While most of us can’t fly with our wings you can get cheap/affordable flights to anywhere in the world. Flying is the one of the most expensive parts of traveling but if you follow my steps you can get there.
What I don’t do
Frequent Flyer Programs
First let me start off by saying I don’t patronize frequent flyer programs. Maybe its just me but every time I’ve booked a ticket the one that was actually eligible to receive miles was more expensive than the cheapest ones and I mean upwards of $100+ more expensive. Also FF programs have a lot of strings and rules on when you can actually use the miles. I may look more into utilizing frequent flyer programs in the future but for now I’m sticking with my system.
Which brings me to my next point. No system works for everyone. Everybody swears by their system of getting cheap flights but everyone has different travel needs and requirements. This is what works for me.
Ridiculously long layovers
Full disclosure I’ll do overnight layovers if the savings is $100 or more but otherwise I’m not trying to sit around the airport for 5+ hours
Change planes multiple times
From my experience the savings are minuscule and with every plane change you increase the chance of your luggage getting lost and you missing a flight. I don’t need that stress. It’s just not worth it.
Here’s what I do
I start with Kayak
About two to three months before I’m ready to go I search Kayak.com. It is one of the best tools you have to get a price ceiling. A price ceiling is the maximum you should expect to pay for a particular flight around the time you want to go. I always do the +3/-3 days flexible date option. If you do use FF miles many of those tickets will be eligible. They’ve now integrated a a feature showing green dots on a calendar where someone else got an ‘ok’ deal on that flight. This is where most people mess up. They look at Kayak, get fooled by the “buy now” recommendation and pay too much for their flight.
I dig deeper
Think of this as a game. The prize is the knowledge that you paid significantly less for the ticket than the person sitting next to you. Now you’ve got your price ceiling so its time to dig deeper. I will then search other deep discount travel search engines like
These three guys usually have the bottom of the barrel prices but I still wait. I’ll literally keep checking one or both of those sites once a week for about 2-3 weeks before I make a purchase. That’s how I get the cheapest flights without enduring ridiculously long lay overs, more than one plane change, or end up in some place far from where I actually want to go. CheapOAir is my personal favorite.
Be flexible with dates
Plan ahead but not too far ahead 2-3 months is enough you won’t save and you may actually lose money if you book farther away than that
Fly during the week.
Fly to major airports only but only after you’ve checked to make sure the land transport to get where you actually want to go isn’t too long and too expensive
Book with different currencies. If the Euro or Dollar are strong maybe try Australian/New Zealand dollars. I personally book with Philippine pesos or some other 3rd world money. I’ve found airlines are reluctant to jack up the prices on 3rd world customers just because of currency fluctuations.