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 to Find Cheap Flights
1. Use a flight search engine
In order to find the best deals from different airlines, always start your search with a slight search engine. My absolute favourite is Momondo! Over the last couple of years I was able to save a lot of money by finding the best travel times and cheapest flight fares with this site!
2. Be flexible when choosing your dates
The best trick to find cheap flights is to be flexible with your travel dates. In most cases a few days don’t really make a difference to your journey, especially when you are planning a long term trip, but equally often a few days can make a huge difference for your flight fare! On Momondo you can check the estimated flight prices for your travel period right underneath the search bar, so you immediately see on which days you will get the best deal!
Also try and avoid travelling during peak season. In Europe the busiest time for travels is in the summer between June and September, while Asia and in the entire southern hemisphere the main season falls right into the winter months between November and February!
3. Be flexible when choosing your departure airport
Every airport has it’s own arrival and departure taxes, which can make your 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 paying 900 € for a direct flight from Dusseldorf to Miami, search for some cheaper alternatives that include one or two stops. For example you can take a flight from Dusseldorf to Oslo for less than 50 € and from there to Miami for 150 €. That’s a saving of more than 500 € and you could even spend a few days in Oslo in between?
Other cheap but centrally located departure airports in Europe are Amsterdam, Brussels and London, you can reach them with a cheap flight or even by train.
4. Be flexible when choosing your destination
When you are a very spontaneous traveller and keep an open mind in terms of your travel destination, Momondo has another awesome feature for you, which I am using all the time: the “Anywhere” feature in the search bar!
You just set your departure airport and your dates and Momondo shows you the best deals for all available travel destinations. Awesome, isn’t it?
I just love this feature and take a lot of inspiration from it for my upcoming trips. That way you come across unusual places you haven’t even had on your radar up until now, promising the ultimate adventure!
5. Use open jaw and multiple stop flights
Another great tactic 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 flight as well and we only paid 530 €! You see there is no limit.
Another idea is to book a multi stop flight, which 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 you 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 just stay in Amsterdam instead. If you have checked in luggage this is not possible as 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 Brazil 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 specialised websites or blogs and made accessible to the public.
The deal is, you have to be really quick and flexible as 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 very little money!
7. Have a look at bargain websites
Sometimes you also come across super cheap offers from airlines themselves. You can find these deals on their websites or travel bargain websites like Tripdoo, Urlaubspiraten etc. They clearly show you all the latest airline offers so you don’t have to comb through all the websites yourself.
In the past you could for example book 10 flights within South East Asia for only 103 €, flights from Germany to Indonesia and back for 420 € 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 e-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 themselves in most parts of the world.
In Europe for example you have 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! With this you are not only more flexible and travel lighter, but also 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 60 € extra for a round trip! If you are booking more of these flights, for example during your 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 and earn bonus miles
A tip among professionals, surprisingly very few travellers follow by now, is to sign up to 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 90 € 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!