Last week I kicked off my very first travel series ‘How To Plan Your Vacation’, right here on the blog! The first blog in the series was ‘How To Pick The Best Vacation Spots’ which is, of course, the first logical step in planning your vacation! It details my methods for choosing exactly where I want my next adventure to be and I know it will be super helpful to anyone planning their first, second or third vacation!
Today I’m rolling out blog #2 in the travel series ’10 Tips To Score Cheap Plane Tickets’, and I will be sharing some major tips on a question that I get a lot! “How do you get cheap plane tickets!” Trust me, it’s not as magical as people seem to think, yes there are a lot of fare hacks and services out there and many ways to get cheap tickets, but it’s no big secret.
Now, let’s go!
10 Tips To Score Cheap Plane Tickets’
- Sign Up For Email Notifications: I’ve gotten many deals and low fares because I signed up to some of my favourite carrier’s newsletter. Many times you get notified before the wider public as an incentive for being on the list and many times when there are deals you don’t miss them because they are right in your inbox. I mean, ain’t nobody got time to be searching around the entire internet for cheap flights all day. Let your email work for you.
- Avoid Peak Seasons & Holidays: Want to bust your budget quick and pay top dollar for a plane ticket? Try travelling during these times. Airlines hike up prices during seasons like Thanksgiving and Christmas because everyone is travelling. If you MUST travel, the cheap plane tickets can usually be found by flying on the actual holiday; prices tend to drop significantly. Also, if you’re heading to a destination, the first thing to do is check the season, if it’s ‘tourist season’ or busy season, don’t bother. You would have a much better time during the off-season because prices for everything will be significantly less and you won’t have to fight the crowds either.
- Best Time To Buy Plane Ticket: The absolute last thing that you want to do is to buy a ticket days before your vacation. It’s vacation suicide. I usually begin my search months in advance and I set notifications on apps like Hopper to give me a good idea of when prices will drop or optimal buying time. According to a study by CheapAir, where they analyzed 1.3 billion flights (that’s a lot!) the “prime booking window” for U.S flights is 3 weeks – 3 ½ – months before your trip, this is the period where flights will be at their cheapest with day 54 being THE day you should buy. Flights also go up significantly within the 14-day mark. For international flights, it’s a different ball game, “Central and South America show the best time to buy at 70 days out from travel dates, Canada and Mexico 75 days out being the optimal time to purchase airfare to either of our closest neighbours, on average. The best fares to Europe can be found at 4 months out (120 days), and Asian destinations come in at 160 days from travel dates. From here, there’s a jump to 215 days for the Middle East and Africa and then a bump to nearly one year to secure the best fares for the Caribbean (320 days) and Australasia/South Pacific (320 days). My suggestion is to always sign up for fare watches on websites like AirfareWatchDog, Fare Compare and Scott’s Cheap Flights or the dozens of others out there. You can get lots of glitch fares and hacks which will make it so much easier.
- Search ALL Airports: This is a trick I actually learned from my boyfriend. When I would search for flights I would search specific airports, for instance, if I was flying into New York I automatically search JFK, instead of ALL Airports. The difference is sometimes mindblowing. It may pay off to fly just a TAD further for a cheaper rate, then UBER or hop on a train to your accommodations.
- Sign Up For Travel Rewards Credit Card: I really didn’t have my life all together but now I do, because I recently signed up for a travel rewards card and you should too. While I’m NOT a fan of credit cards, I do love how perky they are. How do they work? Well, it’s simple, you use your credit card and get travel points which can be used to buy plane tickets, hotel rooms, car rentals and so much more. As I live in The Bahamas, I signed up for a Scotia Aero Mastercard and I am able to get 1 point for every dollar I spend, so that means I try to buy EVERYTHING with my credit card, receive my points and then pay my ENTIRE credit card off BEFORE I get charged interest. I will stress that if you’re going to take this route, you have to be disciplined or you’ll end up in a ditch.
- Sign Up For Frequent Flyer Programs: A lot of you are probably leaving a lot of free flights or cheap plane tickets on the table by simply not signing up for a frequent flyer program. In the beginning, I thought it was super annoying and didn’t make much sense, but now, I’m a point lunatic. I have every single frequent flyer program and I redeem every single point from airline to hotel to car rental! I bet some of you didn’t even know you could earn hotel points. Once you have accumulated enough points you can buy flights to anywhere in the world that your airline or affiliate travels to. There are also so many other cool ways to earn points, like social media! My fav, JetBlue allows you to earn points by simply tweeting about your travels! How cool is that! I also earn badges for going to certain places, certain times of the year. It’s pretty sweet.
- Fly Somewhere Off The Grid: I know it’s pretty hard seeing all of the constant social media updates from people in Bali or Thailand or Morocco or (insert popular destination here). If a destination is popular, you’re going to have to pay top dollar, so why not go somewhere that’s low key and pay less? I mean, unless you get a hack fare that is. Airlines run specials and deals all year long to certain places, why not go to some place where there is a deal already running? Makes sense right?
- Be Flexible: If you are a flexible traveller, you’re already at an advantage. You can jump quickly on pop-up deals, hack fares or just better overall deals than boxing yourself into a specific time range. Also, before you set your vacation time, check on tickets that fall in a range like a month or two of when you’d like to travel as opposed to hard dates like May 13-27.
- Layovers Rock: It’s a known fact that layover flights are considerably cheaper. It takes a longer time to get to your destination and quite frankly it is an inconvenience. But, there are many people that don’t care about hanging around in an airport for a few hours to cut cost by a couple of dollars. My suggestion is, the longer the layover the better. Why? It’s simple. if you have a long layover you can explore whatever city it is that you are in; you’re killing two destinations with one stone and for free! If you’re going to want to explore your layover city, ensure that there is enough time between the flights and enough time for you to safely get back to the airport to check-in and go through security.
- Don’t Fly On Friday or Sunday: Weekends will cost your pockets more than a mid-week trip ever will. Tuesday, Wednesday or Saturday are far better days because travellers usually tend to fly out on a Friday and back in on Sunday, driving up airplane tickets. Beat the rush and get a jump-start on your travels by flying out, if you can, on a Tuesday and back in on a Saturday.
Remember, this “10 Tips To Score Cheap Plane Tickets” is the second blog in the travel series, “How To Plan Your Vacation”, which kicked off with, “How To Pick The Best Vacation Spots”. So, see ya next Thursday for the third instalment in this travel series. As always, you’re going to loooove it!
If you made it to the end, you’re a rock star! I hope you implement one, two or all of these tips when planning your next vacation. If you found “10 Tips To Score Cheap Plane Tickets” to be super valuable, don’t forget to share with some of your favourite jet-setters on Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter or your favourite social media network! Gracias!
Update: ‘How To Plan A Travel Series’ blog posts:
LET’S KEEP IN TOUCH!