Air travel is typically every traveler’s biggest expense. The good news is that there are a few tips and tricks to finding even better deals than those found through various search engines such as Expedia, Google flights, Kayak etc.
Find out who flies there and book direct through the airline
Use the search engines to find the major airlines that fly to your destination, then go onto their own site, and get a quote.
This is often cheaper than the prices listed on the search engines. Bear in mind that not all search engines show all the airlines servicing your destination, so be sure to do a google search and find the smaller airlines that cover the same route. Sometimes the savings are substantial. This is not always the case but it occurs often enough to be worth spending the extra time to check.
Be inventive with alternate routes
Being open to considering alternative routes and airports increases your chances of finding a better price Flights routed through busier airports often offer better prices.
For example, we wanted to get from Belize to Vancouver BC, quotes were well over a $1,000 per person for flights from Belize City. As we wanted to take a side trip to Ambergris Caye before we left Belize, we looked into routes out of there instead. Ambergris Caye has an excellent ferry service connecting it with Chetumal Mexico, which in turn has an excellent bus service to Playa Del Carmen and Cancun.
A quick search revealed flights to Vancouver from Cancun for $260. Even with the ferry and the bus, we saved well over $600 by being inventive and using one of those busier airports.
Pay in another currency
Airlines pricing for their flights varies dramatically, based on availability, time of year, and how far ahead or how late you book. It also varies by the point of sale!
What this means is that someone booking a flight from the UK will probably be quoted more than someone booking the same flight from Colombia will be. There are two ways to get around this, use a VPN to change your virtual location; it fools the sites into thinking you are booking from Colombia or wherever else you set it for. The other way is to get a quote in a different currency. Many airlines websites allow you to change language and currency options. The quote in Colombian pesos may seem outrageous but once you have figured out the conversion rate you could be pleasantly surprised. Do remember that many credit cards charge a conversion fee, typically 2 or 2.5 percent, but even with this add on you can save a ton of money.
Pay less for a multi destination trip
Many search engines and airlines allow you to list 3 or 4 destinations and get a quote for the whole package.
We recently discovered that this is not an economical way to do it. We were looking for flights from London UK into Phoenix and then onto Vancouver a few days later. Quotes were coming in at approximately $1400 if we came in through Los Angeles (again routing is important) if the flights were through New York or Miami they were considerably more.
Instead, we priced each leg separately …. London to Los Angeles $698.90, Los Angeles to Phoenix $72.10, Phoenix to Vancouver $158.60 our total was $928.60 a savings of over $400 per person.
Consider charter flights
Lastly consider charter flights, they may be seasonal and not as regular as the main airlines but can be substantially cheaper.
We recently paid $226 for a one-way ticket from Barbados to England as opposed to the $600 plus quoted by Virgin. The flight by Thomas Cook is only one day a week and flies into Manchester airport rather than the bigger London airports. Which works to our advantage as our final UK destination is closer to Manchester.
For Additional Savings on Airfares
Visit Flyertalk.com, a forum dedicated to sharing tips, tricks and insider advice on reducing air travel costs.