Travel and Leisure

Travel Hacking Flights: No Points or Miles Required

Hacking a fight usually requires the use miles or points to book reward travel. It takes time to earn miles and points, and they may not always be readily available. This is why I rely on the existing travel tools and resources to book the best flights for me.

When should you book your flight?

My experience has shown that flying during the week is the most affordable time to book flights. Kayak’s advice on when is the best time to book a flight:

The lowest average domestic airfares for year-round travel are found 21 days before departure, while international airfares are lowest at 34 days. These are some other travel secrets:

  1. Do not book too soon: The average domestic fare six months prior to departure was 19% more than the lowest 21-days out.
  2. To get the lowest airfare, travelers who plan to travel for a week should leave on Saturday and return Monday. This will allow them to secure the best deal (roughly 16% less than the average).
  3. To save $$ on international weeklong trips, we recommend that you depart on Tuesday and return on Wednesday. These flights cost 21% less than the average.
  4. Booking too soon in advance is bad and you should avoid booking last minute. Track fights and don’t book when you see a great deal. This is an excellent way to track fights and you can learn more about it later.

Step 1

Kayak is the first website I would use to search multiple airlines simultaneously. For comparison, Orbitz and Skyscanner as well as Airfare watchdog are good options. There are many booking sites out there, and prices can vary between $10 to $100. Always check. You should also keep in mind that some airlines, such as Southwest, do not show up in the flight results. To book a Southwest flight, you will need to go to Southwest.com. This is done to reduce costs and avoid paying referral fees.

You can save a lot of money by checking “add nearby airports”.

Step 2

Check all your flights and compare costs. To find the best fare, you can use the sites I have mentioned, but you should also check out sites such as Orbitz and Cheap tickets, Airfarewathcdog and Skyscanner. You have a greater chance of finding a lower fare if you crosscheck with as many sites as possible.

TripHackr Tip

Skyscanner will show you the best places to go if you’re looking for a vacation, but not a specific destination. This will display the lowest prices for flights to major cities around the globe. This is a great way to see possible destinations that you might not have thought of.

Step 3

Are your dates flexible? Use this flexibility to your advantage. If you don’t want to, don’t follow through with your dates. Weekend flights are often more expensive than weekday flights. Even searching for weekend fares may be more costly. It is best to travel on weekdays, and search for the lowest fares on weekdays. To get the best results, add +/- three days. Flexibleness is key to getting a cheaper flight.

Step 4

Kayak will show you the actual airline website that is the cheapest. You can also do a search for the exact dates on their site. It may state that Delta is the lowest priced flight. You can also search for the same flight on Delta.com. You may find a lower fare sometimes, but it is not very often. It’s worth the effort and takes only a few minutes.

Let’s take, for example, the lowest Delta fare was $800 when you searched with Kayak. This includes 1 stop in London along the way to Amsterdam. Try the exact same search with Delta to see what results you get. You never know what you might find.

Flexibility is key

Flexibility is key when booking your flight. This is not always possible, but it will help you save money that can be spent on other expenses. Flexibility is more than just flexibility in your travel dates. Perhaps flying to a nearby city is more affordable.

Fly to multiple cities

You can start your backpacking journey in Europe by flying to one destination and then return from the next. You can also fly into a nearby city and take the train to get there. This is a great way to travel around Europe. One example: I flew to Brussels once and spent two nights there. Then I took the train to Amsterdam, where I was able to return home. Multi-City flights are a great way to save money and add value to your trip. It saved me about $200, and I was able to visit another city.

Check your travel requirements

Don’t forget to check your travel requirements and make sure you have the right to visit the country without any issues. Check if you need any visas, electronic authorizations or permissions to travel. Also, after Covid-19, make sure to look at the health requirements, such as Covid passports or medical insurance, so that you’re not forced to return to your country at the border. You can find the travel information for Europe on this website.

Step 5

Find out what is happening in the area you are planning to fly into. If you fly to Munich during Oktoberfest, the prices will be higher than if your wait is a week. If that is the reason you are planning to go, then it might be worth getting in a few days earlier or waiting a few days. It’s possible that there will be a huge conference taking place which could not only drive up prices but also cause hotel prices to skyrocket.

It is important to research your destination before you make a purchase.

Step 6

Create fare alerts. You have plenty of time to delay buying your tickets if you plan a long trip. Kayak and Airfare watchdog allow you to create alerts. The emails can be stopped at any time. If you plan a long-term trip, I prefer to receive daily alerts. However, weekly emails are also an option. These are my top picks for fare alerts.

Bonus Tip

Fly Predictor for Bing and Kayak

*Flight prediction is not available on all routes, but you can still use it to your advantage.

Bing can give you tips on when to wait or buy along popular routes. These tips will give you the assurance that it will go up or down. This has worked for me many times. If the confidence levels are below 50%, it is just luck. However, I trust confidence levels between 70-80% every time.

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