We all know someone who seems to be constantly traveling to new and exotic destinations. While high flight prices might make their jet-setting lifestyle may seem unattainable at first, you can also start checking places off your travel bucket list with a few savvy airfare booking tips.
Below, we’ve highlighted some of our favorite tools and tips for finding cheap international flights. Before you know it, you’ll have tickets for your dream vacation without breaking the bank!
Tools and Services
While you can scour dozens of different websites and sources on the web to find cheap flights, these three services are an ideal place to start.
Scott’s Cheap Flights
This subscription newsletter alerts you of cheap international flights based on the airports and subscription options you choose. They even keep an eye out for mistake fares, which occur when a flight price is entered incorrectly. Yes, that means you could snag $150 tickets from the U.S. to New Zealand if you’re lucky!
Flights are manually curated by Scott and his team, avid travelers who have been honing the art of finding cheap flights for years. The basic subscription is free, or you can opt for the premium subscription for a small yearly fee. Learn more or sign up at ScottsCheapFlights.com
Kiwi is a search engine that aims to make travel affordable for everyone, which means it’s a great place to start your cheap flight search. Its secret is using a variety of different airlines to map your route, which makes the trip cheaper than sticking with a single airline. They’ll also show longer layovers than other flight search engines, dropping the price even lower if you have time to spare en route to your destination.
Kiwi also offers a guarantee on all trips purchased through the site, which protects you in case of flight delays or cancellations. Head to Kiwi.com, enter your information, and enjoy the lineup of flight options you can book on the spot.
This Google-owned airfare search engine collects info from loads of airlines and travel sites, then presents you with a variety of flight prices that other search engines may miss. The ITA Matrix is loved by travel agents around the world thanks to its ultra-customizable search features. While tickets can’t be directly booked on ITA Matrix, the search engine will highlight the best flights within your parameters that you can then book directly on the airlines’ sites.
Tips and Tricks
Even if you’re not having luck finding a cheap international flight right off the bat, these tips and tricks can increase your chances of success.
Be flexible with airports
Getting across the ocean is where the greatest flight expense typically lies, and you may be able to save a bundle if you’re willing to be flexible with your airports. Try flying out of an airport other than your home airport and landing in an airport outside of your end destination. Once you’re overseas, you can often find budget flights between countries or inexpensive transportation between cities.
Be flexible with travel dates
Flexibility with travel dates is another secret on how to find the cheapest international flights. Instead of picking your dates first, start by searching flights. Then select your dates based on the rates – Google Flights has an easy-to-use calendar that displays the cheapest day to fly.
Avoid the most expensive travel times
Flight prices soar during the peak of summer, and then again during Christmas and New Year. Prices also increase to destinations during their major festivals, such as Chinese New Year in China. If at all possible, avoid booking flights during peak travel season.
The days you fly also matter. Fridays and Sundays tend to have the most expensive flights, while the cheapest ones are generally on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays.
Book flights at the optimal time
While it varies depending on your destination and the airline, booking flights about three months in advance can generally get you the cheapest fares. Flight prices start increasing about two months prior to departure, and booking too far in advance may mean missing an upcoming deal. CheapAir has a helpful guide to help you determine the best time to book your trip.
Sign up for airline newsletters
If you’re planning a trip abroad, sign up for newsletters from airlines that frequently fly to your destination. Most airlines offer sales throughout the year, and getting a newsletter announcing the discount can help you hop on a cheap flight before the deal expires.
Set price alerts
Most flight search engines, including Google Flights and Kiwi, allow you to set price alerts for your destination. Select where you’d like to travel, set the max price you’d like to pay for tickets, and you’ll get an alert when the fare drops below that price for your travel dates.
Now that you know how to find cheap international flights, you’re nearly ready to go. Just renew your passport, secure any other required documentation, and start packing for your cheap international jaunt! Have additional questions? Contact Swift any time – we’re here to help.
Rob Lee is co-founder of Swift Passport and Visa Services. Originally from Michigan, Rob is an avid fisherman and SCUBA diver who enjoys adventure travel.