Chris Guillebeau, Brian Kelly, and Matt Kepnes are well-known throughout the travel community for their ability to hack travel. They’ve made names for themselves by flying cheap and teaching us how to do the same.
Sometimes their advice comes free and other times it comes at a cost. After all, they make their money being travel experts. You can’t hate on them for expecting compensation for sharing their secrets.
You may have seen some insanely cheap flights in your lifetime. But are you aware of how to buy bargain-priced airline tickets whenever you want? You don’t have to be a ‘travel hacker’ like Guillebeau, Kelly or Kepnes. Nor do you need to become a flight attendant to fly for free.
What you do need to know is how to look for discount airfare and where to buy tickets on the cheap. And you don’t have to shell out money for books, classes, or conferences on ‘travel hacking’.
What you do need is an internet connection and a desire to save money. As long as you have those two things, you’re set. The following tips make every flight insanely cheap. Take what applies to you and your lifestyle and put the advice to good use right away.
Be flexible with your travel times
If you can leave earlier or stay later, you’re likely going to see a big drop in price while shopping airlines. Being flexible with your travel dates allows you to save big money on airfare. Some of the best websites to check for cheap tickets are:
Each service allows you to shop in advance for airline tickets. If you can’t afford to take extra days off from work, at least be flexible with the time you fly.
If you’re willing to get up early in the morning or take a red-eye flight, you’ll save. Don’t be such a travel curmudgeon that you give yourself no wiggle room in your schedule.
Buy airline tickets in advance
Don’t wait to jump on a great travel deal. Sign up for email notifications for all the major airlines and discount travel sites.
When you see airfare at bargain prices, buy your ticket right away. Flights fill fast and you don’t want to miss what could be the lowest priced tickets offered all year.
If funds are low and you can’t take advantage of a sale, don’t fret. You’ll still see a drop in prices if you book your domestic flight at least three weeks in advance.
It’s best to book a month in advance when flying internationally. Experts report that fares purchased 21 days before departure are actually lower than those purchased six months in advance. So it’s all about the timing of your purchase.
Fly mid-week whenever possible
According to Business Insider, Expedia, and Airlines Reporting Corporation (ARC) found that Tuesday is the cheapest day to buy domestic and international coach tickets originating from the United States, as well as one of the best days of the week to fly.
Wednesdays and Saturdays are great days to fly too, because they’re less popular than the rest of the week.
Again, this is where flexibility comes in handy. If you don’t have the luxury of picking and choosing when you’ll fly out, pay attention to the next few sections of the article for even more ways to find insanely cheap flights. More than one might work out to your advantage.
Compare prices between one-way tickets and round-trip tickets
As ridiculous as it may seem, one of the easiest ways to book insanely cheap flights is to skip buying a one-way ticket and opt for a round-trip ticket instead. You may not need a return flight but it pays to comparison shop. Many airlines charge more for one-way tickets so shop around for savings.
The same applies to purchasing two one-way tickets versus one round-trip ticket. It may be the cheaper route to go. Again, it’s up to you to decide what travel arrangements work best for you. If you’re not the type of person who cares to wait, having many layovers during a flight won’t serve you well.
Join frequent flier programs
Almost every airline offers a frequent flier or rewards program for free. Sign up for each one you find and read what restrictions are enforced.
When looking for travel savings, try to fly with the airlines you’re a frequent flier with or a reward members of. Make sure you’re a part of their mailing list so you get up-to-date information about changes in the program.
WebFlyer.com provides detailed information about bonus promotions for frequent fliers. Any time there is bonus miles offered through a program such as American Airlines, Delta Air or US Airways, you’ll find it on the site. Each requires you to opt-in by registering for the bonus.
Sign up for co-branded rewards credit cards
One of the biggest ‘travel hacker’ secrets is to get a bunch of different credit cards that offer frequent flier miles for making purchases. If your credit is good, this is an option that amounts to incredible airline savings rather quickly.
The point is this – make all your monthly purchases with credit not cash. Rack up rewards and then pay off the balance in full before the payment is due.
It’s a great way to build credit and a mountain of frequent flier miles that bring down the cost of domestic and international airfare. Before signing up for a credit card, read the terms and conditions of the rewards program so you understand how it works and benefits you.
Ask for airline gift cards for special occasions
If someone asks what’s on your wish list for a birthday or holiday, let them know how much you appreciate airline gift certificates. Available in different denominations, these thoughtful gifts help bring down the cost of airfare.
Keep in mind that gift cards are like cash and should be treated accordingly. If you lose a gift card before using it, you may be out of luck replacing it.
Ask the airline to see if you can apply the gift to your account without using it right away. Bank enough gift cards and pay pennies on the dollar (or nothing) for a flight.
Travel magazines, airlines, and other businesses offer promotions pretty often. The prizes they give away often include airfare and trips to exotic locations.
If these places are on your bucket list, why not enter the sweepstakes? You may have a one in a million chance of winning but so does the person who actually won the contest.
Make sure the website is credible before giving out personal information, though. Also, be sure to any read contest rules for further information.
Some promotions allow you to enter more than once, so bookmark the page and visit the website often to increase your luck. You can’t win if you don’t enter.
Apply what you’ve learned here to get discount airfare to all corners of the globe. If you’ve got the time, it’s well worth the effort!
Collect frequent flier miles on major airlines and start a collection of passport stamps. Cheap airfare is yours for the taking, so pull out your credit or debit card, pack your suitcase, and get ready to travel!