Just like computer hackers know how to game a computer system, travel hackers are experts at gaming the travel industry. Travel hackers find the cheapest airfares to fly anywhere in the world at the best prices. Most people log in to a website such as Expedia or Travelocity, search for a flight and buy it at whatever price.
Here in our community you will get tips and tricks where to search to find better prices. Here are five tips from a travel hacker.
Our 12 Flight Hacks:
1. Use Aggregators for Initial Searches
Even though aggregator sites have cheap airfares from several different airline companies, they don’t have all airlines and don’t usually have rock bottom prices. However, they are a great place to start. Travel hackers browse aggregator sites regularly, so browse Expedia, Kayak, Travelocity and Priceline often to get a feel for current prices. You might even be pleasantly surprised and find a cheap airfare to a location that’s usually expensive. Airfare prices are seasonal, so you might get great prices to a less popular location during the year.
2. Keep your searches top secret
You’re not crazy for thinking that a flight price has changed after searching it a few times in your web browser. Based on the cookies in your browser, flight prices do increase when a particular route is repeatedly searched, as the site wants to scare you into booking the flight quickly before prices get even higher. Always search for flights in incognito or private browsing mode to see the lowest prices.
3. Use the best flight search engines
All search engines have inflated flight costs as part of taking a cut from the airlines. Some search engines (e.g. Expedia) consistently inflate much higher than others. It pays to familiarise yourself with sites that offer the best prices. Here you can check flight prices
4. Check the Airline Company’s Website
Flight booking sites use an airline company’s price feed, so they don’t always have the most recent prices. After you find a cheap air ticket on the aggregators, log in to the airline company’s site and check to see if they have any current promotions that the aggregator hasn’t calculated. For instance, take the first three airfare ticket prices and go to the airline site to cross-reference the prices.
5. Check the Airline Company’s Foreign Website
Sometimes, you can take advantage of the current currency exchange rate and find better prices for the same ticket at the company’s foreign website. Go to both sites and figure out the exchange rate to find out if you can get a ticket cheaper. For instance, the US dollar is stronger than New Zealand currency. You might be able to find cheaper rates by buying a ticket from the New Zealand website rather than the US website.
6. Check Out Different Routes
You can usually get to one city by using different routes. Each airport has different fees and taxes, so you might be able to fly to a specific city if you don’t have a layover at an expensive airport. It will probably take you longer to fly, but you can save money by increasing your flight time by an hour or two.
7. Identify the cheapest day to fly out
While many theories exist around booking specifically on a Tuesday to save money, the reality is there is no consistent truth to exactly which days are cheapest to fly. Most of the time it is cheaper to leave on a weekday, though this isn’t always the case. Your best strategy is to get a quick visual of prices for a whole month to see what days are cheapest for your specific route.
Book on Tuesday at 3 p.m. Eastern Time! A study by Farecompare.com found this was the best time to buy airline tickets and shop for domestic travel.
8. Befriend with budget airlines
Budget airlines offer significantly cheaper tickets than their full-service counterparts. It should be obvious, but this comes with compromises such as less leg room and no “free” food/drink on-board (which by the way, is normally covered in your higher-priced ticket with full-service airlines). But these smaller airline companies sometimes have cheaper airfare with fewer bells and whistles. Since cheap flights are a travel hacker’s main priority, you can compromise on amenities for a cheaper airfare.
9. Be Mindful of Seasonality & Holidays
Knowing when to go can matter just as much as when to buy. Because the most important factor that influences the price of a particular flight is how full that flight is, it makes sense that travel during Spring Break, Thanksgiving, or Christmas time would be more expensive than normal. Similarly, some destinations, especially international ones, are very seasonal in nature so research the low and peak seasons for the places you’re interested in visiting.
10. Mix and Match Airlines to get the Cheapest Flights
The “Mix & Match” category that essentially lets you combine two one way fares that may or may not be on the same airline, to form a round trip. “Mix & Match” options come in handy when either (1) the best possible fare for an itinerary requires travel on one airline going out and another airline coming back; or (2) the airline with the most convenient outbound flight doesn’t have a convenient return flight or vice versa.
11. Beware of Hidden Fees
If you do find significant savings by using different airlines, be sure to check the baggage and other fees for both airlines, as the money you appear to be saving can be consumed pretty quickly when flying on an airline with an aggressive fees policy. Different airlines have different policies on baggage. Most charge for checked bags and some even charge for carry-on.
12. Use a travel agent
Travel agents have special undercut rates that are unaccessible to the public, although this doesn’t always ensure they can provide the best price. It is wise to do your own research first, find the cheapest flight, and present that information to them to see if they can match or beat it. This would be especially beneficial for long-haul flights, where even slight savings could equate to a few hundred dollars.
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