budget travel

travel

Hacks to booking your next flight

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Air travel is usually the most convenient way to get to distant locations, but it is rarely a cheap experience. If you’re anything like me, one or more of the tabs open in your current internet browser will be someone’s travel blog, a flight booking site and Google Maps. You’re always on the lookout for new trips and deals. I can’t count how many times I’ve said, “Okay, the prices are low, I’m gonna book this flight first thing in the morning” only to find out by morning the price has skyrocketed by 30% or much more. You momentarily wonder if there’s a time machine you can use to reverse your stupidity for not booking the trip sooner!

While I can’t offer you a time machine, I can offer you 10 travel hacks and lessons I’ve learned to book the best deals for travel, especially flights. Many of these are taken either by my first-hand experience or what other trusted travelers have sworn by. Happy travels!

  1. If you see a good deal for a flight, book it immediately. Don’t wait even a few hours. There’s usually a 24-hour cancellation period (sometimes even shorter) with 100% money back, so if you really regret the trip the next morning, you can call to cancel it with a refund.
  2. Clear your cookies NOW. On all your devices that you search with. Travel websites notoriously track how many times using algorithms and how long you’ve been on travel sites, and they boost the prices accordingly to get you to buy a trip.  And it works! You find yourself in a panic with credit card in hand, booking it because you think it won’t be as low as now.
  3. Alternatively use Incognito Mode to search without your information getting saved. If your web browser doesn’t have that, use SnowHaze browser app that offers untracked browsing.
  4. Scott’s Cheap Flights is an excellent source of finding cheap flights and emailing you about it. I didn’t find the airfare I needed at the time, but they did have excellent deals if you’re not sure where to go next, but you’ve got the time off and budget for a trip.
  5. You can get on a free VPN service to mask your location.
  6. My top travel site, bar none, is Kayak.com. It’s super convenient and compares prices of different websites in one place (including other travel agents). Following that are Momondo, Hopper and Skyscanner.
  7. While this is under debate and changes yearly, as of 2018 the best days to book airfare at least 21 days in advance of your trip are Sundays. That sounds like a complicated formula, and many studies indicate it’s not the day you buy, buy the day you fly. I think it’s a little bit of both, so keep a look out on Sundays for airfare, but don’t be let down if that’s not the case either.
  8. If you’re a young person or student, use StudentUniverse to find cheap deals on airfare.
  9. Note what currency you’re searching in, as sometimes it’s higher in the country you are searching in versus USD, for instance.
  10. Sometimes if there’s a sharp increase in a brief period, take screen shots of the prices and call the airline directly – they may be able to match it if you complain and book with them directly.

Obviously none of these are guaranteed, and there are TONS of websites and resources out there to get great deals. If you know of some other great hacks, share them below!