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10 Insider Hacks for Booking Cheap Flights

Finding cheap flights can seem like an impossible task these days. With rising fuel costs, busy travel seasons, and fluctuating demand, flight prices are anything but predictable. Even in the space of a day, prices can fluctuate wildly, and a cheap flight one minute is too expensive the next. However, with the right strategies and insider knowledge, scoring a good deal on airfare is possible. Here are 10 insider hacks for booking cheap flights.

Be Flexible with Your Dates

One of the biggest factors affecting flight prices is the day of the week and time of year you want to fly. Flights are typically more expensive on Fridays, Sundays, and around major holidays. If your schedule allows, look at departing a day or two earlier or later. Flying midweek is also generally cheaper. The more flexible you can be, the easier it will be to find a bargain.

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Use Flight Search Engines

Third-party sites can scan hundreds of sites and airlines to find the best deals. Turn on price alerts and you’ll be notified when rates drop on specific routes. Use the “Explore” tool on Google Flights to easily see price graphs for entire months. For example, if you want cheap flights to JFK, use a flight search tool to search for the best options on your preferred dates.

Search for Flights in a Private/Incognito Browser

Cookies can impact flight prices, so search in a private browser to avoid this. Prices may actually decrease when airlines see you are actively comparison shopping. Either clear cookies before you start searching or open a private browser window. 

Be Flexible with Nearby Airports

Expand your airport search to include those within a few hours’ drive. Nearby airports often have cheaper flights but are overlooked. It may be cheaper to fly into an airport further away and then book a hire car than to fly direct into the closest airport. Try different options to find out.

Don’t Limit Yourself to Nonstop Flights

Opting for a flight with a layover is often much cheaper than nonstop routes. As long as the layover isn’t extremely long, this can be a worthwhile money-saving option. You can have a night in a new city and explore!

Check Budget Airlines

Major carriers aren’t always the cheapest. Discount airlines like Spirit, Frontier and Allegiant offer very low base fares but charge extra for amenities. The trade-off can be worth it on short flights.

Use Travel Rewards Credit Cards

Cards like Chase Sapphire Preferred offer generous sign-up bonuses and points on travel. Use points to cover all or part of a flight. Check monthly bonuses and credits too. This is a great way to save money. 

Avoid Booking Last Minute

Last-minute flights are almost always much more expensive. Airfare starts becoming more affordable about 3-4 months out from departure. Aim to book inside this window if possible. 

Watch for Mistake Fares

Error fares do occasionally happen, and some sites alert subscribers to these deals. Act fast as they are gone quickly! Setting price alerts can also help you snag them before they disappear.

Sign Up for Airline Newsletters

Airlines will sometimes use newsletters to offer exclusive promo codes or flash sales. Sign up to receive notifications about limited-time deals. If you join a frequent flyer program, you might also get discount deals.

Booking affordable airfare just takes a bit of creativity, flexibility and insider knowledge. Following these tips will have you jet-setting for less in no time. Consistently monitoring prices and pouncing when deals arise is key to scoring cheap flights. With the right approach, you can master the art of finding airline ticket bargains.

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