The ultimate guide to finding cheap flights to anywhere

Airlines would want you not to consider this, but it’s possible that you paid 50% more for your seat than those seated nearby.

Even if you believe you followed all the necessary steps to book the lowest airfare, it is still possible. You’ve undoubtedly spent hours contrasting numerous search engines, perusing various airlines, and sifting through possible departure dates—and it still didn’t help!

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Airlines use a variety of cunning tactics and proprietary algorithms to determine the maximum amount they believe they can convince you to pay. This is our guide on how to get inexpensive flights to anywhere to help you make sense of it all. We know this because we’ve been doing it for more than three years.

1. Where to look for low-cost flights to go: Start by being familiar with what constitutes low-cost airfare.

Understanding what constitutes a decent price in the first place is the first step towards finding inexpensive tickets to anywhere.

If you don’t know what you’re searching for, it really doesn’t matter how many hours or days you spend monitoring the pricing. If you’ve ever seen the price of a flight drop shortly after you booked it, you’ve undoubtedly personally experienced it.

If you travel to the same place every time, you can usually predict what costs should be after a year or two, but if you’re visiting a new place, there are a few red flags to be aware of.

2. Use mistake fares to book the most affordable flight

Have you ever seen a ticket price and thought, “There’s no way that’s real!” If so, you have come upon the enigmatic “error fare.”

Error prices are merely inaccuracies that arise throughout the flight pricing process by airline systems. You’d be shocked at how frequently they occur, and they normally go nearly as quickly as they appear. (After all, airlines aren’t exactly known for wanting you to get flights at very low prices, are they?)

Over the years, in the many locations we serve, we at JFC have seen our fair share of incorrect prices. When we see one, we all perform a small happy dance and promptly notify our club members!

3. Aim for a last-minute trip at the right times, but avoid making last-minute bookings.

If you’ve ever searched for a last-minute nonstop ticket for a weekend getaway somewhere on a stressful Wednesday afternoon at work, you’ve undoubtedly noticed that flights can get pretty pricey. Why? The short explanation is that airlines are aware that they may raise prices.

Based on statistical data, the majority of individuals purchasing last-minute tickets are business travelers who don’t give much thought to the price because their employer covers it. Airlines charge appropriately since they are aware of this.

They accomplish this by using a method known as yield management. Airlines essentially charge several fees for a single seat, which are modified by their algorithms according to demand.

However, the pandemic has caused a shift in the nature of last-minute tourists in recent decades. The survey conducted by CheapAir indicates that the reasons for the increase in last-minute travel are fluctuating travel restrictions, unforeseen journeys, and family emergencies.

For now, don’t freak out! There is a bright side: when airlines have trouble selling out, they turn the tables and offer last-minute discounts. Although we wouldn’t advise depending on them for a particular trip you have planned, there are occasions when booking a last-minute flight might be advantageous.

4. Recognize when to use a travel agency.

Although it’s not always the case, purchasing your ticket through Online Travel Agents (OTAs) as opposed to the airline will typically result in a lower airfare!

In situations where this is accurate:

Online travel agencies may receive “exclusive” rates from particular airlines, which enables them to provide extras like checked baggage for far less than the airline does, even if the cost of the base ticket remains the same. This is particularly valid for the majority of long-haul flights operated by conventional full-service carriers such as Singapore Airlines, British Airways, and Qatar Airways.

In situations where this is untrue:

The lowest tickets are nearly always available on the websites of European low-cost carriers like Ryanair, Easyjet, and Wizzair. It’s rare to find less expensive OTAs for full-service carriers like United carriers and JetBlue in the US.

A small number of full-service airlines, including as American, Delta, KLM, and Air France, have chosen to defy the market and exclusively provide the lowest rates on their websites. While using online travel agents to purchase your tickets has certain disadvantages, in general, it’s safe and may save you money.

5. To receive the finest deals, make your reservation at the ideal time.

As previously discussed in the myth-busting section, the days of airline ticket releases once a week are long gone. They’ve made it exceedingly impossible to forecast when the cost of any given destination will increase or decrease.

The good news is that we’ve identified certain trends in the periods during which fantastic flight offers appear. The optimal time to schedule a flight is covered in more detail in our post, but here’s the main outline:

According to our experience, January, February, August, and September are often the least expensive months to look for flights, following the general holiday/high season.

Conversely, the closer you approach to the May, June, April, and October holiday season, the more expensive it will be to book a flight. Typically, December is the most costly month.

Naturally, this is all just a general guideline; demand-driven pricing is still a reality. Major international events like the Olympics or even local ones like the carnival in Brazil can have a big influence on the prices you see.

6. Select the ideal flying season

Determining the ideal season to travel is the next step after deciding when to make your reservation. You might be thinking, “Well, that’s an easy one. Just go during the low/off-peak seasons.”

That could work for year-round locations like Iceland, but it’s not a smart idea to plan a beach trip in the Caribbean during hurricane season.

Open the Google Flights explore page, select a location, and then scroll down the infobox on the left to discover the ideal balance between affordable international flights and high demand. You will discover useful information on the climate and, occasionally, well-known occasions and celebrations.

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