These are my secrets to finding the cheapest flights no matter when or where you want to travel.
People tend to ask some variant of the same question when they learn that I travel year-round: How do you afford to fly so much? Is your dad/mom/grandma/little brother a pilot? Are you secretly a flight attendant? Are you really apparating places and just hiding your wizarding powers from us?
It’s none of the above – I just have a very specific set of skills. (Kidding.) Check out my top 6 strategies for seeking out the best flight deals:
6. Strategic Twitter-Following
I follow all the best flight-finding accounts: Skyscanner, Frugal Travel Guy, all the big US airlines, Fare Deal Alert, Airfare Watchdog, and The Flight Deal. These aggregator accounts save you the work of digging through all the Pricelines and LastMinuteFlights of the world to find the cheapest fares happening now, whether it’s a flash sale or a seasonal price markdown.
5. Google Flights & Expedia
If your dates are strict and your destinations are locked in, Google Flights and Expedia will always have the cheapest airfares. I worked as an assistant to C-suite executives in college. Whenever I would have to book their travel (outside of Concur/other corporate travel-booking suites), I would use these sites because they had the most direct, cheapest fares available. I kept using them for myself afterward.
4. Skyscanner (Website or Mobile App)
On the other hand, Skyscanner will be your best friend if you have a little flexibility in either your dates or your destination. You can use their Flight Comparison Map to choose your departure city and then explore how much different destinations would cost to fly to in different months.
3. Escape Your City
If you live in Austin, Houston, San Antonio, Dallas, New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, or Milwaukee, follow your local Escape Flights page on Facebook! They’ll tell you about all the fire sales and sudden fare drops out of your city’s airport.
2. Use An Incognito Window, Y’all
This is the #1 way you should be searching for all your travel: Incognito. Whenever you conduct a search, you should be encrypting that search and not allowing any travel websites to deposit cookies in your browser. If a travel-related site “realizes” you’re searching for certain fare routes multiple times, it will start to show you the more expensive fares first. Encrypt your searches!
1. Use Your Credit Card Points!
This is my absolute favorite way of getting the cheapest airfare. I use my Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card often (probably too often), so I tend to rack up points. Whenever I have enough points to redeem part of a plane ticket (or a whole one!), I use my Chase Ultimate Rewards to book my flights. An example: I recently booked a roundtrip international ticket for $135. I’ve used my points to get a free rental car for a week, free flights, and more.
I highly recommend the Chase Sapphire card to anyone who travels often – you get double the reward points back whenever you spend money on travel-related things, and they’re worth 25% more when you use them for travel!
(Chase isn’t sponsoring this post, by the way – I’m just a fan.)
What are your favourite ways to find cheap flights? Tell me about it in the comments!
Travel | Re-Pack | Repeat