Our Top Ten Flight Tips

 

We’ve been in the travel business since 2005. That’s 10 years now.

And in those ten years we have learned a thing or two about air travel.

We decided to gather together ten of our best flight tips, things that should actually be useful to people looking to get the most miles out of their money, so to speak. And we want to share them with you.

So here they are, our ten most helpful travel tips.

1. Book 8-6 Weeks Before Departure

Top Ten Flight Tips

Airfare follows a certain trend; falling slowly at first and leveling out when there are between 6 to 12 weeks to departure.

This has been shown in study after study, by the Airlines Reporting Corporation, Expedia, and CheapAir, to name a few and we see this in our data as well. There is a difference in domestic and international flights, with international flights having a slower downward trend, staying almost flat. You want to buy those as early as possible, even up to 10 months in advance.

For domestic flights, however,  you want to book 6-8 weeks before departure. After that though, prices start to rise, and rise quite quickly when there are less than 3 weeks until departure.

As long as you have your flight booked by more than two weeks (at the latest) in advance you should be fine.

2. Book Flights that Leave on Tuesdays or Wednesdays

Top Ten Flight Tips

Data suggests that there is a slight difference in prices between flights that leave on different days of the week. For most regions, flying on Tuesday or Wednesday will most likely give you the best price.

Having said that, the margin is very small (5%) and the actual price depends on many other factors. But it’s a good place to start.

3. Sign Up for Airfare Alerts

Top Ten Flight Tips

Following tips #1 and #2 will increase your chances of getting a good price, but there is so much variability that there are no guarantees.

To increase your chances of finding the best price, sign up for a price alert for your flight and search regularly for at least 1 week. That way, if the price drops, you get an email and can book with confidence.

4. Travel Light

Top Ten Flight Tips

More and more airlines are adding fees for luggage. The easiest way to get around this, of course, is simply not to bring any luggage, only carry-on.

By traveling light, not only are you avoiding all sorts of annoying extra fees, but you are also saving a lot of time by not having to wait worry about waiting on your luggage once you land. Win-win.

5. Start With Metasearch Engines

Top Ten Flight Tips

Many people prefer to search the airline sites directly, thinking that booking directly is the cheapest. This is both time-consuming and, ultimately, pointless.

Yes, sometimes the airlines will have offers on their sites that you won’t find anywhere else but more often the cheapest tickets have already been bought by online travel agents. So using a site like AllCheapHotelsWorldwide.com, that compares both prices from airlines directly and from online travel agents, you save both time and money, and you will see prices from sellers you would never have thought of using to search for flights.

Let us do the work.

6. Include Alternative Airports

Top Ten Flight Tips

Low-cost airlines avoid the high taxes and fees at big airports by landing at smaller airports that charge less. And so they can charge you less.

Sometimes this will involve having to take a bus or a rental car to your actual destination but the savings will more than make up for this. Let’s say that you are going to New York. Many people would simply search for flights to JFK International airport and forget about La Guardia and Newark airports.

7. Try Combinations of Airlines for Better Savings

Top Ten Flight Tips

Flying Lufthansa to London and then easyJet to Mallorca is often less expensive than taking a direct flight, thanks to connections that many people just don’t think of searching for.

Another way to save is to find an outbound flight with one airline and a return flight with another airline. This is one of the things that AllCheapHotelsWorldwide.com does automatically (We call it Self-Connect) that other sites simply can’t manage.

8. Do Not Count on Last-Minute Flight Deals

Top Ten Flight Tips

For a while, last-minute trips where a big thing. This is no longer the case, and travelers waiting until a few days in advance to book flights will more often than not be sorely disappointed.

The only exception is if you are signed up on an airline’s newsletter list and are able to travel with 3-days notice to a limited number of destinations.

9. Watch Out for Fees

Top Ten Flight Tips

In addition to the baggage fees that have now sadly become the industry standard, the airlines have a number of other fees you should be aware of. Some are unavoidable but annoyingly unavoidable, like booking fees and credit card fees. Low-cost airlines will charge you for printing out your boarding pass, so be sure to print it out at home to avoid paying at the airport.

If you are travelling alone, feel free to skip booking a designated seat on the plane as airlines have also started charging for this. Many airlines are no longer serving hot food but will try to sell you overpriced sandwiches on board. Buy something at the airport and bring with you to save money.

10. Don’t Book Unless You’re 100% Ready

Top Ten Flight Tips

This may sound odd but trust us: wait with booking your flight until you are certain what dates you will be travelling.

Fees for changing dates or passenger names can be surprisingly high. And the cheapest tickets are often non-refundable.

So if you are unsure about the dates you will travel, either wait until you are sure or book a ticket that has flexible rules.

Bonus Tip:

Book the First Flight of the Day

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The earliest flight of the day, according to American statistics genius Nate Silver, is the least likely to be delayed. Book that one if you want to avoid delays.

The reason for this is simple and obvious; most flight delays are caused by the delays of other flights. So one late plane may cause two or three others to be delayed, flights that are waiting for passengers to arrive. This adds up during the day so flights that leave between 18:00 and 22:00 are the ones most likely to be delayed.

Take the morning flight. Arrive on time.

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