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Hello my travel loving friend! I’m glad you stopped by because today were talking alllllll about how you can save some money on flights. And more money in your pockets = more flights. Yes, please. Now I just need some unlimited PTO and I’d be set!
We all know there are tons of cheap flight hacks out there but I’m sharing tried and true tips today! I personally use all of these hacks. Trust me, I wouldn’t recommend anything I don’t love!
Without further ado, here’s 8 of the best cheap flight tips and hacks!
USE GOOGLE FLIGHTS
If you’re not using Google flights, are you living under a rock? Excuse me if that’s rude but you will kick yourself for missing out on some of the great functionality of Google flights. And the best part is it’s free to use!
Google Flights is my first go-to when I have a trip in mind. I’ll typically plug in my home airport, my destination, and scroll to the date I want and see what flights are looking like. Pretty similar to many other flight-finding websites. What I love most about Google Flights is the ability to track prices over time. As soon as your search results populate, the site will tell you if prices are high, average, or low for your route. If it’s high or average, you can simply click a switch and Google Flights will email you when prices drop!
I also love using Google Flights to compare how prices will change based on the month or day of the week. If I’m flexible within a couple months of my trip, I’ll check the calendar to see what month is the cheapest.
Want to learn more about Google Flights? Check out this post from Scott’s Cheap Flights for even more Google cheap flight hacks.
Speaking of my good friend Scott… (ok we are not really good friends, but I wish we were! Hi Scott!)
SUBSCRIBE TO SCOTT’S CHEAP FLIGHTS
Scott’s Cheap Flights is responsible for 100% of the spontaneous flights I have booked. Do with that information what you will. It can either be a huge perk for your travel life or a big problem for your wallet. But I’m choosing to look at this as a glass half full kinda situation… empty wallet, full heart, right?
Scott’s Cheap Flights takes all the work out of it for you. All you need to do is sign up for the email service and you get cheap flight alerts sent directly to your email. Whether it be an airline sale, a typical price drop, or a mistake fare, Scott’s team sends out a blast to let you know the destination and price. It’s sooo satisfying and often inspires some unique travels.
What makes Scott’s Cheap Flights unique is that you have the option to set one or multiple home airports. That way, you’re not getting random flight alerts that wouldn’t be useful to you. As an NC resident, I have RDU, Charlotte, Atlanta, DC, and even NYC set as my “home” airports. Sometimes, the deals are just too good… If I can take a $100 flight to NYC for a longer, more expensive international flight it’s worth it!
You will also have the option of signing up for a premium subscription to get even more flight alerts. If you’re looking for quick, easy, cheap flight hacks… this is it.
DOWNLOAD THE HOPPER APP
Similar to price tracking on Google Flights, Hopper allows you to enter your trip info and it will track prices for you! They have a color coded system of high, average, and low prices so it’s super easy to see if you should book right away or keep holding out.
I love the simplicity of having an app and being notified when it’s time to pay for your flight! Bonus perk: it also provides deals for hotels and rental cars!
UTILIZE CREDIT CARD POINTS
If you’ve been around Ashley on the Move for any period of time, you know I’m passionate about credit card points. Getting free travel for using a credit card? Don’t mind if I do! While I won’t say this is necessarily a “cheap flight hack” it’s definitely easier to take more flights when you’re not taking cash out of your budget to pay for them!
Unlike paying cash for flights, point values for flights don’t fluctuate as much. So if you’re trying to get the best deal this may not be the best strategy. Instead of tracking flight deals, this would be where you should put your energy into discovering the best way to transfer points.
Pssst… not sure how to use credit card points for free travel? Get started with this post on travel hacking!
With big credit cards like the Chase Sapphire or American Express, you can transfer your points to different partner airlines. Each airline sets their point value and transfer value, so the hack here is to research which airline will give you the best bang for your buck. Or cents for your points.
For example, say you want to book a flight on Southwest and you have the Chase Sapphire card. Paying cash may cost you $500, but with transferring your points you can get about 1.25 cents per point to book the flight… take it a step further to transfer your Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Southwest points and then you can get about 1.6 cents per point!
BE OPEN ABOUT YOUR DESTINATION
Ready to take a vacation but not sure where to go? You’re in a great position to utilize these cheap flight hacks! Many platforms, including Google Flights, will let you search for destinations around the world based on price. Different destinations will be cheaper at certain times of the year, so you can use that to your advantage!
You’ll put in your departing airport and the platform will generate a list of places with the price of flights. Near or far? It’s up to you!
HAVE FLEXIBLE DEPART & RETURN DATES
You know the old tip that flights are cheapest to book on Saturday and it’s cheapest to depart on a Tuesday? Yeah, I’m not sure if that’s 100% true but it is definitely true that prices are not the same for every day of the week.
If you are able to be flexible with your depart and return date, you can save hundreds of dollars! It’s most common to leave on a Friday or Saturday and return on a Saturday or Sunday, so if you can adjust your trip to weekdays you can benefit the most.
DRIVE TO A LARGER AIRPORT
Tiny airports are just more expensive. There’s not as many flights and you are paying for convenience. This cheap flight back may require a bit more effort on your part, but it’ll certainly save your wallet! Search for bigger international airports within a reasonable driving distance and you stand to save some serious cash.
For example, my home airport is RDU in Raleigh. It’s an international airport but not the biggest within my state. Often, if I’m flying internationally or just looking for a direct flight, leaving from Charlotte is cheaper! To drive two hours for certain flights I can save a good bit of money.
TRAVEL DURING SHOULDER + OFF SEASONS
I’m sure you’ve heard this tip before, but it’s a popular cheap flight hack for a reason.
Tourists seasons are much more expensive. Makes sense, right? Supply and demand baby. If more people want that flight to Italy during summer vacation then the airline knows they can make it more expensive!
Do a bit of research and discover when the high season is for your destination. The shoulder season is usually the month or so before and after high season. You’ll benefit from less crowds and lower prices! But really want to save some serious dough? Travel in the off season! The weather may not be as wonderful but if you are ballin’ on a budget this is the best time to go.
Many tropical destinations are warm year-round but have off seasons due to the rain. In my experience, the rain is a daily occurrence but not an ALL DAY occurrence. So, you can still enjoy the beautiful weather and save money! Just be sure you are traveling to a place that has a rainy season but not necessarily a monsoon season… that would be a bummer.
Money is often a determinant on how often and how far we can travel but we don’t have to let that stop us! All it takes is a little creativity and determination. There are sooo many different tips out there, but I can assure these are tried and true! Are you ready to take advantage of some of these cheap flight hacks now?!