Probably the most common question we’re asked is our best tips for getting inexpensive flights! A common misconception is that traveling needs to be incredibly expensive, but the truth is that with a combination of the best travel sites, credit cards and points accumulation, we are able to score flights for either free or at decent prices for each trip! We’ve compiled a few of our best tips for finding inexpensive flights around the globe!
1. Use the right search engine!
Our favorite site, by far, for finding inexpensive flights is Skyscanner.com. We use the app to search in a few different ways. First, you can search “US (or your preferred airport) to everywhere”, letting you see where the most inexpensive destinations to travel to are! We’ve used this feature to book inexpensive, last-minute getaways from close by U.S. airports and have found flights to Iceland for $149 roundtrip, Ireland for $480 roundtrip and Bermuda nonstop for $289 roundtrip. If your travel plans are flexible and you’re itching for a new destination, this can be a fun way to choose a new location! Second, you can search with flexible dates. You can search an entire month’s time to find out what days are the most inexpensive to fly – super handy for trips where you can be a bit flexible on the exact dates! Kiwi.com is another fun search engine for exploring where cheaper locations around the world are from your airports.
2. Search for one-way flights rather than roundtrips.
Many times, we’ve found that booking one way flights for trips versus roundtrip combinations have given us lower rates AND better options for dates/times/layovers. Again, Skyscanner has a feature for this using either multi-destination or just one-way.
3. Clear your browser history or use Incognito mode.
Google tracks your flight searches, so make sure you’re clearing your browser history and using Incognito mode when searching multiple times from your computer! Just hit Command-shift-N on Safari or Google Chrome, or Command-shift-P if using Firefox or Explorer. It seems crazy, but you’ll notice an inflation of fares if you repeatedly search flight locations.
4. Utilize those credit cards.
We use the Chase Sapphire Preferred credit cards for all our purchases in life (we put everything – groceries, cell phone bills, all business expenses on our personal and business Chase cards.) Through Chase’s rewards program, we’ve scored free rewards flights to Cusco, Peru, Breckenridge, Colorado, Dublin, Ireland and more. We’ve also heard great things about Capital One for all around perks, and the Southwest credit card for domestic flights. Unlike some cards, Chase has no blackout dates and their rewards flights are actually good flights with decent times and layovers.
5. Fly midweek.
The most expensive days to fly are Fridays and Saturdays, and generally the cheapest days are Mondays and Tuesdays.
6. You can use budget airlines, just plan accordingly.
The main difference with flying Norwegian or a similar budget airline? You pay for everything extra. Plan accordingly – most budget airlines like Norwegian charge $49 for a carryon or $100 a checked bag, $7 for water onboard, etc. and that’s for each way. If you can pack wisely and minimally, and don’t mind bringing your own entertainment, snacks and drinks, these airlines can be an excellent way to fly to Europe. Airlines like IcelandAir have amazing perks is their Stopover program – you can extend your stay in Iceland for up to 7 days at no additional cost when connecting through Reykjavik to any US or European destination! Two vacations for the price of one 🙂 Keep in mind that customer service is typically not as good and you can be stuck without a lot of help if your budget airline does decide to cancel a flight, move a flight etc. We only recommend this if the trip is for pleasure, not work.
6. Upgrade Yourself.
I can’t express enough how much of a game-changer this one is! By creating airline loyalty to United, I finally got status with them – which means complimentary First Class & Business Class upgrades! Having loyalty to your closest major hub’s airline can pay off so well in the long run.