There are many websites to book flights, making it difficult to know where to start.
So many factors add up that influence the price of your ticket too. By knowing the best way to find cheap flights, you can really lean into the process of booking your next big adventure.
Begin your search with confidence. Keep reading to discover some travel hacks that’ll help you find the cheapest flights and save you money.
Flight search engines
A flight search engine is any website where you can search and compare flight prices from various airlines and travel agencies. They get information from various sources and display it in a single location. This makes it easier for you to find flight deals.
With a flight search engine, you can compare prices, find cheap flights, and book your next adventure for less.
Last minute flights vs. advanced booking
Booking at the last minute can sometimes lead to the cheapest price, especially if the airline wants to fill empty seats. However, this is not always the case. In many situations, booking in advance is the best way to secure the cheapest plane tickets.
The travel website Jack’s Flight Club says the best time to book is three to nine months before you fly. They go on to explain last minute bookings can be at a price premium to ‘take advantage’ of people who need to travel at a certain time, like business people.
Airlines often increase prices as the departure date approaches, so waiting until the last minute may result in higher prices. Compare prices and book early to improve your chances of finding the cheapest flights.
Apps like Hopper are great for booking in advance. Using its price predictions, they say you could save an average of €58 per trip.
Airline policies, promotions, and discounts
Check what your ticket covers. Different airlines will have different policies about things like baggage, seat selection, and more. A low price tag can mean that you'll need to pay a lot more later. Check the small print before you book and read any frequently asked questions.
Check what your cancellation options are and if there are any fees involved for this or for changing dates. This could be super important if you’re enjoying yourself so much that you’re not quite ready to come home yet!
Some airlines operate a 'best price guarantee' when you book directly with them. For example, British Airways has a Price Promise. They'll give you a voucher for the difference in price if you find a cheaper flight on the same day you book.
Finally, airlines run campaigns all year round with flight offers and discounts. Many also have loyalty programmes that will reward you for travelling with them multiple times. Compare what each airline offers and work out what's best for you in the short and longer term.
Best day to fly
The best day of the week to book cheap flight tickets can vary depending on the destination and the airline. Usually, airfare prices are lower on Tuesdays and Wednesdays compared to the rest of the week.
This is because these days are not very popular for travel, so airlines may give cheaper tickets to fill their flights. Compare prices on different days and be flexible with dates and travel options to find the best deals on affordable flights.
Consider flying on days like Christmas Day, Easter, and New Year’s Day too, which are sometimes quieter and cheaper.
At Projects Abroad, many of our projects have completely flexible start dates. This puts you in control. With more choice over when you can fly, you can get the best value for your money.
Explore our Flexible Trips & Volunteer Projects.
Time of year
Demand for flights varies by time of year, with people looking for somewhere warm during the winter, for example. This impacts the price massively. Avoid busy periods, such as school holidays and major events to get the best price.
According to the online travel agency Opodo, the best month to fly is January. The average flight price is €282, compared to €336 in July.
For domestic flights, September is the best month to travel when the average price is €169 vs. €204 in July.
Routes like London to New York have some of the best prices because of the level of competition between multiple airlines. Look for destinations with multiple airlines to choose from. Sometimes this could mean stopping once or more on the way to your destination.
Look for routes that are competitive, with lots of options. For example, Manchester to Mumbai may have fewer flights compared to if you flew from Manchester to Amsterdam before hopping on a connecting flight from Amsterdam to Mumbai.
Non-direct flights can sometimes be cheaper than direct flights, but they obviously take longer.
This is because airlines may offer lower prices for flights with layovers or connections in order to fill up their planes. They provide more flexibility for dates and times, with more options available compared to direct flights.
If you’re a little intimidated by long-haul flights (anything over seven hours in duration) then breaking it up into smaller journeys could be the way to go. But beware, there may be additional costs associated with layovers, such as meals or hotels if the layover is long.
Consider factors such as the duration of the layover, the overall travel time, and any additional costs involved.
See also: Five Steps to Plan Your Gap Year
Airlines change prices to compensate for rising fuel costs. Similarly, they might reduce them if the cost drops dramatically. However, without a crystal ball, it can be impossible to know which way things will go.
Keep in mind the cost of fuel and fluctuations in price when you come to book. If you sense that prices are increasing or a bit volatile, you might want to wait. Equally, you may need to move quickly!
See also: Seven Ways Travel Changes Your Life
Now you know the key things to consider when you’re booking flights for your next adventure.
If you need help choosing your next adventure, talk to us. Our friendly Project Experts are here to help. Book your free consultation today.
When you book with us you’ll get everything except your flights, insurance, and visas. As well as getting world-class support and making a real impact, you’ll get a lot more. Almost all of our Projects come with accommodation, three meals a day, airport pick up and drop off, an induction, transport, and so much more.
See How Our Prices Work.
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