We’ve tried and tested (and tested.. and tested..) the following tips for how to save money on flights to ensure you spend less on plane tickets and more on having a good time at your destination.
These are our top tips for how to save money on flights in 2019:
- Flexibility is Key
- Travel Lightly
- Track Flight Prices in Advance
- Use a Travel Rewards Credit Card
- Travel During the Low Season
- Extend Your Layovers
- Keep an Eye on Sales
- Purchase in a Foreign Currency
- Book Your Trip at the Best Time
- Re-think your Airports
1. Flexibility is Key
Where you fly, when you fly, who you fly with… the more flexible you can be, the better the flight deals you’ll nab.
The ultimate flight search tools for flexible fliers are our Everywhere Search feature and our Cheapest Month option. If your destination and your travel dates are both open-ended, you’ll be able to find incredible deals like these:
2. Travel Light (don’t pay extra for bags)
Free checked baggage is becoming the exception to the rule nowadays. Even carry-on bags are costing travelers money if they’re over certain weight or size restrictions.
So how to save money on flights? Be aware of the weight/size limits for the airline carrier(s) you’re flying with and pack light.
You can find the baggage requirements for different airlines on Skyscanner, but always confirm with the airline as regulations frequently change and differ by fare class.
Side note: Be sure to look at the actual dimensions of the bags you’re allowed to bring and don’t always assume it equals “typical carry on size”. Some airlines are getting sneakier with their size limits.
3. Set a Price Alert
Price Alerts are either push notifications to your phone or emails that will notify you when the flight you’re interested in increases or decreases in price.
Can’t decide where to go? If you aren’t certain about your destination, try setting multiple flight alerts to your top city choices. If one route sees a significant decrease in price, it can help you make up your mind.
4. Sign up for a Travel Rewards Credit Card
The best way to maximize rewards from travel cards is by taking advantage of hefty sign-up bonuses. If you enroll in a new card while they’re offering a high amount of bonus miles, you can score yourself thousands of dollars worth of rewards simply by opening the card.
Many of these cards can have high annual fees, but a large sign-up bonus can allow for months or years worth of essentially free flights.
5. Travel During the Low Season
Ever looked at flight prices from the United States to Europe’s most popular cities in July? Easily surpassing $1,000 (especially last minute), they can scare even the most seasoned travelers.
But those same flight prices in January? From most major U.S. hubs to Europe, you can frequently find roundtrip flights during the winter months for well under $400 and often under $300.
6. Extend Your Layovers
Are flights too expensive to your dream destination?
One of our favorite travel hacks is to search ‘Everywhere’ as your destination on Skyscanner to see a list of the cheapest destinations to fly to from your origin city.
You can then enter the cheap destinations as the origin and search to see if flights to your dream destination are cheaper from there.
Sometimes by extending your layover, you’ll be able to score a cheap flight to your dream destination, just by adding a few days in another city in-between.
7. Keep an Eye on Sales
Airlines frequently offer super cheap deals (whether on purpose or as ‘Error Fares’) and if you can jump on these quickly enough, you’ll be saving yourself significant moolah on flights.
Our top tips for finding these money-saving flight prices? Check them out:
- Sign up for the newsletters of your favorite airlines (or every airline).
- Sign up for email lists like Scott’s Cheap Flights, that are dedicated exclusively to tracking airfare sales.
- Bookmark Skyscanner’s Daily Flight Deals, Last Minute Flight Deals, and/or Cheap Flights Under $100 pages.
Pro tip? Create an email account dedicated exclusively to receiving these deals so your normal inbox isn’t overwhelmed. But once you need to book a flight, you’ll have all the best deals in one place.
8. Purchase in Foreign Currency
Since international fliers travel all over the world, you can usually switch the currency on the travel agency website or the airline’s website to see what the price would be in other monies.
I’ve personally saved a ton of money this way. Not all airlines use an updated direct conversion rate. So if they raised the price in U.S. dollars but not in say, Norwegian krone, you can nab fares that are 1/2 the price.
This sometimes requires changing the language or the location on the airline’s homepage. Or you can change the ‘.com’ to the home country’s URL. Prices are typically (but not always) cheapest when you search them in the airline’s local currency.
Disclaimer: This will still be subject to foreign transaction fees when paying with a credit card, but any good travel rewards card should be free of fees 😉
9. Book Your Trip at the Best Time
Skyscanner’s Best Time to Book feature will give you data-backed advice on how far in advance to book flights on any given route for the highest percentage of savings.
Try it out now:
10. Rethink Your Airports
Most savvy travelers know to hit the “search nearby airports” button when figuring out how to save money on flights in 2019.
But it sometimes helps to go one step beyond this. Our favorite way to do it? Look at a good old fashioned map. Find the destination you want to visit and then look at the big cities nearby.
For instance, if you want to visit Copenhagen but the flights are crazy expensive, consider flying into Gothenburg or Malmö in Sweden. Or even Aarhaus, Denmark.
Spend a day or two and you’ll get to experience an additional city (country, potentially!). Public transportation by bus and/or train is often available between airport destinations, so you shouldn’t have a problem getting easily and affordably to your final destination.