Flight Hacks

19 Cheap Flight Hacks That Will Save You Money

Cheap flight hacks are the best.

I don’t say this in an over-enthusiastic, it’s the new year sort of way (though, there is a little of that). I genuinely believe cheap flights hacks hold the secret to frequent travel. 

You see, a few years ago, I swore off most domestic and international travel because I couldn’t afford flight tickets.

They cost too much. You can’t afford it. Stop searching. 

I made excuses not to book trips that I knew would help me learn and grow. I opted to hit the road instead. While I love getting off the beaten path, coasting through small and scraggly scenic tracks, and discovering cute highway side small towns, I quickly realized that I couldn’t feasibly drive from Dallas to London. I was escaping travel (the one thing I love most in this world) because I was afraid of the price tag.

In the past few years, I’ve discovered that airline tickets can be cheap. It was an eye-opening, jaw-to-the-ground revelation that left me with the potential of harnessing a new nomadic life.

So grab a cup of cocoa because today, I’ll be spilling the tea on all my favorite cheap flight hacks.

Book On A Thursday

It actually doesn’t matter what day of the week you book a ticket. This Business Insider article claims that booking on a Sunday is best. This article claims that any day but Sunday is best.

The debate is hot. The conflict is high. I personally book on Thursdays. Why? It’s a weekday. It’s not quite the start, middle, or end of the work week.

Thursday is non-competitive. It’s dull, plain, and boring. And that’s why I love cozying up with a few flight searches on Thursdays.

Use A VPN

One of my favorite cheap flight hacks is to use a VPN service.

Most travel companies charge you prices based on where they think you are. Let’s say I search for “Argentina to Dallas flights” from Dallas. The prices are usually exorbitant. But if I use a VPN and pretend I’m searching from Argentina, the prices are normally a lot cheaper.

There are thousands of VPN services to choose from. Make sure you read the Privacy Policy though because some services collect personally identifiable information for third party marketing.

The VPN service I currently use is NordVPN. It’s $2.99 a month (really affordable) if you take the three-year plan (which I did). But if you’re just planning for a vacation, it’s $12 a month. NordVPN does not log data. The company also has servers in over 40 countries (I always try to search from the country I’m planning on visiting).

Clear Your Cookies

Clear your cookies in between searches. Or, at the very least, use some sort of incognito browser. 

Since I like to search through Google Flights, I don’t use Chrome. Google Flights has an amazing suggested trips section. But I have noticed that when I use Firefox, the suggested trip is often $20 to $40 cheaper than the ones shown on Chrome.

On Firefox, I have a specific “Do Not Track” feature enabled which ensures that my browsing history is not tracked.

I guess I’m a stickler for privacy. And it’s not because I’m doing anything illicit on the Internet. I don’t like advertisers, third-party websites, or search engines to know how much I love travel. That just leads to unnecessary increases in cost.

Black Friday & Cyber Monday Deals Are A Myth

A lot of websites will advertise amazing savings over Black Friday. While some websites are true to their word, most don’t offer the savings promised.

With discounts come price hikes. I actually really wanted to go to Miami last December. When I started poking around the Internet early November, I noticed that there were fairy godmother Black Friday deals.

So I decided to wait.

Bad idea.

The price for the Miami ticket I was eyeing was originally $79 round trip. On Black Friday, the ticket was 70% off but the price was $481 for the same day. If I purchased that deal, I would have paid double.

Holiday Flights Are Cheaper

Booking during the holidays can be expensive unless you depart on a holiday.

Most people don’t travel Christmas Day, Thanksgiving, or New Year’s. I know that when my parents booked a ticket to India last year, the price was $400 cheaper because they departed on Thanksgiving Day.

So don’t be afraid to give the holidays a shot.

Don’t Depart On The Weekend

The cheapest days to depart are normally Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

I’ve personally noticed that Saturday travel can also be equally cheap (especially for domestic flights). For most of my weekend getaways, I try to depart on a Saturday and return on a Sunday red-eye flight.

Sign Up For Airfare Newsletters

Airfare newsletters are daily email blasts featuring cheap flight deals.

I used to be signed up for a ton of airfare newsletters but my inbox was so cluttered by the end of the year, I ended up unsubscribing from most of them. Now, I’m only signed up for Airfare Watchdog. Airfare Watchdog typically sends out emails about ridiculously cheap flights or mistake fares (an unintentional pricing error from airline companies that you can totally take advantage of).

You can also check for error fares on Secret Flying. Sometimes, you can snag a first class flight for the same price as an economy class flight (let’s just say, to err is human and to take advantage of errors is also human).

Fly Budget Airlines

I absolutely love budget airlines. My go-to is Spirit. While I’ll probably get a lot of flack for saying this, I’ve never had a truly heinous experience with Spirit.

I know Spirit is a mixed bag of negative emotions for most people so I’m including a few popular alternatives here:

One small note, if you have a budget airline that you like (or more realistically, can tolerate), be sure to follow them on social media. A lot of budget airlines release flash sales on Twitter and (occasionally) Facebook.

Read More: 5 Spirit Airlines Hacks That Will Save You Money

Use Momondo

Momondo is hands-down the best flight aggregator ever. For international flights, there isn’t a better website. Enough said.

If you don’t really have a set place you want to go, Momondo has a “Find Your Next Trip” section with a wide range of cheap trip suggestions. I always poke through the World Wonders, Mysterious Destinations, and Travel Hacker Must-Sees tabs.

Try Skyscanner

For domestic searches and weekend getaways, I typically use Skyscanner. I love the user interface of Skyscanner (there’s even an easy-to-navigate app).

If you have a flexible travel schedule, use the “everywhere” option and select cheapest month to see the best deals.

Don’t Check Different Currencies

Currency conversion used to be one of my favorite cheap flight hacks. But to be honest, it’s a risky gamble. You’ll have to deal with fraud alerts (from your bank), foreign transaction fees, and translation issues.

Most websites that tell you about this hack ask you to search from countries with soft currencies. Don’t do this. If you really want to give this hack a go, purchase your ticket with a weak (but hard) currency. Soft currency is volatile. It’s extremely sensitive and very reflective of the socio-political atmosphere in a nation.

Use Layovers To Your Advantage

I once found a $20 round-trip flight to Cancun. As soon as I saw it, I transformed into a giggly, bubbly twelve-year-old version of myself.

Could this be true? Have all my dreams become a reality?

Well, sort of. There was a three-day layover in Denver and I was planning on booking a four-day trip. Oh, sugar.

But if you’re not set on a destination, you can use layovers to your advantage. To me, I saw the ticket as a $20 flight to Colorado and back (which is equally amazing).

Book Single Tickets

When purchasing plane tickets, you’ll always have the option of booking for multiple passengers at once. Always select one passenger when searching. Bulk prices on airplane tickets don’t work like a Costco grocery trip (though, I really wish it did).

Beware Of Hidden Fees

Most airlines have hidden fees. These include carry-on fees, online booking fees, in-person booking fees, online customer support service fees (I didn’t even use customer support – why am I paying for this?), seat assignment fees – the list goes on and on.

When you’ve settled on an airline, really check into their hidden fees. There might be another airline flying the same route that costs more but has fewer hidden fees.

Book (Somewhat) Early

21 days in advance is the sweet spot.

Get An Airline Credit Card

If there’s one thing I’m doing in 2019, it’s applying for an airline credit card. Daily purchases lead to points. Points lead to free miles. Free miles lead to free trips. The road continues and I like the sound of it.

Stick To One Airline Alliance

Speaking of airline credit cards, try to stick to one airline alliance. There are three major airline alliances: One World, Star Alliance, and Sky Team. If you decide to join an airline alliance, you enjoy the perks of a shared rewards program.

Snag A Student Discount

To be honest, I skipped out on most student discounts when I was in University. Why? Most student flight websites have terrible navigation. And I’ve always found cheaper flights elsewhere.

But if you’re traveling during spring break or winter break, student discounts can be really useful.

Search For All-Inclusives

Lately, I’ve been toying with the idea of all-inclusives.

A ten-day tour of Paris (with flights, food, and hotels included) for $500. Is that even possible?

As I research more, I’ve noticed that all-inclusives have several strings attached – set travel dates, set menu options, hotels far away from attractions, and red-eye flights. While I don’t mind most of them, I think purchasing an all-inclusive will be a lesson in letting go of my need to control travel planning.

Did you enjoy these cheap flight hacks? What cheap flights hacks do you use? Let me know in the comments below. 

Disclaimer: A few of the links are affiliate links, which means that I may get a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you for supporting my caffeine runs. 

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27 Comments

  • Reply
    Mr Luke Christian
    January 3, 2019 at 1:28 PM

    That Thursday trick is actually a very valid point… I’m hoping to go to Paris so will keep checking on dates, particularly Thursdays to see if that makes any difference!

    • Reply
      anshula.varma
      January 14, 2019 at 2:05 PM

      Good luck! There are some cheap flights deals for Paris (for March) running right now! Hope that helps! xx – Anshula

  • Reply
    Sean Jones
    January 3, 2019 at 1:30 PM

    A very helpful and must read blog for travel enthusiasts.

    • Reply
      anshula.varma
      January 14, 2019 at 2:05 PM

      Thank you! That means a lot to me! xx – Anshula

  • Reply
    Sharad
    January 3, 2019 at 1:40 PM

    Some great tips there gal ! Noted few of them for instance I will always book on Thursdays and will book single tickets always ! Thanks for spilling the beans for us 🙂 Now I get how come you manage to travel so much 🙂 a smart traveller

  • Reply
    Sharad
    January 3, 2019 at 1:43 PM

    Some great tips there gal ! For instance Book on Thursdays , book only single tickets , clear up the cookies and use a VPN service and even signing up airlines newsletters ! Now I know how u manage to travel so often you smart traveller anshula 🙂 🙂

    • Reply
      anshula.varma
      January 14, 2019 at 2:06 PM

      Thank you Sharad! Using a VPN service is probably my biggest secret (now, not a secret….) xx – Anshula

  • Reply
    Chidiebube mary raymond
    January 3, 2019 at 2:17 PM

    Nice post about cheap flight hacks. Very helpful.

    • Reply
      anshula.varma
      January 14, 2019 at 2:07 PM

      Glad you found this cheap flight hacks post helpful! xx – Anshula

  • Reply
    Clyde
    January 3, 2019 at 2:55 PM

    A very helpful article for me since I am planning to travel this year! Would love to go back to this article again if I book soon. 🙂

    • Reply
      anshula.varma
      January 14, 2019 at 2:07 PM

      Yes! I was hoping it would be a good reference for anyone trip planning! xx – Anshula

  • Reply
    Nicoline
    January 4, 2019 at 1:40 AM

    So many nice tips that are very useful. I’ve started departing on a Tuesday when possible after reading it was the cheapest day of the week. According to Momondo.com, it seems to be true in most cases.

    • Reply
      anshula.varma
      January 14, 2019 at 2:08 PM

      Very true! Tuesdays and Wednesdays are great days to depart! xx – Anshula

  • Reply
    Jenn - The Solivagant Soul
    January 5, 2019 at 10:19 AM

    I love checking out daily SecretFlying, and until a couple of years ago I was a loyal costumer of Momondo. Then I discovered that Momondo is terrible with cookies. Unless you are using “private mode” these guys will just add up to 30% in fees to the same flight. The worst! In any case, super usefull list! Thanks!

    • Reply
      anshula.varma
      January 14, 2019 at 2:09 PM

      Thank you so much for pointing that out! I private browse using Firefox so I don’t really run into the cookie issue! xx – Anshula

  • Reply
    Julie P.
    January 7, 2019 at 2:08 AM

    Thank you for the tips! My favourite hack is to use a VPN too. I also use Nordvpn app, I am a loyal customer for a year now and I would never change this provider into something else. It really helps me to save money not just for flights, but also for Spotify plans or renting a car.

    • Reply
      anshula.varma
      January 14, 2019 at 2:10 PM

      *High Five* xx – Anshula

  • Reply
    Hena Tayeb
    January 7, 2019 at 8:41 AM

    Some great tips.. we have flown Rynair.
    I am currently using Scott’s Cheap Flight alerts but will check out the other two links you mentioned as well.

    • Reply
      anshula.varma
      January 14, 2019 at 2:11 PM

      I used to use Scott’s Cheap Flight alerts but it became too expensive and impersonal. Maybe, I’ll look into it again! xx – Anshula

  • Reply
    it's Carmen
    January 7, 2019 at 6:38 PM

    So many good tips!! I love budget airlines too! It gets the job done (getting me from one place to another!). :]

    • Reply
      anshula.varma
      January 14, 2019 at 2:11 PM

      So true. That’s the best (and sometimes, only) way to look at it. xx – Anshula

  • Reply
    Allegra Ghiloni
    January 9, 2019 at 3:12 AM

    These are such great tips! Booking flights can be so stressful with all the different sites out options out there but these ideas are really good for getting the best deals. Thanks so much for sharing.

    Allegra xx

    The Stylish Traveler

    • Reply
      anshula.varma
      January 14, 2019 at 2:12 PM

      Thank you so much, Allegra! That means the world to me! xx – Anshula

  • Reply
    Daniella Schoeman
    February 1, 2019 at 1:26 PM

    This is such a helpful article. I am going to definitely try these tips this year. Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply
    Kim
    February 6, 2019 at 2:44 PM

    I’d never list KLM as a budget airline… Wizzair & EasyJet are way cheaper alternatives.

  • Reply
    Deboemman
    February 15, 2019 at 7:03 PM

    I have been p****** off by the exorbitant flight prices as student.This informative post did make a difference.It sure did.

  • Reply
    Johnson
    May 7, 2019 at 3:17 AM

    Nice article you made here… And i must confess, a couple of years ago, i did have the same experience of forfeiting travel by air just because i couldn’t afford the cost of flight ticket…. Yet, the tips you shared here are quite helpful. Great work!

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