Air travel can be prohibitively expensive and can sometimes be the most expensive component of your travel. Over the years, I’ve gotten pretty okay at getting good airfare and I HATE to see people overpay for flights. In the past, we traveled based on where we wanted to go and now flight deals are more of a determining factor in our travel plans. We don't really plan to go certain places at certain times, unless it's for a special occasion. Now, we let the deals determine where we go. Typically, when we purchase flight deals it’s either (a) somewhere we’ve been wanting to travel to, (b) somewhere we were already planning on traveling to - typically domestic, or (c) somewhere we wouldn’t want to pay a full priced ticket for.
Here are my go-to sites for finding flight deals:
- Fare Deal Alert/The Flight Deal (choose one based on what city you live in or near)
- Secret Flying
- Scott Key’s Cheap Flights (I use the free option but there’s a paid one as well)
If you see a deal you’re interested in, the best thing to do in my opinion is to go to Google Flights and open up the calendar view to see what dates your prices are showing up for and figure out when you want to go. With error fares (many of which occur on the end of the booking website), you will have to read the announcement more carefully to see what the parameters of the deal are and perhaps book through an airline’s website or booking website (i.e. Priceline) depending on the error. So far we’ve gotten two error fares (Abu Dhabi and Barcelona) and they were both honored. You have to be QUICK with these ones. You can’t hesitate. If you see an error and you want it, get it ASAP, because it will be fixed.
Lately, I’ve been seeing fewer errors and more sales. I remember reading an article saying that airfare prices would drop this summer and if the deals I’ve been seeing are any indication, that prediction was quite accurate. Just a few days ago I saw a deal from San Francisco to Quito for $435!
Another good way to get cheaper airfare is through points. I personally use the Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit card, which allows you to redeem points towards airfare and also as frequent flyer miles. You can even use the points as a partial credit and redeem them such that whatever dollar value they are worth is subtracted from your airfare. You can only do this through their site, and sometimes their fares show up as more expensive, so if you go that route make sure to compare their prices with Google Flights before committing to a ticket. What I like about Chase is that you get points for every dollar you spend, no matter what you spend it on. In the days leading up to our wedding I charged everything I could to the card (and paid it right off of course!) and was able to rack up a TON of points that way.
My last piece of advice would be to book early. I know that it’s not always possible for some but seriously it’s the easiest way to not overpay for your flights. I believe the recommended time frame for domestic flights is 6-8 weeks and 50-60 days for international flights. There’s nothing that irks me more than when people wait til the last minute and end up paying so much more than they had to because they procrastinated. This is especially true for holiday fares. Get your tix early people!!