Aeroplane flying through the sunset (Dreamstime)
Article 31 August

7 quick, easy tips for finding and booking cheaper flights

Everyone wants to get cheaper flights, but finding good deals online can be a nightmare. Travel expert Emily McNutt has 7 simple tips for securing the best deal for your next trip

 

1: Use Google Flights

Man checking his phone for flight deals (Dreamstime)

Google Flights allows you to search for flights and get almost instantaneous results with its calendar function.

If you're partial to one airline, you can use Google's airline function to specify which carriers you do or don't want to fly with.

Google Flights' calendar function is much quicker and more user-friendly than most alternative options that can take up to a minute or more to complete a single search.

 

2: Be flexible with your plans

Couple at the airport (Dreamstime)

If flying to where you want to go either a few hours or a day before or after your exact preferred departure time could save you a ton of money, it could be worth changing your plans a bit to take advantage of the deal. A day or two could be the difference in saving you hundreds of pounds.

Using Google Flights' calendar tool allows you to look for these kinds of opportunities. For example, you could find that a Tuesday departure will save you around £200, rather than if you were to depart on Monday.

 

3: Consider nearby airports

JFK airport in New York (Dreamstime)

Know that the destination you're thinking of may not always be the cheapest, so it’s good advice to always leave your options open. 

For example, if you're planning a trip to New York, the immediate thought might be to search the usual suspects: JFK, LaGuardia (LGA) or Newark (EWR). But you should also consider the surrounding airports, as they could sometimes be cheaper: Stewart (SWF), Westchester (HPN), Islip (ISP) or even Boston (BOS) or Hartford (BDL).

You might end up paying a little more in getting to your city of choice, but the savings on the flights could be well worth it.

 

4: Play around with your options

Check-in desk at airport (Dreamstime)

Sometimes, but not always, you can find a cheaper fare if you book two one-way tickets, instead of one round-trip ticket.

The best way to search for that is on Google Flights, which gives you a quick and easy way to search for both round-trip or one-way airfare and to click around to different dates of travel. Once you've found a flight you're interested in, you can click through to book right from Google Flights.

  

5: Follow deal-finders on Twitter

Follow deal-finders on Twitter (Dreamstime)

Get alerts sent to your phone, so if you see something pop up, you can log on and purchase the deal right away.

The Points Guy, for example, puts tweets out with all of the latest deal alerts, at least one per day. Other accounts to follow include Scott’s Cheap Flights, Airfarewatchdog and Secret Flying.

 

6: Track the flights you want

Eiffel Tower, Paris (Dreamstime)

It's no secret that deals come and go. Airfares ebb and flow, and there's really no way to tell when they'll be low and when they'll be sky high. Use a tracker like Google Flights to help you watch how your desired airfare is looking.

Say, for example, you want to fly from London to Paris on a specific date. You can look it up on Google Flights and then select the option to ‘Track Price.’ 

Once you’ve set that up, Google will automatically track when the prices on that date go up or down. You'll get email notifications, too. If you see the price go down via an email alert, you'll be able to log on and purchase it.

  

7: Try the low-cost carriers but know what you're in for

Easyjet plane (Dreamstime)

Low-cost carriers are a great way to fly for cheap. When you see a £40 round-trip ticket, it's hard to not jump at it. But beware and make sure you know what you're in for.

Low-cost carriers are notorious for ‘nickel-and-diming’ travellers with added fees, including extra charges for baggage, water, printing your boarding pass at the airport, seat selection and more.

However, if you know what fees there are with a specific carrier, there are ways to get around them, if you're prepared. Do your research ahead of time to learn how you can actually save money with low-cost carriers and how to avoid additional fees. 

   

Emily McNutt is Associate Editor for The Points Guy, Brian Kelly’s website that publishes travel advice and cost-saving tips, including flier miles and credit card points. See thepointsguy.com or follow @thepointsguy on Twitter.

 

Main image: Aeroplane flying through the sunset (Dreamstime)