How I Book Flights: A Guide to Getting the Best Prices
There are many rules that people go by when purchasing their flight tickets. Here at WeTravel, we understand everything that goes into trip planning.
Avoid buying tickets on Fridays and Saturdays, opting for Mondays and Tuesdays instead. Look at flights six months in advance if you’re going overseas. Flying domestic? Six weeks beforehand will produce the best prices. Clear your Internet cookies before finalizing a purchase. Use a travel agent. Don’t use a travel agent. Use the same airline every time in order to rack up mileage for future trips.
Really, it can be a lot of information to sift through, but here’s what works best for me. I typically start every booking process the same way.
1. First, check Hopper, an iOS and Android app that provides a “Purchase By” date in order for users to know the best time to buy their flight tickets. There’s an option to “Watch This Trip” too, which updates you when prices drop or increase. It’s super helpful if you haven’t made a final decision yet and just want to monitor the tickets. I use this to give myself a deadline for making flight arrangements, as there is no worse feeling than the regret associated with purchasing a flight a day or week too late. Sometimes, the difference can be hundreds of dollars, so be diligent and stay on track.
2. Next, take a look at Skyscanner. I have this downloaded on my iPhone but a desktop version is also available. This app helps determine the lowest prices (and is often more accurate with price projections than Hopper). In this way, I use Hopper to give myself a deadline and Skyscanner to actually find the absolute cheapest flights.
3. Sometimes, Google Flights gives me a better price than Skyscanner. Not always, which is why I always check both and compare them against each other. I don’t know if the companies’ algorithms scope a slightly different range of airlines, but often, I find that one includes more options than the other.Thus, to ensure the best possible price, I’d say it’s definitely worth looking at both.
4. Book! Feel good about yourself for taking the initiative, doing a little planning, and saving yourself a little (or a lot) of money.
5. If you need a place to stay and are trying to minimize costs, start looking at hostels (see Booking.com and HostelWorld.com), browse through Couchsurfing.com listings, and AirBnB rentals. I adore AirBnB because it allows people to make money off of their property, gives customers a more local experience with inside travel tips and advice, and is often much, much cheaper than staying in hotels and motels. In popular travel destinations, AirBnBs can get booked quickly-- so as with everything that has to do with the logistics, plan ahead. Once you get to your destination though, relax and know that you saved yourself a lot of money, meaning that you can splurge on an extra excursion or side trip!
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