Journal/ Lifestyle/ Tasty Travels/ Travel Hacks

5 Ways I Find Cheap Flights

flights
 

Paying for flights is usually the large part of any travel budget. But we’ve all been there – scrambling the internet for the best flights at the best prices only to find the prices are never going down. Well, I’ve definitely been there and done that! In my travels, I’ve picked up a few tricks that have served me quite well. Now, of course, you will find the best flights deals if your dates are flexible. However, if you’re an unlucky 9 to 5er, like me, as well as happen to live in North America, then you know the pain of limited vacation days (Canada only gets 10 t0 15 vacation days to start, guys! Where can I sign the petition for more days??). So scoring the best flights for cheap becomes crucial.

These are 5 ways I am able to find the best flights at the lowest possible price. I can almost guarantee you will find what you’re looking for as well by following these very easy tricks.

Flying over Maui, Hawaii at sunset (taken in 2010)

1. Plan Ahead.

I’m a huge planner. I get super anxious if I don’t have some sort of idea of what to expect – trust me, I’m working on this. So naturally, I am always searching for flights, hotels and itinerary ideas well ahead of time. If you take away anything from this blog post, let it be this. Booking your flights well in advance will definitely stretch your dollar. However, it is also important to note that there is also a financial risk of booking it too far in advance (ie. 10 months or a year ahead). My golden rule (for myself and this usually works for me) is to plan 3 months prior to my trip. If you’re planning a trip that’s less than a month or two away then you’re shit out of luck and safe to assume that prices you’re seeing are the best you will get. JUST BOOK IT!

2. Go Incognito.

If you’re an avid traveller, you must already know that your browser tracks the sites you’ve been searching on. It keeps a record of your cookies, browsing history and cache. And you must already know that travel sites use this information in their pricing. What? You didn’t know?! Yes, your browsing history of your flights are recorded on travel sites so that when you return, most of the time that flight will be more expensive. It’s a way for travel companies to entice you to book NOW NOW NOW because prices are going up!

So, I also always search using Google Chrome’s Incognito web browser so that the sites do not capture any trace of me searching for that flight. I’ve compared using incognito and regular browser. There’s a difference in price, albeit not huge but the price tend to remain the same for a week or two. Yes, I’m a budget traveller and I’m willing to go through that effort for a few dollars less

Here’s how you get on “incognito browser”:

Step 1: Open Google Chrome

Step 2: Click the 3 black dots on the far right (where your menu options are) and click “New incognito window”

 

Step 3: Voila! You are not browsing like a spy!

3. Make Hump Day Great Again.

Yes, there’s a magical day of the week where prices for plane tickets tend to be the cheapest and that is – Tuesday and Wednesday between 2 to 6 pm. I will usually avoid booking any flights on a weekend because that is when the prices are at the most expensive rates for that week.

 4. Fly Together. Stay Together.

Most travel sites will offer multi seats booking at a lower rate than single tickets. If you’re travelling with a buddy or a group (and have a kind friend who is willing to charge the tickets on their card), try and book together. You’ll be able to get the seats together and they are usually a few dollars cheaper than booking on your own.

5. Mid-Week Flight

Let I mentioned before, if you have the luxury of flexible travel dates then life is easier. Booking your departure date mid-week (not a weekend) tends to be cheaper. That’s because the most people (read 9 to 5ers) normally choose to travels on a weekend. Where the demand is high, the price is usually higher. Flying out mid-week means less competition for seats, airlines want their seats filled and therefore cheaper plane tickets to your dream destination.

 

hawaii

Scenic hike around Iao Valley in Maui, Hawaii

Some of my favourite to-go sites for flights or vacation packages. My success rates with these sites have been optimal. Of course, this does not mean I’ve found the absolute best sites – everyone has their own preferences and perhaps have better luck on other sites. These are just some of the ones I frequently look at first. I’ve always found the best results on http://www.skyscanner.ca or https://www.google.ca/flights/:

  • Skyscanner: my #1 site to look up flights. I will often compare it to these other following sites.
  • Google Flights: my usual 2nd option. I’ve noticed that some airlines do not associate with every search platform out there. So always look up your flights on multiple sites.
  • Expedia
  • Orbitz
  • YYZ Deals (for Torontonians)
  • Hopper
hawaii

Throwback carefree photo of my bestie and I jetskiing across the Pacific Ocean.

What are some of your favourite travel sites to use? Do you have any tricks or hacks that have been successful for you? Leave me a comment! I love to learn more and maximize my savings!

 

**UPDATE**: This is not a sponsored post.

Disclaimer: Last updated: May 02, 2017

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