*In my advice below I use Momondo as an example of how to best utilise an airline search engine*
Every day the airlines have thousands of amazing deals: from mistakenly published error fares to slashed prices to compete with another airline. Cheap flights are out there if you know how to look for them.
1. Be flexible with your travel dates and times
Flight prices vary depending on the day of the week, time of year, and upcoming holidays. If you fly during peak times (when everyone else is flying), then you will pay high prices. If you are dead-set on visiting New York, go to New York in the winter when fewer people visit and flights are cheaper.
Some general things to take note: It’s always cheaper to fly midweek than on a weekend because most people travel on the weekends and airlines raise their prices then. Prices are also cheaper if you fly after a major holiday. Less people travel in the early morning and late at night so prices will be better than as well. The difference of one or two days can mean hundreds of dollars in savings.
2. Be flexible with your destinations
Be flexible with where you go if you can’t be flexible with your travel dates. Airline search engines have made it really easy to search the entire world to find the cheapest ticket available. Search engines like Momondo allow you to pick “Anywhere” as your destination. Doing so will give you the cheapest flights for the dates you selected.
3. Fly budget airlines
Budget airlines now service many long-haul routes, making it possible to bounce around the world for little money. Norwegian Airlines has flights from London and Bangkok for about $450 return. AirAsia offers super cheap flights around Asia and Australia for as little as $100 each way. WOW air is introducing cheap flights to Iceland and Europe from the United States for as little as $99. Air Asia offers tickets from Bangkok to Ho Chi Minh for $35. You can fly most of the way around the world on a budget airline! I fly on budget airlines any time I can.
4. Don’t always fly direct
When I moved to Sydney in 2017; the one way flight was $700 USD, but I found a cheap flight from Athens for $190. I had 2 layovers (one in Singapore and one in Kuala Lumpur). It meant more flying time, but the $510 I saved was well worth it. Here’s a sample flight from London to Bangkok in March 2019.
5. Take advantage of student discounts
Take advantage of your youth whether it’s for flights, trains or museums! If you are a student (or under 26), there are many, many discounts available to you. Check out travel agencies like STA Travel or Flight Centre to find your cheap ticket.
6. Search ticket prices as one person
Airlines will always show the highest priced ticket in a group of tickets. For example, if you are a group of 3 and searching for 3 seats, the airline will find four seats together and show your fare based on the highest ticket price. So if seats A and B are $300, seat C are $400, it will price those tickets as $400 each instead of adding up the individual ticket prices. In this example you save $200 just by searching as one person. You can always choose your seats during check out to be sitting with your friends.
Costs if flights are searched for 3 people = $400 x 3 = $1200
Costs if flights are searched for 1 person (3 times) = $300 +$300 +$400 = $1000
7. Book 6-8 weeks in advance
Don’t wait until the last second to book your flight. The best booking window is 6–8 weeks before your flight.
8. Set-up flight alerts
If your set on your destination and dates but you are waiting for a better price then set up flight alerts. You will receive emails when the price has changed.
9. Settle for a great deal
Don’t miss out on cheap flights by waiting for the cheapest possible flight that may never come. If you see good savings on a flight then take it.
“When I was looking for an affordable holiday to New York, I knew that Jay would be able to help me out. We had spoken about his work on Holiday Unicorn and I was not disappointed! The trip he organised for us was at least half the price of anything I could find myself. Jay has a wonderful skill of listening to what my requirements are and was able to meet everyone of them. I will always go to Holiday Unicorn first when looking to book a trip.” – Devika
“Guys!!! Just wanted to say that I booked my ticket yesterday and I paid £476 total on the exact date that I wanted (i.e. 21st of December to the 5th of January)! It’s Jay Ho who found my ticket with his company Holiday Unicorn. So I highly, highly recommend them!!! – Charlotte“