Perhaps the worst part of traveling is the cost, and, hands down, the most expensive part of any getaway or trip is airfare. Occasionally, you can get lucky and find exactly what you’re looking for in terms of location and price, but more often than not it’s a constant struggle to find a ticket that fits your budget and timeline. That’s not to say good deals aren’t out there. In fact, it’s just the opposite. Good deals on flights are ready and waiting—you just have to know how to find them.
Have you ever searched for a flight one day, liked the price, but returned to the search the next day to see that the price had increased? If so, you’re not alone and you’re not going crazy. Airfare sites use computer cookies to remember your search history and will increase the price when you search for it repeatedly. They use this as a scare tactic to make you book a ticket as fast as possible to ensure the ticket price doesn’t increase.
To ensure that you’re getting the most accurate idea of a ticket’s price, you should always use the Incognito or private browsing tool offered by your browser. Information in these windows are not tracked and therefore not part of your search history. This means that everytime you search, you’ll get an unbiased look at your price options. However, make sure that you close and reopen the private window between each new search.
While you can absolutely just search for a flight using your preferred search engine, you may be limiting your options. Though many budget airlines will appear in broad searches, this isn’t always the case. For example, tickets from frequent-flier favorite Southwest Airlines do not appear in Google, Yahoo, or Bing searches and can only be found through more niche flight search engines or through their brand’s website.
Many avid travelers swear by sites like Skyscanner, AirFare Watchdog, and Momondo which let you compare flight dates and frequently feature the best prices. The key to finding a great deal is to compare and contrast the deals on each website with each other. Even though one site may frequently house the best prices, you may just find a cheaper flight on another as no one site offers the best deals all the time.
While these two tips will definitely help you find great deals on flights, it’s important to remember that booking early, as well as scheduling your flight for the cheapest days of the week (Tuesday, Wednesday, and Saturday), also factor into the equation. Also remember that just because you purchased a ticket it doesn’t mean you’re locked into that flight. Continue searching even after booking, and as long as you cancel your first flight within the airlines limits, you may get an even better deal.