15 tips to get the cheapest air tickets

When booking a holiday, flights are often the most expensive part. Most of us book the cheapest flight they can find so we have more money to spend enjoying our holiday.
But how can you save money on flights? And how do you get cheap flights in the first place? I have compiled a list of 15 tips for cheap flights that will help you to save on airfares.
Book your flights as early as possible. Especially when you are not traveling alone. Trust me! Josh and I learned this the hard way.
During the Christmas holidays, a lot of expats travel home from Dubai. We waited too long (October) in 2018 to book our tickets and had to pay a whopping £650 (Turkish Airlines) for the cheapest flights to Brussels. Flying to London was even more expensive.
This year we booked our tickets in April. We only paid £300 each. What a difference!
The good old days that last-minute flights were cheap are more or less over. Unless you are traveling alone and not risk-averse. Colleagues would sometimes wait to book until the week before they left to get cheaper tickets on airlines like Emirates. Sometimes this works (one colleague paid £650 for non-stop Emirates flight) but more often than not you end up paying more or not going at all.
Why is this? Well, last-minute tickets used to be so cheap that everyone was waiting to book until – well- the last minute. Airlines realized this and put a stop to those cheap tickets immediately.
Studies show that tickets are the cheapest 6 weeks before you travel. My experience, however, tells me that this differs from airline to airline. I book my tickets far in advance – sometimes almost a year – to get the cheapest offers.
cheap plane tickets

2. Delete your cookies

Some websites hike up the price every time you go back to check on the price. No – I am not kidding.
As it is very hard to determine what websites are using this technique it is best to delete all cookies from your browser before you check again. This way websites won’t know you are returning to check on the price. You are now more likely to see the original price again.
If this is not the case, the price of your flight just went up.
Why do websites do this? They want to create a sense of urgency. This way they create a fear of missing out which pushes people into making a purchase. It works. It is sleazy… but it works. 
How you delete the cookies in your browser depends on the browser you are using. The best thing to do is to google the method.

3. Always use flight comparison websites

When researching the price of flights, you should always do your research with flight comparison sites such as Skyscanner. These websites will crawl many other, smaller websites to find you the cheapest flights and best deals.
Skyscanner will help you find the best dates and the best routes. When booking through Skyscanner you can still gain points and Airmiles when booking a flight through your favourite airline’s website.


4. Check travel agent’s websites

When booking long-haul flights or multi-city flights, it would be a good idea to contact your local travel retailers. Due to the fact that they are professionals and are often the first to get wind of cheap tickets, you can get lucky and get a good deal.
Joshua and I noticed this when booking our Dubai-Xi’An Beijing-London London-Dubai flights. Because we were booking multi-city it was hard for us to get good value tickets. Booking the separate tickets would be very expensive. We contacted a travel website (they are now on skyscanner btw) which took HALF (not even kidding!) of our ticket price.

5. Look out for airline sales

Did you know airlines hold sales? Throughout the year – but especially in January, airlines hold sales. You can sign up to their email lists in order to find cheap flights on sale.
Looking for cheap flights and package holidays? Sign up to my mailing list via the travel discounts page to get them straight into your inbox!

6. Sign up for email updates

Airlines aren’t the only ones who send out emails with cheap flights and holidays! Sign up to travel agents, budget airlines and even your local airport to get first-hand deals into your mailbox.
Emails to sign up for:
Your local airport
Travel agents
Online travel retailers and package holiday retailers
Budget airlines
Favourite airlines
Flight retail companies like SkyScanner
cheap air tickets

7. Try different airports

Try flying to and from different airports!
When selling tickets, Airport taxes are added to the ticket price. This means a ticket from a certain airline might be a lot cheaper when choosing to fly from a cheaper airport in the region.
Heathrow Airport Tax is notoriously high for instance. When we were looking for a flight to Colorado for our family ski holiday, we noticed that flying from Dublin to London and from London to Colorado with British Airlines was cheaper than flying from London.
Why? Because our journey started in a cheaper airport.
Whenever you look for flights, also tick the box to include airports closeby. If you are travelling to Dubai, for instance, you might want to leave from or fly to Sharjah. Sharjah airport is often a lot cheaper than its next-door neighbour’s.

8. Hand Luggage only

When flying with budget airlines, you often have to pay extra for every checked bag. I understand it might be hard to not carry a large bag on a 2-month trip, but when going on citytrip it’s best to only pack hand luggage.
Not only does it save you money, you also don’t have to wait for your bag to arrive.

9. Be flexible with dates

School- and bank holidays differ all over the world. That is why sometimes flight tickets might be inexplicably (for you) expensive.
If you are booking flights in advance it is best to check the “whole month” or even “whole year” box on skyscanner. This way you get a perfect overview of the cost of airline tickets throughout the month and year. You will easily be able to pick out the cheapest time to fly.
For instance: National Day in Dubai means airline tickets are very expensive for everyone flying to and from Dubai. You would not necessarily know this as the dates themselves seem quite arbitrary for people not living in the UAE.

10. Leave on a Wednesday

Research has shown that flying on a wednesday is cheapest. 

Do keep in mind that when living in or travelling to The Middle East travel is cheapest on a Tuesday because weeks start on a Sunday. 

11. Travel and fly off-peak

This one is a bit of a no-brainer but I am happy to include it anyway. 
Travelling off-peak is always cheaper. Be sure to research off-peak seasons for the destination you are travelling to AND why it is off-peak.
For instance: Summer is Off-Peak in Dubai. Why? Because it is scorching hot! The city is literally empty. Expats leave for home. Clubs are closed. There’s hardly anything to do. For that same reason travelling to Dubai during Ramadan is very cheap: local life comes to a halt during the day.
But isn’t Dubai always warm? No. In winter Dubai is a nice 24 degrees Celcius. It’s absolute perfect weather. Although in Europe this would be off-peak, in Dubai this is peak-season.
When you see cheap air tickets research the weather and the season where you are going to. The last thing you want to happen is being stuck in a monsoon season.
If you are traveling withing Europe your off-peak season will me May, June and October.
airline ticket deals

12. Sign up for Airmiles

Airmiles can make a very expensive flight surprisingly affordable. Do you have a favourite airline? Sign up to their air mile programs or even get a credit card that awards you air miles.
Many air mile programs even award you points when you shop through their online portal. This means that – when you buy a new laptop or even new clothes, you can shop at your favourite retailers and earn airmiles in the process.

13. Earn Air Miles by booking through rocket miles

The secret to earning A SHITTON of air miles is by booking your trip through Rocket miles. By booking through Rocket Miles you earn 1000 to 10.000 miles per night! That is a load of air miles! These air miles can be used on any air mile program you like and on any airline you want as long as it has an air mile program.
A flight from New York to Denver with Virgin Atlantic only costs 25.000 air miles for a FREE flight! If you book all your trips and getaways via Rocket Miles you EASILY get 25k miles.
So that his how to get FREE flights!

14. Embrace long layovers

Ugh! A 14 hour layover? Are you KIDDING ME? That’s the first reaction when people look closer at the cheapest flight available. But here’s the thing…I LOVE long layovers.
Because you can often very easily get out of the airport to explore the city during those 14 hours. Even 5 hours will be enough for a nice trip to Dubai mall on a long UAE layover.
Instead of discounting trips with long layovers, look up the visa requirements and what to do in the city. Embrace long layovers and make that trip just that bit more exciting!

15. Use a vpn

Airline ticket prices can differ depending on what country you are surfing from! 

In my own experience, trying the same search from different countries through using a vpn might yield very different prices. 

Try booking from the United Arab Emirates, the United States and even other European or Asian countries. 

Why? because taxes differ depending on the country AND not all airlines are licensed to be sold in ever country. When booking through skyscanner.co.uk we got different results for our flight to Kathmandu than when we looked on skyscanner.ae. 

The latter was a lot cheaper! 

What are your tips

Are there other tips I have not included in my blog post? Do you know of great travel hacks you want to share? 

Let me know in the comments! 

how to get the cheapest air tickets

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