Summer is fast approaching, and with the weather being as it has been recently it’s hard to not book that flight to the beach. One of the things I try to do when booking a holiday is to save as much money as I can on the flight so I can have more to spend during my week or two of R&R. Funnily enough, in light of the recent United debacle, United airline flights are now pretty flippin’ cheap.
Whether you are flying somewhere around the United States, or plan to visit another country altogether, here are some airline ticket hacks which can save you time, money and heartache.
Getting Cheap Airline Tickets
Tip #1: Buy your tickets six weeks out.
Whether you are flying domestic or International, buy your tickets around six weeks out. If you buy them a few months before your trip, you are missing the sales. If you are buying them close to your flight date, they may jack up the prices. A good rule of thumb I stick to is about six weeks out on a Tuesday. If you are buying tickets closer to the flight date, then buy on a Sunday. Don’t ask me why – I don’t make these rules!
Tip #2: What’s cheaper – two one-way tickets or roundtrip?
This is something you have to check – sometimes buying two one-way tickets are cheaper than flying round trip.
Tip #3: What’s cheaper – buying for the whole family or buying for one passenger at a time?
Again, this is something you are going to have to check – those airlines can be sneaky when it comes to tacking on extra prices. I am having a really hard time with the fact that you have to pay $50 per suitcase checked in – especially since every time I’ve flown from Asia, that fee is included in the ALREADY CHEAPER ticket. I’m not going to lie, this kind of grinds my gears.
Tip #4: Know the dirty tricks the airlines play.
This is a big one – if you don’t keep your browser clear of cookies, you risk the chance of being charged more money. I have found this to be true in my experience. Whenever I would buy airline tickets to and from the U.S. from Malaysia, I always did so in front of three laptops – a mac, my Lenovo and a really old laptop from the early 2000’s. I could search for the EXACT SAME THING and get three different prices on each computer – the cheapest being from the really old laptop. All the more reason to keep that hunk of junk lying around.
Additionally, if I look up airline tickets more than once on a computer, within a day the prices can go up by hundreds of dollars!! IT IS AMAZING!! Talk about a freakin’ rip off. Peter Greenberg for Quartz tells us, “While there’s no proof or hard evidence, there is growing anecdotal evidence that suggests airlines are tracking your behavior online, and potentially even tracking IP addresses, and prices could go up for flights that are searched frequently.” While you’re at it, set your particular web browser to incognito or private browsing mode when shopping for fares. In Chrome or Safari, incognito is enabled by hitting Command (or Control, if using PC)+Shift+N. For Mozilla Firefox or Internet Explorer, hit Command (or Control, if using a PC)+Shift+P.
Tip #5: USE THEM POINTS!
Use them travel points! It could mean the difference between an extra lobster dinner, or a romantical champagne and strawberry evening with your special someone! One really cool website is points.com – if you have loyalty points or rewards, you can change them for travel points. Cha-CHING!!
Tip#6: What’s your point-of-sale?
This is my most favoritest tip of all time, ever. It has saved me some buku bucks. First and foremost, the point of sale is the physical location where the retail transaction was completed. This article explains this perfectly – here is an excerpt:
In order to demonstrate how this travel hack works, we planned a mock trip to Columbia.
A Kayak search showed that the cheapest flight on LAN was $116 and Avianca’s cheapest as $137. When we conducted the same search in Google ITA with New York City as the Point of Sale, we saw the exact same prices.
Skyscanner fetched the best results but at $114 on LAN and $136 on Avianca, the savings were marginal at best.
But then we changed the Point of Sale…
Where to Change the Point of Sale in Google ITA
Though Skyscanner actually had the best prices, we didn’t stop there.
You can change the Point of Sale to any place in the world you want, so we decided to change it from an American city to one in Colombia. (This is only searchable in Google ITA.)
The biggest difference you’ll see doing so, is that you’ll get the price in the local currency. Ours was in Colombian pesos, which is exactly what we wanted…
In short, it seems the United States airline industry is doing whatever they can to cram as many people on their planes while jacking up the prices. It’s a joke, especially since they make more money from selling half of business class than selling every seat in coach. If you know their dirty little tricks, you can better set you and your family up for success when traveling nationally or internationally.
Wishing you a happy, fulfilling summer filled with cheap airline prices!