price alert for the flight on a few of the price prediction websites. Price prediction websites provide an advance prediction on the price of flight tickets. These websites give you an approximate date as to when the flight tickets would be the best price.
Like flight search engines there are good and bad price prediction websites. A few of the websites that I frequent are Hopper, Skyscanner,
Be aware that all these websites do is a prediction and there is a chance their claim may fall flat and you might end up paying higher in case it does.
Check deals website
Deals websites do the work for you as they are constantly looking for deals. Some of the deals last long and some are very short-lived like less than a day. Most of these deals websites offer a free or paid subscription wherein once you set your destination airport, you will get frequent emails with the deals. The deals can also be searched on their websites.
I personally like Secret flying and Scott’s cheap flights a lot. Scott’s true value is only if you signup for the $39/year paid subscription and mostly has deals for US flights. Secret flying is completely free and is good for deals across the world.
Use Credit cards
Credit cards and mileage programs are great for traveling. No doubt almost all major flights offer credit cards. Most cards offer the best value if you are a frequent traveler. However, don’t let this demotivate you from getting one. For example, on United explorer card you get Free checked bag, Priority boarding and 2 United ClubSM passes. Which is a great benefit to have even for a new
Also, there are a few credit cards that offer a certain value of cashback when you spend a minimum amount in the first few months. For example Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card, that offers a one-time $500 cash bonus after you spend $3000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening. Not specific to flights booking, but when you travel, you will most likely spend a good amount and hence getting one of these credit cards, helps bring your travel expenses down.
Things to be aware of
Now that you have finalized your destination and flights and also the website to book it from. There are a few things to be aware of before clicking the payment button.
- When you book too much in advance, be prepared for flight reschedule or cancellation as the flight schedule always keep changing.
- Some lesser-known booking websites like vayama often offer very low prices when compared to other booking websites. Some of the websites could be a scam. Do your research on the website before booking. Some do guarantee booking. However, don’t expect much from lesser-known websites. For example, if you need to reschedule either these websites don’t allow reschedule or you will be blocked by nonexistent customer service or made to pay a fee for cancellation.
- Read reviews of the website where you are booking from and the Airline your ticket is for. This sets you up for what to expect. If the reviews turn out to be very bad. It might be a good idea to stay away from these websites.
- If an Airline website it offering rates very close to the best deal you are getting on another website. Book directly on the Airline website as most of the times Airlines provide better customer service including ease of cancellation, reschedule and timely information on the status of your flight.
- Do consider trip cancellation insurance to help you in case your trip is canceled last minute. This surely increases the cost of your travel. However, for some, it may provide the peace of mind that is needed before travel.
Now that you are equipped with all the knowledge needed to book flights to your dream destination. Go ahead and book the tickets to your dream destination.
Do tell me how your opinion about the post in comments. I would also love to hear about your tricks for flight booking, do tell me in the comment section below.