Don't pay top dollar for your next flight
7 Tools to Reduce the Cost of Airfares
by Ricky Cortez
Over the last six years, I've been a frequent flier. As a frugal person, I did extensive research to discover the cheapest ways to fly. By using these seven tools, I reduced the cost of airfares.
1. Google Flights
Google Flights has several incredible features that will change the way you book your flights and save you more money. One of Google flights' money saving features is that you can easily see two months of fares from the day you intend to fly. This enables you to choose the cheapest day to fly. Another feature of Google Flights is that it enables you to view fares of your destination's region. If you intend to travel to London and are searching for fares from America to London, Google Flights will also show you fares to Paris, Berlin, among others simultaneously. In case you are visiting multiple locations, you can easily determine which one will be cheapest to visit first and which one you should visit last. Another feature you should know about is the "Happiness Factor" feature. The "Happiness Factor" enables you to see if food, USB power outlets, TVs, Wi-Fi, etc. is available on your flight. Finally, Google Flights has a feature tagged as "Best Flight Recommendation." This feature automatically finds the best flight for you based on a good balance of price and transit time. To use Google Flights, visit www.google.com/flights.
2. Clear Your Browser Cache
Airlines and booking sites store cookies in your browser. These cookies will monitor your browsing habits, making it easy to predict when you will purchase a flight ticket. Once these cookies settle into your device, they will jack up the price when the cookies determine that you are about to make a purchase. This may sound criminal, but it is absolutely legal in the United States. In fact, you have probably fallen victim once or twice. In order to avoid getting charged extra, always clear your browser's cache each time you're ready to purchase tickets.
3. Use a Travel Rewards Credit Card
If you travel regularly, then you should reap the rewards of doing so. There are several travel rewards credit cards that give you points when you purchase flight tickets. These points can be redeemed for a free flight in the future. It is advisable to get a travel rewards card if you are a frequent flier.
Compare Balance Trasfer Credit Cards and find the best one for you.
4. Book Flights at the Right Time
Booking flights at the right time is an incredible flight booking hack from experience. According to a study released in 2013 by CheapAir.com, the best time to book a flight is approximately 48 days before departure. This is when you can get the cheapest rates. Airlines charge hefty sums of money for extremely early flight bookings (more than five months in advance) and extremely late flight bookings (within 24 hours of departure). The best time is between these two extremes.
5. Use the Multi-City Booking Option
The multi-city booking option is available on almost all booking sites. This option is applicable to travelers who intend to take multiple flights with the same airline within a short period of time. For instance, if you are flying from the United States to London and from London to Paris within a period of two to three weeks with the same airline, then you should use the multi-city booking option. This will usually save you a few hundred dollars.
6. Score a Free Flight
If you are in a big city like Los Angeles, then it may be remarkably easy for you to score a free flight. Airlines usually overbook their seats believing that not all passengers will show up. Sometimes they make a huge mistake and too many passengers show up, so they plead with some passengers to take the next flight. Once you find yourself in this position, quickly approach an airline staff and tell them you are not in a hurry. The implication is that you have to wait for the next flight. Your journey will be delayed, but you would be offered a free flight voucher for your next flight to that destination with the airline. Please note that there is no guarantee that all airlines offer free flights for delayed passengers.
7. Combine Flight Bookings with Rental Car Bookings
Flight booking sites offer passengers discounts if they book a car rental service along with a flight. If a rental car is needed, then book one along with your flight. It will save a few bucks.
Reviewed October 2017
Take the Next Step:
- Will you need a rental car for for your travels? Use these tips to rent one for less.
- Get more tips for finding cheap airline ticket prices and avoiding air travel fees by visiting The Dollar Stretcher Library.
- Don't miss these 4 tools to avoid wasting your frequent flier air miles.
- Is debt preventing you from traveling to your preferred destinations? The Dollar Stretcher can help you get to those places you'd rather go. Get the TDS ebook How to Conquer Your Debt No Matter How Much You Have and start working toward the vacation destinations of your dreams.
- Stop struggling to get ahead financially. Subscribe to our free weekly Surviving Tough Times newsletter aimed at helping you 'live better...for less'. Each issue features great ways to help you stretch your dollars and make the most of your resources. Subscribers get a copy of Are You Heading for Debt Trouble? A Simple Checklist And What You Can Do About It for FREE!
Share your thoughts about this article with the editor.