This post may contain affiliate links, meaning if you book or buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission at no additional cost to you. Learn more
Now that you’re armed and ready with a great array of websites and tools, it’s time to use them to find your next ticket to exotic lands far and wide.
Follow these thirteen tips to help you get the best deals, and the best value for money.
1 – Check several aggregators. Often, one will find routes another won’t return in their results, and vice versa.
2 – Remember that some airlines don’t show up in aggregators. Southwest Airlines are a good example of this, so be sure to do a quick search of the area to see what airlines operate there.
3 – Book early, but not too early. A good general rule of thumb is 1-3 months in advance for domestic flights, and 2-8 months in advance for international.
4 – Travel on the cheapest, least crowded days. Tuesday, Wednesday, and Saturday are considered the cheapest days to travel. Friday and Sunday are considered the most expensive days.
5 – Avoid peak travel months. In North America and Europe, flying from mid-June through to mid-August is very expensive. Holidays should also be avoided, such as Christmas and New Year. In addition, be sure to Google the dates you’re going to a place to make sure there isn’t a large international event or public holiday, such as Comic Con in San Diego or St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland.
6 – Join the airline’s miles or rewards program, and make sure you enter your rewards number when you book the flight. It’ll take a little effort to keep track, but will be so worth it in the long run, once the points have accumulated.
7 – Be sure to have the credit or debit card you used to book the flight with you at check-in. In some countries, they do checks, such as in Peru. We got denied entry on to our flight because of this in Cusco one time.
8 – Some credit cards give you special perks like free checked luggage on some airlines. Check if your credit card does that, and book the flight using the credit card that gives you the most perks.
9 – If you have a stopover in the US, remember to account for the fact you’ll have to collect your checked bags and clear customs before getting on your next connecting flight.
10 – Always check how many checked bags you are allowed to bring, as it varies between airlines.
11 – If you need additional bags, always pay ahead of time. At the airport, it is very expensive. An extra suitcase on a Southern China flight from Seoul once set us back an additional $50USD.
12 – When it comes to lesser-known and/or domestic airlines, try to, if possible, bring paper proof of purchases and add-ons. Due to their scale, sometimes they don’t operate as technologically savvy as larger airlines.
13 – And finally, if the airline has an app, download it. Online check-in saves you so much time, and some airlines charge extra for airport check-in. Plus, some airlines offer in-flight entertainment via their apps.