From knowing when to book a flight to search-engine tricks that can affect your price results, these tips can help you find the best deals. You'll be happy to know the tricks of the trade.
Clear your cookies.
Refreshing a window won't make your flights cheaper, but it can make them go up based on changes in demand. To help avoid this, clear your cookies. Cookies are bits of information that store the details of your web browsing, which can be used by airlines and travel websites. Deleting them effectively deletes your recent searches.
Sign up for alerts on price drops.
Websites like Airfare Watchdog and CheapAir.com make it easy to spot the best prices by providing fare-tracker alerts that let you know when prices drop. Put in your destinations of interest and their experts will email you when there are significant price drops, so you can act on them fast.
Follow airlines on social media.
Airlines have been using social media more to spring up last-minute deals for their customers. They'll often tout deals on Twitter and sometimes offer special sales to Facebook fans, but you'll need to act on these fast, since they can go quickly.
Visit the airline's direct website.
Some airlines host private sales for those who visit their sites directly. According to Mashable, airlines like Aer Lingus, Iberia, and Qantas sometimes offer flights from $100 to $400 less on their own websites in comparison to flights they offer on Kayak or Orbitz.
Get refunded when a flight goes on sale.
If you buy a flight and it goes on sale, airlines can refund you. Yapta lets you input your flight details to be alerted when you're eligible for a refund. Airlines like Alaska, JetBlue, Virgin America, and US Airways are just a few that offer refunds, which range from full-price vouchers to stipends of between $100 and $250.
Use the 24-hour rule.
Pavini recommends using the 24-hour rule. Most airlines allow you to cancel your flight within a 24-hour period without a penalty, so if you spot a great deal, you can book it and check the price again in the morning. If the price fell, you can call and cancel the booking.
Avoid booking over the phone.
Some airlines have additional fees for completing a booking over the phone, and it can be as much as $50 or higher. Pavini recommends that if you plan to book over the phone, make sure to ask if they have an additional fee.
Buy separate tickets for big groups.
If you'll be flying with a group, it can be cheaper to separate out the flights instead of buying them in bulk. Airlines typically limit the number of seats per flight that they will sell at the lowest rate, so sometimes you can price yourself out of a good deal when you have too many passengers.
Pretend you're in a different location when booking.
Where a flight ticket is purchased from can affect its pricing.
You can effectively change your residence to that of the airline's home country. For example, booking from Expedia.co.jp — the Japanese version of the site — instead of Expedia.com can yield different prices for the same routes.
Instead of searching destinations, search multiple fares.
Scouring for fares rather than places can help you spot better deals. Use Kayak's explore tool, which displays multiple airline fares on a map based on a set budget. You can also try Skyscanner's Everywhere search tool, which will list flights to various places based on the cheapest prices.
Mix and match airlines.
Booking with two airlines can be cheaper than buying round-trip. Plus, it can help you find more convenient arrival and departure times. Websites like CheapAir.com and Kayak's hacker tool give you the option to play with different airlines to form a round-trip.
Use smaller airlines.
Kelly recommends going with smaller airlines, as it can often help you find the best deals. Some of his recommended airlines include Wow Air, which offers flights as low as $250 for a round-trip to Iceland, and Norwegian Air.
Book early-morning or late-night flights.
Most people don’t like traveling early in the morning or late at night, so these times can often provide lower prices for flights. Typically, early-morning and late-night flights are good options for leisure routes, while midday flights work best for business routes.
Use search tools like Google Flights.
Search tools like Google Flights compare prices with different travel times, dates, airlines, and itineraries, and even give you the option to view them in map form. Adioso is another search engine that allows you to search for flights nearly a year into the future.
Bundle your flight with a hotel booking.
A recent study conducted by Expedia and the Airlines Reporting Corp. revealed that travelers purchasing flights with hotels or rental cars from the same company can save as much as $568. In resort destinations like Mexico, Hawaii, and the Caribbean, the data found savings as high as $800 to $1,100.
Use coupon codes.
While you might not consider using coupons for flights, websites like Coupons.com have an entire section dedicated to coupon codes for travelers. These codes range from discounts off of everything from flights booked through websites like CheapOair to hotel stays booked through Expedia.
See what perks your credit card offers.
Credit-card perks range from miles to waivers on foreign transactions. Plus, they can also work as a form of insurance to get refunded if you need to cancel flights for severe weather or injury, according to Pavini.
Snag free airline miles through rewards sites.
Check out websites like e-Miles, which allow you to cash in free miles for airfare, hotel perks, and gift cards.
Some airlines offer miles through are American, Frontier, and Alaska airlines.
Book your flight on a Tuesday.
The debate on the best day to book is tricky and can yield different results, but Tuesday has often been the prime day for booking a flight. Pavini agrees that she's found the best deals are typically found on Tuesdays at around 1:30 p.m., since most people tend to travel on Friday or Saturday.
Set your expected price and let this app do the work for you.
You'll have to look in advance, but TriggerInn lets you put in your expected price and allow the system to notify you when actual flight prices are getting close. The app regularly updates your search to garner the latest prices, essentially doing the work for you.