Depending on where you’re heading, flights often make up a high percentage of your travel costs, even though flying got pretty cheap nowadays in comparison to the prices years ago. There are some great strategies though how to find really cheap flights!
11 tips how to find cheap flights!
1. Compare search engines
To book some really good bargains I advise you to compare different websites. I usually start all my flight searches on my favorite websites Skyscanner and Momondo. To find the best flight times and the cheapest price I just compare the results of these two websites.
The actual booking I usually make with the airline itself to save hidden costs that are added by booking sites like Opodo or Expedia. Some airlines like Lufthansa or its subsidiary Germanwings offer the possibility to pay with a German account by direct debit. This way you save fees for credit card payment.
In some cases the offers of these booking portals are in fact cheaper than booking with the airline itself, also including all added fees. Of course then it makes sense to book via these sites via the link to Skyscanner or Momondo.
But please be careful: if you need to change your flight this is more expensive than having booked with the airline itself most of the times. The trick is to compare the prices in every detail including all fees that could arise!
2. Be flexible with the dates
The best trick to find cheap flights is to be flexible with the dates. On Skyscanner you can search for months and days and it shows you the cheapest flights for a specific month or selected days between two destinations.
Try to avoid the high season in your selected countries. In Europe high season is in summer, between June and September. In Asia and on the Southern Hemisphere it’s in winter between November and February.
To use this feature you just need to click „Flexible?“ on „Whole Month“ in the right corner when entering your dates or „Cheapest Month“ and it shows you which dates go with the cheapest flights.
3. Be flexible with your the location of departure
Every airport has it’s own arrival and departure taxes making tickets pretty expensive. Instead of flying from the main airport like Berlin-Tegel you should look into flights from Berlin-Schönefeld. Instead of flying from the main airport in Bangkok you should search for flights from Don Mueang airport.
The same applies to direct flights. Instead of flying from Duesseldorf to Miami directly and paying 900 € there are sometimes cheaper alternatives that include one or two stops. For example you can take a flight from Duesseldorf to Oslo for less than 50 € and from there to Miami for 150 €. That’s a saving of more than 500 € and maybe you’re even up to spend some days in Oslo in between?
More cheap but centrally located airports of departure in Europe are Amsterdam, Brussels oder London, you can reach them with a cheap flight or even train ticket.
Here it also makes sense to use the great feature of Skyscanner: instead of choosing a specific city or airport of departure you can choose a country and Skyscanner presents you the starting prices of all German airports of departure.
This is how it works: If you live in Cologne for example Cologne/Bonn, Duesseldorf or even Frankfurt am Main can be reasonable for you – or even Amsterdam or Brussels!
4. Be flexible with the destination!
If you’re a very spontaneous traveler and are open to your potential next adventure there are further awesome features Skyscanner offers and which I use all the time: the „All places“ feature!
You choose an airport of departure as well as your favorite date and Skyscanner issues the cheapest destinations worldwide! Awesome, isn’t it?
And if you’re even more flexible and need some inspiration for your next adventure you can combine this feature with the other two and even keep the airport of departure and date flexible.
I just love these features and take a lot of inspiration from them for my next trips. Thereby you find out about places you haven’t had on your radar by now, promising the ultimate adventure!
5. Use open jaw and multiple stop flights
Another great tactic how to find cheap flights is to look for open jaw flights. With this type of flight you book an outbound and return flight but the return flight ends at a different location than the airport of departure.
To give you an example: you fly from Frankfurt am Main to Hong Kong and back from Hong Kong to London. It can even get more extreme: we’ve once booked a flight from Berlin to Bangkok in Thailand and „back“ we took a plane from Bangkok to Johannesburg in South Afrika. That’s an open jaw too and we only paid 530 €! You see there is no limit.
A different idea is to book a multi stop flight. Means you just add another flight to your existing route. For example you fly from Amsterdam to Bali, from Bali back to Amsterdam and then add another flight to Berlin. Sometimes this turns out to be cheaper than without the additional flight to Berlin.
And the best is: if you’re only carrying hand luggage you don’t even need to board this flight and could just stay in Amsterdam. If you have checked in luggage this is not possible since it will be delivered to your final destination Berlin.
This may sound weird but you can really save money with this!
6. Watch out for error fares!
Sometimes incredibly cheap offers can be found on the internet like flights to New York and back for less than 200 €, or flights to Brasil for the same price. These super cheap offers are often so called error fares, prices that occur due to an error.
It can happen through a wrong entry of airline staff or an error caused by the transmission into the system or even just by a software error in general. These error fares are detected by specialized websites or blogs and made accessible to the public.
The deal is, you have to be really quick and flexible since most of these error fares are only valid for specific dates and routes. If you’re flexible though these flights can be very interesting for you and bring you one step closer to your next adventure – for less money!
7. Have a look at bargain websites
There are also super cheap offers from airlines itself indeed. You can find them on their websites or travel bargain websites like Tripdoo, Urlaubspiraten etc. They clearly show you the latest offers of airlines so you don’t have to comb through all the websites yourself.
It happened that you could book 10 flights within South East Asia for only 103 €, flights from Germany to Indonesia for 420 € there and back and many other choices. Checking out these websites really pays off!
8. Register for newsletters
To make it even easier register for the newsletter of these websites. This way you receive the latest offers directly per mail as one of the first and don’t need to get active.
Additionally they send you tips and tricks on how to find even cheaper flights and boost your amount of miles.
In our Off The Path newsletter we also share the best tips and tricks and tell you more about current great offers for cheap flights. Register here!
9. Fly with low-cost carriers!
If you want to fly with Lufthansa or British Airways, for example, you will have to pay a premium price. A good alternative is to rather go for low-cost airlines, that have established in most parts of the world.
In Europe it’s for example EasyJet, Vueling or RyanAir, South East Asia is dominated by AirAsia. But also in the rest of the world you get from A to B pretty cheap and don’t need to worry about your safety because the standards they need to stick to are all the same!
10. Fly with hand luggage!
When flying with low-cost carriers you can save even more money if you only take hand luggage with you. Think about buying a hand luggage backpack! You’re on the road more minimalistic and flexibel and can save money and time!
An average checked in piece of luggage of 20 kg costs about 20-30 € one way with low-cost carriers. So this adds up to 50 € extra for a roundtrip! If you need to book more than one of these flights, for example if you’re doing an around-the-world trip or stay in South East Asia, it pays off to only fly with hand luggage.
Additionally, think of all the time you save if you don’t need to drop off your luggage at the check-in counter and wait at the baggage claim. This adds up to at least 40 minutes only for waiting for your luggage!
Take a look at our article about hand luggage and read how we saved over 1.700 € in two years on the road! Here you will also find the perfect packing list, what you really need and what is completely overrated.
And check out our awesome and functional hand luggage backpacks in our shop!
11. Get a credit card to earn miles!
A tip among professionals, surprisingly very few travelers follow by now, is to get oneself a credit card to earn miles.
I got my Miles & More credit card from Lufthansa more than two years ago since I travel a lot with airlines part of Star Alliance Airlines. Now all my expenses and costs are paid with my credit card.
In two years I earned more than 80.000 miles and received several upgrades and free flights.
The price is up to 95 € per year, but you get several insurances and extras in addition.
If you register via this link you even get a nice reward of 4.000 miles and from 10.000 miles you already get a cheap roundtrip flight within Europe!
Important note though, you really need to pay all your expenses with your new credit card to get upgrades and free flights rapidly. You can just use it like a regular credit card, pay everything with it and earn miles for every transaction.
Additionally, I advise you to watch out for special deals. There are times the airline gives you up to 3 times more miles per Euro for each transaction. So if you spend 3.000 Euros a month (all your expenses) you earn 9.000 extra miles easily. That’s almost a free flight within Europe!
Summary: Flying can be really cheap!
As you can see there are a couple of tricks to find really cheap flights on the net! Keep in mind to take enough time for comparing and always watch out for special deals. The most savings can be made if you’re totally flexible, open for new destinations and adventures and travel minimalistic with hand luggage only!