7 Tools To Reduce the Cost of Airfare
Don’t pay top dollar for your next flight. These tools can help frugal travelers reduce the cost of airfare and find the cheapest available flights.
Over the last six years, I’ve been a frequent flier. As a frugal person, I did extensive research to discover the cheapest ways to fly. By using these seven tools, I reduced the cost of airfares.
1. Google Flights
Google Flights has several incredible features that will change the way you book your flights and save you more money.
One of Google flights’ money saving features is that you can easily see two months of fares from the day you intend to fly. This enables you to choose the cheapest day to fly.
Another feature of Google Flights is that it enables you to view fares of your destination’s region. If you intend to travel to London and are searching for fares from America to London, Google Flights will also show you fares to Paris, Berlin, among others simultaneously. In case you are visiting multiple locations, you can easily determine which one will be cheapest to visit first and which one you should visit last.
Finally, Google Flights has a feature tagged as “Best Flight Recommendation.” This feature automatically finds the best flight for you based on a good balance of price and transit time. To use Google Flights, visit www.google.com/flights.
2. Clear Your Browser Cache
Airlines and booking sites store cookies in your browser. These cookies will monitor your browsing habits, making it easy to predict when you will purchase a flight ticket. Once these cookies settle into your device, they will jack up the price when the cookies determine that you are about to make a purchase.
This may sound criminal, but it is absolutely legal in the United States. In fact, you have probably fallen victim once or twice. In order to avoid getting charged extra, always clear your browser’s cache each time you’re ready to purchase tickets.
3. Use a Travel Rewards Credit Card
If you travel regularly, then you should reap the rewards of doing so. There are several travel rewards credit cards that give you points when you purchase flight tickets. These points can be redeemed for a free flight in the future. It is advisable to get a travel rewards card if you are a frequent flier.
4. Book Flights at the Right Time
Booking flights at the right time is an incredible flight booking hack from experience. According to a 2022 study released by CheapAir.com, the best time to book a flight is approximately 76 days before departure. This is when you can get the cheapest rates.
Airlines charge hefty sums of money for extremely early flight bookings (more than five months in advance) and extremely late flight bookings (within 24 hours of departure).
The best time to book a flight is between these two extremes — 21 to 127 days in advance of your flight.
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5. Use the Multi-City Booking Option
The multi-city booking option is available on almost all booking sites. This option is applicable to travelers who intend to take multiple flights with the same airline within a short period of time.
For instance, if you are flying from the United States to London and from London to Paris within a period of two to three weeks with the same airline, then you should use the multi-city booking option. This will usually save you a few hundred dollars.
6. Score a Free Flight
If you are in a big city like Los Angeles, then it may be remarkably easy for you to score a free flight. Airlines usually overbook their seats believing that not all passengers will show up. Sometimes they make a huge mistake and too many passengers show up, so they plead with some passengers to take the next flight.
Once you find yourself in this position, quickly approach an airline staff and tell them you are not in a hurry. The implication is that you have to wait for the next flight. Your journey will be delayed, but you would be offered a free flight voucher for your next flight to that destination with the airline. Please note that there is no guarantee that all airlines offer free flights for delayed passengers.
7. Combine Flight Bookings with Rental Car Bookings
Flight booking sites offer passengers discounts if they book a car rental service along with a flight. If a rental car is needed, then book one along with your flight. It will save a few bucks.
Reviewed October 2022
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