October 19, 2016

6 Secrets for Finding the Best Flight Deals

This is a part of my Ballin' on a Budget series, where I share tips, tricks and best-kept secrets to sticking to a budget while living your best life! 

Traveling is the best. The opportunity to see new places, immerse yourself in different cultures, and quite frankly, just to escape sometimes. But traveling can be expensive, like all the time. After four years of countless flights to and from Trinidad and the U.S., I've become a seasoned pro at figuring out flight tricks.

And while I was trying to decide what to do for Spring Break this year, I booked my flight to Puerto Rico a mere two weeks before our trip, and somehow I still managed to spend more than $200 less than my friends. How? I'll teach you!


1: don't wait to book // I can't tell you how many times I saw a flight at a great price, and thought well what if it gets cheaper, or nah I can wait a week.. and then when I check the price the week after, it's gone up. Sometimes if you're lucky, it's only by a couple dollars. Other times, it can make the entire trip completely unfeasible. I was planning a trip to Houston for a friend's wedding, and each of my flights in the connecting flight (I had two flights to get there) went up by a significant amount, making my flight increase from $350 to well over $700... so not worth it for just a three day trip.

2: compare before you book // If you take anything from this article, let it be this: Google Flights and SkyScanner. They compare every single travel site, airline and discount site to show you every single fare and every single flight going between your destinations, so you always know you're getting the best deal. A lot of times when I'm flying to or from the Caribbean, I think that Caribbean Airlines is the only option. Even though I know that's not true, subconsciously, they're my first stop. My father, on the other hand, is a seasoned pro at booking flights (six kids living all around the world does that to you!) and always checks every single airline manually... but I use my millennial brain and have it done for me. Done and done.

3: sign up for flight alerts // Have a trip you're planning on making but want to scope out the prices first, you can set up flight alerts for certain dates, airlines and even particular flights. That way you're alerted if rates are rising and you can get on it and book! But even better than that, for those who have wanderlust, enter AirfareWatchdog. The site is just as it sounds: it looks out for the best deals on airfare, but their Fare Alerts feature is one of my favorites. Enter your home airport and they email you cheap flight deals when they pop up. What better reason to fly to London than a ridiculously cheap fare?

4: know when to buy and when to fly // Booking flights can be a game, and sometimes you have to beat the system. Tuesdays around 3 pm are said to be the cheapest time to find flights as that's when discounted flights hit the airlines' websites, so try to book or search for flights on Tuesdays if you can. And choosing when you fly is important too. Flying during the week is usually cheaper than flying on weekends, late-night or red-eye flights are far less expensive than early morning or evening flights. Being smart about your flight choices can save you a couple (or a couple hundred) dollars.

5: book on incognito mode // That being said, when you're searching for flights, your browser history is obtaining the information and feeding it to the websites, so no you're not crazy for thinking that the flight went up just because you went back online to check the price. Switching to incognito mode or clearing your temporary files of your browser history allow you to book as if you're a new person, giving you the same low prices you originally saw.

6: check social media // People don't think to check an airline's Facebook or Twitter before they're booking a flight, but just like any other retailer, airlines have regular deals, specials and discounts. Your favorite airlines often have flash sales. Take it from me, one of my clients at work is an airline, and we've done several flash sale promos within the last month that we advertise throughout their social media. So keep your eyes peeled and get to following those airlines! You never know what'll pop up in your timeline..

I hope these tips help you when you're booking your next trip (or your hypothetical trip... tell me I'm not the only one who does that?!!). Traveling is the best, and now, flights don't have to break the bank!

What are your favorite ways to save money when traveling? Let me know in the comments below!

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42 comments:

  1. Living far away from family this is a must, We are always looking for cheep flights!

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  2. This is great! Did not know about the first point!

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  3. this is perfect timing as I'm trying to book holiday trips! I have never heard about google flights! How cool! Thanks!

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  4. This surprised me in a few ways. Thanks for sharing this, much appreciated :)

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  5. I always wait to book and fail. Great tips!

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  6. This is great timing for me as I have a few trips planned for the beginning of next year and I am going to be looking for flights! Love this ballin' on a budget series!

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  7. That incognito mode is new to me! And its something I should have thought of! So true - and totally clearing cache next time I do the next searches!

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  8. My husband and I really want to be able to travel more, but buying the flights has been the biggest thing stopping us. Several of these tips are new to me. Thanks! How long in advance would you recommend buying a flight?

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  9. Yes yes yes to all of these! I fly between school (Florida) and home (Michigan) a lot, and I've also booked flights for an international trip before... so I can attest that all of these are spot on! Especially not waiting to book your flight - when I was looking at flights for my trip to France last spring, I found a really cheap one (like $800), but I waited too long to book it and it ended up being like $500 more expensive! I was majorly kicking myself!!!

    Stephanie | www.stephanietherese.com

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  10. These are great tips! We want to travel more, but as a family of four flying is expensive!

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  11. I love trying to get flights as cheap as possible because lots of flights can be crazy expensive.

    xoxo, Jenny

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  12. Incognito mode is such a good tip!! I would've never thought of that.

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  13. Thank you for this post! I am planning a trip to see family in Oregon so this will help to make me not go broke doing it!

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  14. These are such good tips. Thanks for sharing!
    Greta | www.gretahollar.com

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  15. Flight alerts are another tip I wouldn't have otherwise known. I don't really el often but I have family who do. Definitely sharing these tips with them!

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  16. Great tips! I'll have to sign up for Fare alerts. I didn't know about that one. I'm an army wife so our family saves with the military discounts! :)Great post!

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  17. These are cool tips. We are planning to travel to Japan this coming holidays, so we've been checking online for deals. I had no idea that booking on incognito mode will help.

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  18. All of these tips are spot-on! I had to learn through trial and error when it came to nabbing the best flight deals.

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  19. I have not had to fly in years. So much has changed in the booking options since my last flight! Great post!

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  20. In the beginning i made the mistake of booking through travel search engines. This loses you money because you're paying the commission fee. Great advice!

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  21. Oh my god I did NOT realize that being incognito helped that much...but it makes total sense! How SNEAKY of them!! But also smart, so props. Ha! Sharing this.

    Coming Up Roses

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  22. I was just discussing that I need a good deal on a flight to California. I would love to grab a cheap one!

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  23. As a travel junkie I am always looking for cheap flights! Skyscanner is my BFF, however I never thought about searching incognito so definitely a good tip I will be using!

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  24. These are all great tips. Another tip I would add is to check Southwest.com because 99% of the time, you can only see their prices and flights on their site and they have awesome deals!

    xo, Chelsie @ Hey There, Chelsie

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  25. I like to begin looking months in advance so I have an idea of what a good deal is....but yes, once you find it you've got to book!

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  26. I love Skyscanner, and I have the app too. That incognito mode, good idea!

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  27. These are great tips! I agree that Tuesday is the best day to purchase tickets! I have even gotten up around midnight Tuesday night/Wednesday morning and found great prices!

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  28. These are great tips! My husband and I now have to pay for five tickets every time we travel as a family. We're always looking for ways to save on flights!

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  29. I have not figured out how to switch my computer on to incognito mode. For the most part I have really good luck with airfare deals by following the airfare watch dogs on twitter.

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  30. These are super awesome tips!!! I did even think about using an incognito window but that makes TOTAL sense. I will totally use those comparison sites too, I didn't even know about them!

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  31. I didn't know about the incognito mode! I also didn't know there were certain times that were better to buy! Thank for these amazing tips!

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  32. I really need to go on more trips! These are great actionable trips that I know would
    Help keep costs down.

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  33. I didn't even think about incognito mode! Heck I didn't even know i had that option on my computer.. haha! Thanks for sharing these tips!!
    xoxo
    Amy | Pastel N Pink

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  34. These are all awesome tips that I'm about to utilize. I'm looking for flights right to Portugal as I type this and I hope to find some good ones. :-) Seriously about incognito mode. Totally using that from now on.

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  35. Those are great tips. Being subscribed to the pages and websites of the airlines is really going to help! And I agree with the research! Thanks for these tips!

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  36. These are really good tips. Looking on social media can really mean big savings.

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  37. These are all such good tips! I just pinned this because I'm going to be booking some flights soon and want to refer back to it!

    Kristin
    The Blush Blonde

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  38. These are all such awesome tips! I am not very good at scouting for deals so I'll definitely be using some of these.

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  39. oh! thanks for sharing your secret weapons with us! so smart! vacay: here i come!

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  40. These are all great tips! I recently discovered Google Flights and it's where I start now when starting my search.

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  41. Ah it's time to start booking holiday trips! These are great. I also liked Student Advantage when I was in school.

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  42. These are such great tips! My major credit card gives double the air miles on every single purchase so I've gotten a LOT of flight discounts, which is so great because I travel a lot!

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