1. Be patient. A good price is required on flights. Now, don't let that deter you, because saving $ 100 + on flights can mean getting more money to spend on sightseeing, hotels, eating out and tours, meaning that if you want to travel in Spring, you should start checking prices In late autumn or winter. Sometimes there are last minute deals, but more often than not, you'll find the best deals at least 21 days before your departure date.
The first thing in the morning (around 9:00 am, and in the evening, after 6:00 pm) I like to browse the travel sites to see if there are any offers that day. I also want to delete my browser history and cookies, because travel sites and airlines sometimes will remember your search and this could actually cause prices to increase.
My favorite website is Skyscanner. One of the great features about this site is that you can check to see the best price of the day is to travel around the world from your preferred airport. For example, I live in Toronto, so I will enter flights from Toronto (YYZ) to everywhere. This is a great feature because it will tell me where that day, date, month, etc. Cheaper for me to travel anywhere in the world. (I used this site recently to help me get tickets for my flight to Seoul, South Korea in April. Other airlines were charging $ 1,000- $ 1,500 for flights to Seoul, but Delta was promoting it and was able to get around only $ 850/770. (US $ exchange rate.)
Another great feature of Skyscanner is that you can set your destination and travel dates and sign up for Price Alerts so they send you an email if the price goes up or down on your travel dates. (My sister just used this feature to help her get a trip to Edmonton, Alberta for travel in May. The round-trip ticket prices ranged from $ 300 to $ 400 and she managed to get them for CAD 269.)
Another site I like to use is Expedia. Every day they will offer travel deals available to major domestic and international tourist destinations. Deals will also include deals for "Trip + Hotel". This helps me feel the average cost for example, a 4 night trip to Las Vegas. Let's say that the price of the trip and hotel to Vegas for 4 nights on the strip is from $ 500 to $ 600 per person from Toronto, I would like to try to watch for deals that are equal to or less than this price – so I know I save money and get the best price.
One thing about Expedia is that the advertised price is not always available. If I am looking forward to their flight deals for last minute vacations, I may see round-trip air tickets to Miami for CAD 250 (departing from Toronto), but once you click on the deal, you might say the price has risen to CAD 350 while. This is not always the case, but sometimes it happens which must be considered.
Other sites I like to use are Kayak, Redtag, Sunwing, Bing Flight Predictor, and Airfarewatchdog.
2. Check the airline's direct website. Although third-party travel sites can be great, sometimes the best undisclosed deals are found directly through the airline's website. I recommend signing up for email promotions made through your favorite airline. For example, since I live in Canada, I signed up for Air Canada travel promotions. This allows me to see special offers available as soon as they appear directly on the Air Canada website.
I really wanted to take a weekend trip to New York City with my sister last February to celebrate her 21st birthday. In addition to checking third-party sites, I also like to play with dates by entering travel in Air Canada. They did not announce this deal, but I managed to find direct flights from YYZ to LGA for CAD 199. This was so much that I was so happy to search through Air Canada. Sometimes, the airline's website also offers promotional codes, so it's helpful to take a look.
3. Check departures / arrivals from alternative airports. This is not always convenient, but sometimes many major cities have more than one airport or there is another airport nearby in another city. For Toronto residents, we have Pearson Airport which offers domestic and international flights and Billy Bishop Airport which offers specific flights within Canada and the USA. There is also the option of driving across the border and getting out of Buffalo airport as well. Travel from Buffalo Airport is always less expensive than Pearson or Billy Bishop. But the downside is the most, (if not all flights) are not direct, you will have to pay for parking because most people leave their car at the airport while traveling. Flight from Buffalo is always my last resort, because it is a 90-minute drive from Toronto (you should think about gas charges) and depending on how long your trip takes, parking costs may raise that reduced flight to or around the same cost as the flight. She had left from YYZ or YTZ. However, sometimes there will be significant savings you can have when traveling from Buffalo, which will surely make it worth your time. (When I handled company travel in my previous job, there were frequent last minute trips, and if a group of two or more people needed to travel to the USA, Buffalo saved the company with more than $ 300- $ 600 per ticket flight.)
This can also be said not for the departure airport of your choice, but also for the arrival airport. For example, when traveling to New York City, there are basically three airports you can choose to reach: LGA, JFK, or EWR. Sometimes you get a better price when you get to one airport on the other. One thing to keep in mind is traveling from the airport to your hotel. If you transport public transportation, you can reach Manhattan from LGA for less than $ 2.50 when you take the bus and train. However, it is a little more expensive when you get to Manhattan than EWR because you have to use New Jersey, then switch to Manhattan's transportation system. If you are taking a taxi, the fares you get may vary from each airport to Manhattan. This is an important point to keep in mind and I recommend you do your research before traveling.
Follow airlines and third-party travel sites on Twitter (social media) and subscribe to their mailing list. One of the great features about social media is that airlines can use this to advertise special travel offers through some social media. Sometimes an airline provides a special promotional code through a Twitter or Facebook page that is not advertised on other websites. West Jet Blue Tag Thursday offers a special offer that is only offered on Thursday afternoon (unless they have another special offer during this time). You can find this on their website, or watch that advertised on their Twitter or Facebook page. When you subscribe to third party mailing lists or the airline's website, they will sometimes send special promotions to their subscribers that give you secret access to their sale.
5. Don't be afraid to book your trip and hotel separately. Sometimes, you can get a lot on sites like Expedia when you collect your vacation and book flights and hotels at the same time, but that's not always the case. If you see an extraordinary deal on a flight, book it now, don't wait! You may be able to find a better price at the hotel later. I also recommend that if you really see a lot on a flight, please book it now, rather than wait until later in the day. Let's say you see a lot on a flight to San Francisco in the morning, but wait until you get home from work to buying tickets, which may not work for you.
I'll give you an example: I grew up in San Francisco and I was looking for trips to return and return (this was in October 2012) but they were about $ 600 and I wanted to wait for a better price. A few weeks later, Delta sold and offered flights from Toronto to San Francisco for CAD 437. This was an incredible price, given that all I could see was $ 600 + in previous weeks, so I didn't wait and buy tickets right away. I checked later that afternoon to see if the deal was still alive and the price had risen to $ 600 USD. I strongly recommend booking when you see a price you feel is great, as it may disappear sooner than you think.
Sometimes if you are booking multi-city flights, booking them separately may be more expensive than booking the airline itself. For example, last summer (June 2013) I wanted to travel from Toronto to Las Vegas, then from Las Vegas to Los Angeles, and finally from Los Angeles to their home to Toronto. I spent about a month and a half checking prices daily for the best deal. I finally managed to get a sale via Air Canada for flights from Toronto to Las Vegas and from Los Angeles to Toronto. I waited when booking a local US flight from Las Vegas to Los Angeles because Air Canada didn't offer that and the price was around $ 100 for this one-way flight at the time. About a week later, I was on Southwest.com and saw that they had a "Getaway" deal for $ 49 for the trip I needed from LAS to LAX. This was great, so of course I booked right away. The price of a fully-fledged multi-city ticket is $ 515. (YYZ to LAS and LAX to YYZ cost me 466 CAD and the southwest trip from LAS to LAX cost 49 USD).
6. Find out which time of year and which days are cheaper to fly. Tuesday and Wednesday are usually cheaper than any other day of the week. (Generally, mid-week searches for flights also yield the best deals.) From experience, I also find that Thursday and Saturday can sometimes offer the best rates as well. Of course this does not happen all the time, and you will have to try the dates, which is why Skyscanner is great for decrypting the least expensive day to leave and return. The days that tend to be the most expensive are Monday, Friday and sometimes Sunday. Airlines know that most business trips take place from Monday to Friday, which is why they tend to be more expensive to leave than Monday and return on Friday. However, business travelers began to leave on Sunday instead of Monday hoping to get affordable fare, but that doesn't always work. Obtaining the cheapest departure date for the week of course depends on the flexibility of your travel dates.
The time of year also helps. It is usually cheaper to travel to Europe in off-season and shoulder seasons (late autumn, winter and early spring). Last year (2013) my parents traveled to Paris in April on direct flights with Air Transat from Toronto for CAD 671 each. This is not the best price I have ever seen, but it was definitely the best deal at the time for non-stop round trips. Traveling during a stop or shoulder season is not always negative. Sometimes due to bad weather, you won't want to travel during off-season, but generally the season is less crowded and offers better prices.
I find that now (early spring) traveling to Las Vegas is a little more expensive (about $ 400 to $ 500 CAD) because most people prefer to go there during the spring before it gets too hot in the summer months. (I compare this to the flight offers I saw last winter for about $ 350.) It is always wise to check events that happen during the dates you want to travel to a particular destination. Sometimes you can spend a great holiday or meeting for price conferences. I always suggest setting the average price of trips to your preferred destination, then monitoring how the price fluctuates.
7. Save money on your luggage. Most airlines now charge you $ 25 per way to check your luggage. You will be charged an additional fee if your baggage exceeds the airline's weight limit. You can avoid this by filling the light and making sure your luggage does not exceed the allowable limit (check with your airline to confirm the weight limit and to get checked baggage prices). Also, if you're on a short trip, consider sharing one luggage with your travel partner (s). This can save you $ 50 on travel costs, because it costs $ 25 per way to check your luggage.
If you are on a shorter trip (weekend trip), just think about carrying the luggage and forget about the specific bag. Most airlines will allow you to bring a small amount of fluid on board. If you're going for a quick weekend trip, you might be able to get away with a suitcase. I did this for my trip last month to New York City. I went to my store in local dollars and bought a small suitcase of transparent plastic containers. This allowed me to bring shampoo, conditioner, face wash, night / day cream, foundation, etc. It also included adhesive stickers, so I knew what it was all about. I realize that this is not practical for everyone, but for a two-night trip, I prefer to spend one dollar on a dollarama suitcase and then $ 50 to buy a specific bag. It also saves me the hassles of waiting to retrieve my bag that was checked in the Baggage Claim.
8. Walk around for travel / health insurance. I always recommend that you get travel or health insurance (extra) for your trip, but sometimes you don't get the best price when determining the insurance package offered by the airline when you book your flights. Your work insurance usually provides some form of travel or health coverage when traveling. Talk to HR about this if you're not sure. You can also buy insurance through your bank – where I tend to find the best rates. This will also be cost-effective in the long term in your plan and travel several times during the year. (Instead of paying for insurance every time you book a trip, you can get coverage through your bank or alternative place for the year for a fixed fee.) If you are over 40 years old (or have a record of health problems), I recommend buying additional health coverage (even if you are already covered by work). Unfortunately, we can never predict what might happen while traveling, and if something happens in the sky, you will be happy that you purchased the additional health insurance. This is something unique for everyone, so I can't tell you what is the best option, and this is something you need to discuss with your HR, bank and family in order to find out the best option for you.
9. Avoid paying for seat selection (if you can). Some airlines require an additional fee for seat pre-selection, and sometimes it is included in the price – if so, then you must pay $ 20 or so to make a pre-seat selection, which may pass. You can usually check in early (24 hours before departure) and choose a free seat option. You may be able to get the seats you want, or you may not. It's a blow or miss. If you do not have a preference for where you sit, or do not want to risk, you should avoid paying the additional fee to choose a pre-seat.
10. Benefit from travel reward programs. There is a lot of competition between airlines and credit cards today, so sign up for their travel reward programs. Talk to your bank and see which travel reward credit card suits your needs. Many of them allow you to accumulate points on your daily spending so you can redeem them for free trips. Some of these credit cards have conditions, such as you can only book flights through your bank, or there are travel outage dates. However, due to the sheer amount of travel rewards credit cards offered today, they get better and you can find one that doesn't have any of these conditions. This means you can use your points to redeem flights anytime, anywhere. Sometimes these cards come with a slight annual membership fee, but the rewards alone are worth it.
The same goes for frequent flyer programs for airlines. The more you fly with one airline, the more points you collect. This is great for business travelers because while the company pays for their flights, they are able to collect frequent flyer points so they can redeem them on their personal holiday trips. Some companies even allow employees to book their own flights, then send receipts for refund. This allows the employee to earn points on their travel reward credit card as well as frequent flyer points.
I hope these tips will help you when booking your next vacation or trip. Please note that these tips have worked in my own experience, but may not work for everyone. The main thing to remember is that the key to getting the best deal on your flights is to be patient and flexible with your travel dates.