Let’s face it, travel is expensive and we’ve all got a lot of catching up to do. Today we’re going through 7 tips to get cheaper flights so you can tick off those bucket list destinations and hug your overseas loved ones again.
Here’s how you can book the cheapest flights and redeem the best travel rewards so you can fly knowing you’ve got the best deal.
1. There is no secret hack to finding the cheapest tickets
“The Wednesday three weeks before your flight is the cheapest time to buy your ticket”. “Always book your flight in the early morning”. “Booking a return trip is always cheaper than booking a one-way flight”.
You may have heard of these, and many other myths about booking cheap flights but that’s all they are – myths. Airlines use advanced booking and pricing algorithms based on comprehensive traveller demand data, and along with competitors keeping them in check, airlines cannot afford to have days or hours where their flight prices impact the success of their business.
2. Algorithm, shmelgorithm
As mentioned, airlines use internet search records to identify the demand of certain flights, days or times and set flight prices accordingly. You can avoid this to some extent by searching for flights in an incognito browser window or by deleting your search cookies.
You’ll find that the more you check the price of a specific flight or travel date, the more those prices increase. This is because the airlines know that the more you investigate a specific flight, the more likely you are to book it. In the end, they can safely increase the flight’s cost without too much of a risk of you booking another flight. This brings us to our next point.
3. Book your flights early
The further in advance you book your flight, the cheaper it will be, for many reasons. We recommend that you start looking for potential flights a few months in advance and as soon as you find one that you’re comfortable with the price of, buy it.
The bonus here is that if you book your flight early enough, you will have forgotten about the price by the time you’re on the plane and it will feel like a free holiday.
4. Use search engines to find the cheapest flights
Make the most of websites that can compare flight prices for you. We recommend Cheapflights for South African travel and Skyscanner for international travel. Both of these search engines have easy to use interfaces and a broad range of airlines and filters to choose from.
Google Flights is a brilliant tool for flexible travellers. Simply select your departing airport and departure dates and use the Google Flights map to select a city to travel to. While we’re on the topic, being a flexible flier with multiple dates or destinations to choose from will always help when it comes to choosing the cheapest available flight.
5. Look out for rising fuel prices
As you probably are already doing, make sure to keep tabs on the Rand price of oil. If possible, book your flight for a week later if the Rand price of oil is strengthening and book straight away if the price starts to weaken.
This way you’ll be able to buy tickets that have decreased in price due to a stronger Rand price of oil or be able to buy tickets by acting quickly before the price of oil increases.
6. Don’t always book the cheapest option
Most airlines offer an array of prices per flight, these prices can include different extras such as luggage, travel insurance or priority boarding. Make sure the flight package you are selecting is the right one for you before you end up having to pay a holiday-ruining amount of money for a bag that you thought was included in your ticket price.
7. Use a travel credit card
There are many benefits to using a credit card during your travels. Firstly, many banks entitle you to travel insurance protecting you and your belongings during your travels when you book your flights with a credit card. Secondly, credit cards tend to have better exchange rates than debit cards when travelling abroad. Thirdly, using your credit card to book your flights (or for any other purchases, depending on the provider) will earn you air miles which you can redeem for money back on plane tickets or use to get into airport lounges. In some cases, your air miles might even get you on a flight for free!
We hope you keep these 7 hacks for cheaper flights in mind when planning your next adventure. The sooner you book your flights, the sooner you’ll be on your way to see the world. Good luck and may the odds be ever in your favour!