1. Have patience. It requires effort to get a good price on flights. Now do not be discouraged, because saving $ 100 + for flights can mean that you have more money to spend on sightseeing, hotel, meals, trips, etc. This means that if you want to travel in the spring, you should start checking prices in the fall or in winter. Sometimes there are last minute deals, but more often than not you will find the best deals at least 21 days before the 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 web site to see if there are any offers on that day. I also like to delete my browser history and cookies because sometimes travel websites and airlines remember your searches, which could cause a real price increase.
My favorite site is Skyscanner. One of the great features on this site is that you can check what is the best price per day for traveling around the world from the airport according to your preferences. For example, I live in Toronto, so I enter flights from Toronto (YYZ) to Anywhere. This is a great feature because it tells me where on that day, what date, month etc. It is cheapest for me to fly anywhere in the world. (I recently used this website to help me get tickets for my trip to Seoul, South Korea in April. Other airlines charged $ 1,000 – $ 1,500 + for flights to Seoul, but Delta was promoted and I could get return flights only $ 850 / $ 770 with exchange rate.)
Another great feature on Skyscanner is that you can put your destination and travel dates and sign up for "Price Alerts" so they will send you an email if the price rises or falls for your travel dates entered. (My sister just used this feature to help her get a flight to Edmonton, Alberta to travel in May. One-way fares were around $ 300-400 and could be purchased for $ 269.)
Another site I like to use is Expedia. Every day they will display travel offers available for leading domestic and international tourist destinations. They will also include package offers for "Flight + Hotel". This helps me understand the average cost, such as a 4 night trip to Las Vegas. Let's say the price for a flight and hotel to Vegas for 4 nights on the Strip is $ 500 – $ 600 per person from Toronto, I like to watch out for stores that are equal or lower than this price – so I know I'm saving money and getting the best price.
One thing with Expedia, however, is that the advertised price is not always available. If I look at their last minute flights, I may see Miami $ 250 (departure from Toronto) flights, but when I click on the deal, it may be said that the price has increased to $ 350 instead. This is not always the case, but sometimes happens to be kept in mind.
Other websites I like are: Kayak, Redtag, Sunwing, Bing Flight Predictor and Airfarewatchdog.
2. Check the airline's direct website. While these third-party travel websites may be great, sometimes the best unaddressed offers are found directly through the airline's website. I recommend signing up for email promotions offered through your preferred airline. For example, since I live in Canada, I've been registered for Air Canada promotions. So I will see special offers available as soon as they are posted on the Air Canada website.
I really wanted to do a weekend trip to NYC with my sister this February to celebrate my 21st birthday. In addition to checking third-party websites, I would also play with the dates by entering a trip to Air Canada. This offer did not advertise, but I managed to find direct flights from YYZ to LGA for $ 199 CAD. It was a lot that I was so happy to find it through Air Canada. Airline websites sometimes also offer promotional codes, so it's helpful to check it out.
3. Check departures / arrivals from alternative airports. This is not always appropriate, but sometimes many large cities have more than one airport or another airport in close proximity to another city. For Toronto residents, we have Pearson Airport, which offers domestic and international flights, and Billy Bishop Airport, which offers select flights in Canada and the USA. There is also the possibility to cross the border and fly from Buffalo Airport. Flying from Buffalo Airport is almost always cheaper than Pearson or Billy Bishop. The disadvantage is that most (if not all flights) are not direct and you will have to pay for parking because most people leave their car at the airport when traveling. Flying from Buffalo is always the last option for me, because it's a 90-minute drive from Toronto (you must take into account gas charges) and depending on the length of your trip, parking costs can bring this discounted flight to or around the same cost as years if he left YYZ or YTZ. Sometimes, however, there are significant savings to be made when you leave Buffalo, which will certainly be worth it. (When I dealt with corporate tourism in my previous job, there were often last-minute trips, and if Group 2 or more needed to travel to the US, flying from Buffalo saved the company up $ 300 to $ 600 + per ticket.)
This can be said not only about the departure airport of your choice, but also about the airport of arrival. For example, when flying to NYC, there are basically three airports to choose from: LGA, JFK or EWR. Sometimes you can get a better price when you arrive at one airport to another. However, one thing to keep in mind is traveling from the airport to the hotel. If you are traveling by public transport, you can get to Manhattan from LGA for just $ 2.50 when you take the bus and metro by train. However, when you get to Manhattan from EWR, it is a bit more expensive because you have to take a transit from New Jersey and then switch to a transit system in Manhattan. If you take a taxi, the prices you get from every Manhattan airport may vary. This is important to keep in mind and I recommend that you do your own research before traveling.
4. Follow the airlines and third-party travel websites on Twitter (social media) and sign up for their mailing list. One of the great features of social media is that airlines can use it to promote special travel promotions through certain social media outlets. The airline sometimes offers a special promotional code through its Twitter or Facebook page, which is not advertised on other sites. West Jet offers Thursday Blue Tag, a special event that is only offered on Thursday afternoon (unless they have another special run during this time). You can find it on their website or watch it advertised on their Twitter or Facebook page. When registering with third-party or airline email lists, they sometimes send private promotional offers to their subscribers, allowing you to secretly access their sales.
5. Do not be afraid to book your flight and hotel separately. Sometimes you can earn a lot of money on sites like Expedia when you combine your vacation and book your flight and hotel, but this isn't always the case. If you see a special offer on the flight, book it now, don't wait! You may be able to find a better price later. I also recommend that you see many flights, rather book it now than wait the same day later. Let's say you see a lot in the morning at San Francisco airport, but wait until you get home from work to buy tickets, it may not work for you.
Let me give you an example: I grew up in San Francisco looking for flights to return and visit (that was back in October 2012), but they were around $ 600 and I wanted to wait for a better price. A few weeks later, Delta had sales and offered flights from Toronto to San Francisco for $ 437 CAD. It was an incredible price, having seen only $ 600 + in previous weeks, so I did not expect to buy tickets immediately. Later in the afternoon, I checked that the deal was still alive and the price returned to $ 600. I highly recommend booking when you see a price you think is a lot because it may disappear earlier than you think.
Sometimes, if you book flights in multiple cities, it may be more cost effective to book them separately than to go to the same airline. For example, last summer (June 2013) I wanted to fly from Toronto to Las Vegas, then from Las Vegas to Los Angeles and finally from Los Angeles back home to Toronto. I spent about a month and a half checking prices daily to get the best deal. Finally, I was able to get sales via Air Canada for flights from Toronto to Las Vegas and from Los Angeles back to Toronto. I was waiting to book a domestic flight from the US from Las Vegas to Los Angeles, because Air Canada apparently did not offer it, and the prices for that one-way flight at that time were around $ 100. About a week later I was at Southwest.com and saw that they had a $ 49 Getaway deal for the flight I needed from LAS to LAX. That was a lot, so I booked it right away. My whole plane in more cities ended up with a total of $ 515. (YYZ to LAS and LAX to YYZ cost $ 466 CAD and a flight southwest of LAS to LAX cost $ 49 USD).
6. Know what season and days are the cheapest to fly. Traveling on Tuesdays and Wednesdays is usually cheaper than any other day of the week. (In general, mid-week flight searches also offer the best deals). From experience I also find that Thursday and Saturday can sometimes offer the best price. Of course, this will not happen all the time and you will have to experiment with the data, which is why Skyscanner is great for deciding which day is the cheapest departure and return. The days that are most expensive are Monday, Friday and sometimes Sunday. Airlines know that most business trips take place from Monday to Friday, so it is more expensive to depart Monday and return Friday. Business travelers, however, began to fly on Sunday instead of Monday in the hope of being able to buy at a more affordable price, but that doesn't always work. Obtaining the cheapest departure date of the week of course depends on the flexibility of your travel dates.
It also helps the season. It is usually cheaper to fly to Europe during the off-season and shoulder periods (late autumn, winter and early spring). Last year (2013) my parents traveled to Paris in April by direct flights with Air Transat from Toronto for $ 671 CAD. This is not the best price I've ever seen, but it was definitely the best time for nonstop flights. Traveling during the low season or over the shoulder is not always negative. Sometimes due to bad weather you won't want to travel in low season, but generally low season is less charged and offers better prices.
I found that right now (early spring) it is a bit more expensive to fly to Las Vegas (around $ 400-500 CAD CAD) because most people like to go there during spring before the weather is too hot in the summer months. (I compare it with the flight offers I saw last winter for about 350 CAD.) It is always wise to check what is happening during dates when you want to travel to a particular destination. Sometimes a holiday or a large conference meeting may raise tariffs. I always recommend finding the average price for flights to your preferred destination and then watching the price fluctuate.
7. Save money on your luggage. Most airlines now charge you $ 25 for each baggage check method. And if your baggage exceeds the airline's weight limit, you will be charged an extra fee. You can avoid this by wrapping up the light and making sure that your baggage does not exceed this limit (check the airline and check the weight limit and the prices for checked baggage). If you're going on a short trip, also consider sharing one checked-in bag with your travel partners. This can save you $ 50 on travel expenses, as it costs $ 25 for each baggage check method.
If you are going on an even shorter trip (weekend trip), just consider bringing your hand luggage and forget about the check-in bag. Most airlines allow you to bring a small amount of fluid aboard the aircraft. If you are going on a short weekend trip, you could get away with just a bag. I did it for my trip to NYC last month. I went to the local dollar and bought a small travel bag made of transparent plastic containers. This allowed me to bring shampoo, conditioner, face wash, night / day cream, foundation, etc. It also contained stickers, so I knew what it was. I realize that this is not practical for everyone, but for a 2-night trip I would much rather spend $ 1 for a travel case in Dollarama, then $ 50 for a checked bag. It also saves me the hassle of waiting for my checked-in baggage to be loaded when I claim my baggage.
8. Shop for travel / health insurance. I always recommend getting travel or (extra) health insurance for your trip, but sometimes you don't get the best price when you choose the insurance package offered by the airline when booking flights. Your work insurance usually offers some kind of travel or health insurance when traveling. If you are unsure, talk to HR about this. Insurance can also be purchased through your bank – there I tend to find the best prices. It will also be effective in the long term in terms of your planning and traveling multiple times throughout the year. (Rather than paying for insurance every time you book a flight, you can get coverage by your bank or alternate location for that year for a set fee.) If you are over 40 (or have a history of health problems), we recommend purchasing additional health insurance ( even if you are already employed). Unfortunately, we can never foresee what could happen while traveling, and if, heaven, what happened, you will be glad that you purchased a special health insurance. This is something that is unique to every person, so I can't tell you what the best option is, that's something you need to discuss with HR, your bank and family to see which option is best for you.
9. Avoid paying for seat selection (if you can). Some airlines are asking for an additional fee to make a pre-seat selection, sometimes it's included – if it is then it's great, but if you have to make a pre-seat selection, you have to pay $ 20 or so, I will. Usually you can check in soon (24 hours before departure) and select a seat for free. You may be able to get the places you wanted or not. It's hit or miss. If you do not have precedence over where you are sitting or do not want to take risks, avoid paying an additional fee for selecting a seat in advance.
10. Take advantage of travel programs. Today there is so much competition between airlines and credit cards, so sign up for their travel reward programs. Talk to your bank to see which travel credit card best suits your needs. Many allow you to earn points for your daily expenses so you can redeem them for free flights. Some of these credit cards have provisions, for example, you can book flights only through your bank, or there are dates to end your trip. As huge travel credit cards are offered today, they are getting better and you will find one that does not contain any of these provisions. This means you can use your points to redeem flights anytime, anywhere. Sometimes these cards come with a moderate annual membership fee, but the rewards are worth it.
The same applies to frequent airline programs. The more you fly with one airline, the more points you collect. This works great for business travelers because while their company pays for their travels, they are able to collect frequent points for flyers to redeem for their personal holiday voyages. Some companies even allow employees to book their own flights and then send a payment receipt. This allows employees to earn points on their credit reward for travel reward in addition to frequent flight points.
I hope these tips will help you book your next vacation or trip. Note that these tips worked in my own experience, but may not work for everyone. The main thing to keep in mind is that patience and flexibility with travel dates is the key to getting the best prices on your flights.