I like to accept when I first started traveling by air, I had no idea how to make the cheapest flight booking. I used to decide the day for travel and then book the cheapest flight for that day. In those days I thought that if I book my flight 2-3 months in advance then I would get the best deal. Over the years with experience and my search for good flight deals had taught me that there are so many things one should consider to find a good flight.
The airline tickets are now becoming the highest expense when traveling. After booking my flights for over a decade, I have come up with a list of tips and tricks. I am sure these will help everyone book cheap flights.
Best days of the week and time for booking
Airlines and travel portals keep on changing prices depending upon demand. Most of the people plan and book flights over the weekend. Avoid making a booking on weekends. Instead book your flight on weekdays, specifically on Tuesdays or Wednesdays.
The best time to book a flight is from 1.00 to 3.00 PM.
There are maximum chances of getting the cheap flight fare on Tuesday afternoon.
Best flight timing
The early morning or late night flights are mostly cheaper than flights during the day. I always try to book an early morning flight because if I book a late night flight, I have to ultimately book the hotel also. So why not reach in morning and explore the city, when you are paying for the room rent.
Most of the big cities have more than one airport. The low-cost airlines usually land at the secondary airport. Make sure while searching you enter all airports instead of a selecting a specific airport.
Purchase package travel deals
Most of the travel sites offer travel packages that include the hotel as well as airfare. Sometimes the travel package is cheaper than the round trip tickets. It may sound weird but it is a fact for some particular destinations. Don’t hesitate to check this option before making the final decision. I am not saying this based on Internet research, this tip is based on my personal experience. I booked my 8 days Bhutan package (Inclusive of the hotel, local transfer and most of the meals) and it was only 20% expensive than airfare available.
Book flights incognito
We search the internet few times before making the final booking. Most of the sites use our cookies when we are searching repeatedly for a route. They can save cookies from our browser and can increase the price based on our browsing history.
Act smart and do your final search for tickets in incognito mode and outsmart them.
Sign up for newsletters
I know it is very annoying to receive lots of newsletters in the mailbox but now Gmail segregates the promotional and personal emails. So why not opt for it. Sometimes you can get the prompt information from their newsletters and get a good deal before others get the information about it.
Don’t travel in peak season
Avoid traveling during peak season for better flight and hotel deals. From my personal experience over the years now I don’t travel during the peak season. The airfares are 20-25% more than other time of the year and same goes for hotels. Traveling during peak season is not only expensive but you have to also struggle with crowded hotels or tourist spots.
When I say don’t travel in peak season that doesn’t mean you travel in total offseason. For example, in India, most popular travel destinations like Kerala or Goa or Rajasthan have maximum tourist between November to January. So, travel around end September or Mid October or February. Same way you can decide about other destinations.
Selection of payment mode
Use a Credit card instead of a debit card for payment of flight tickets, this way you will pay for the amount 30-45 days after the purchase depending upon the billing cycle. These extra days are definitely added advantage for you. Secondly, every credit card has a different reward program for flight tickets, use the one that gives you bonus points on flight booking. Some bank’s offer discount on a specific day of the week for flight tickets, keep a watch on the discount offers via bank’s SMS system. I had got an instant discount of 500 INR and 1000 INR as cash back based on these reward programs.
Check and calculate luggage costs
Most airlines give you free check-in and cabin baggage but there are some budget airlines, which don’t give you free check-in baggage. The airfare for these airlines is quite low in comparison to the other airlines. Check for extra baggage cost and include it in fare based on your requirement before making a booking. Don’t fall for the flight fare only, check for baggage allowances also.
Hope these tips will be helpful for making the cheapest flight booking. If you think, I have missed any points please feel free to add.