Are you tired of spending hours searching for the best flight deals, only to end up feeling overwhelmed and confused? Look no further! In this article, we will provide you with hot tips for booking flights that will not only save you time but also help you find the most affordable options. From insider secrets to online tools, we have got you covered. So sit back, relax, and get ready to become a pro at booking your next flight without breaking the bank!
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There are three ways to book flights:
- Direct with the airline
- Through a third-party provider such as Skyscanner or Expedia
- Through a travel agent
Domestic Flight Bookings
When we plan our travels in Australia we book our domestic flights direct with the airline.
If there are cancellations (which currently we are experiencing) it is easier to deal directly with the airline instead of a third party.
In the US we recommend booking the flights a month before travel. If you fly a regular route sign up for that airline’s frequent flyer programme. If they offer a credit card to earn points on their airline sign up for that as well.
There are budget carriers like Spirit and Jet Blue which we have flown with. Ensure you understand their booking conditions, baggage fees etc before you purchase.
In Europe, there are many budget carriers such as Easyjet and Ryanair offering low fares. Remember to check all their booking conditions, cancellations etc, luggage allowances etc before purchasing.
International Flight Bookings
As I am an ex-travel agent I book my flights first by checking Google Flights and Skyscanner.
We always use Skyscanner for our International travel and have never had an issue in the last 10 years.
We sign up for Skyscanner’s price alert as soon as we start looking for flights. An email will be sent to you when the airfare that you are looking at goes up or down.Check your airfares here
From experience, flights do not get much cheaper 3 months before departure. I have found on average between 5 and 3 months is the cheapest.
Once we did use another third-party provider. We arrived at the airport to find that the third party provider had cancelled our booking (reason still unknown) luckily there were seats available on the flight as we were due to start a house sit the next day.
If you can book all your flights on one ticket. Why? If one flight is delayed or cancelled the airline needs to assist you in rebooking you on the next available flight.
If you book separate tickets and your original flight is cancelled or delayed, your booking is treated as cancelled and in most instances, you would need to purchase a new ticket.
If you are booking flight tickets yourself with different carriers and on separate tickets please allow at least 3 hours to check in for the next flight.
If you have to change terminals please check what is the minimum connection time. You can find this on airport websites.
Sometimes it works out cheaper to have a stopover on the way, you will need to play around with the booking a few times to get the cheapest combination.
Check whether a one-way flight is cheaper than a return.
Fly budget carriers in Asia such as Air Asia.
We have flown Air Asia many times throughout Asia and have had no issues with cancellations or bad service. Be aware of the extras they charge for eg seats, meals, baggage, credit card fees etc.
Some airlines such as Qatar, Etihad, Turkish Airlines etc offer attractive stopover deals. It is worth looking into.
Travel tip: If you are looking for a cheap business class ticket and you have to fly to multiple destinations to get to your final destination – consider flying economy on the shorter route
e.g. Sydney Kuala Lumpur economy class then search for a business class ticket on the longer route eg Kuala Lumpur London.
When is the Most Expensive Time To Fly
Weekends, public holidays and the start and end of school holidays tend to be the most expensive times to fly. Weekends tend to be more expensive too!
Early-morning flights and late-night flights tend to be cheaper. Flying midday midweek can also bring your travel costs down.
Be flexible with your dates. Travelling off-season = cheaper fares.
Sign up for airline’s newsletters, you will be the first to know when they are having airfare sales and promotions.
Should I Consider Looking at Land Transport
This works well in particular in Europe. Catching a train between major cities or a bus can reduce your costs and also your travel times. You are also reducing your carbon footprint.
Why Use a Travel Agent
Travel agents are a one-stop shop. If there is a crisis you can reach out to them for assistance. These days they will charge a service fee for booking on your behalf. Those fees should be compared to booking your flights and other travel components yourself.
If you are not confident in booking your travel yourself and find the many websites overwhelming then use a travel agent. Ask around for recommendations and ensure that they are registered and members of their country’s travel agent organisations.
If you are booking a round the world airfare we recommend using a travel agent as it can be complicated and they do tend to have special deals.
What are the Best Seats To Book on an Airline
We use Seat Guru to choose our seats.
We used to book aisle and middle but these days we book two aisle seats making it easier to get out to use the bathroom or stretch your legs on long-haul flights.
If you are travelling with a carry-on ensure that you check the airline’s regulations on weight and the number of pieces you are allowed. You could end up paying more than your airline ticket.
Assess the cost of adding luggage to your flight booking compared with getting free luggage allowance by using another carrier.
If you are travelling with a carry-on ensure you are one of the first to board. All the flights we took last year there were many issues with not enough overhead cabin space above your seat and your bag was either stored behind you or ahead of you where you cannot keep an eye on it.
Europe Flight Delays and Cancellations
If your flight in Europe was delayed or cancelled you can apply for compensation. Full details can be found here.
Frequent Flyer Tickets
If you have not signed up for a frequent flyer program we recommend that you do. Choose one that applies to the country that you reside in.
Sign up for a credit card that allows you to transfer points to your frequent flyer program. Look out for sign-up bonuses.
To take advantage of your frequent flyer points ensure that you start looking at availability as soon as they are released – usually approximately 1 year in advance.
If you are booking multiple destinations with your frequent flyer points check the airline taxes, it may be cheaper to go via another city or avoid the larger airports to get to your final destination.
Take Out Travel Insurance
World Nomads offers simple and flexible travel insurance. Buy at home or while travelling and claim online from anywhere in the world.
In conclusion, booking flights can be a daunting and overwhelming task, but with these hot tips in mind, it can become a much smoother and more enjoyable experience. By being flexible with travel dates, utilizing price comparison websites, signing up for airline newsletters, considering alternative airports and airlines, and booking well in advance or last minute when appropriate, travellers can save money and find the best deals available. Additionally, staying updated on current travel restrictions and regulations is crucial in today’s ever-changing world. With careful planning and research, anyone can become a savvy flight booker and embark on their dream journey without breaking the bank. Happy travels!
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