5 Tips for Finding the Cheapest International Flights
Posted on August 27 2018
Are you sick and tired of paying way too much for international airfare? Would you rather spend your hard earned cash on adventure gear? If that’s how you really feel, the Dollar Flight Club team is here to help...
We’ll go into a few tips & tricks about how we found deals like these over the last few years:
- San Francisco To Auckland, New Zealand For $366 Roundtrip
- Dallas To Melbourne, Australia For $158 Roundtrip
- San Francisco To London For $267 Roundtrip
- Miami To Mallorca, Spain For $201 Roundtrip
- New York To New Delhi, India For $320 Roundtrip
- Portland, Oregon To Beijing, China For $269 Roundtrip
Don’t believe us, here’s some proof:
Searching and finding cheap flights can take countless hours and sheer dedication. Your time is valuable, so don’t hesitate to use deal searching services that do all the work for you.
Here’s some of our secret sauce when it comes to finding the absolute cheapest flights so you can explore the globe for less with your adventure gear.
1. Be flexible with departure and arrival airports:
If you’re lucky enough to live by a few larger airports, make sure to check the fares for each of them to your intended destination. Also, you can check in on alternative airports or large hubs near your intended destination. Checking out ALL airports close to where you live, as well as to your destination, is the key to finding the cheapest flight. It’s easy to do, but most people don’t do it!
Sometimes traveling by bus to or from a different airport can save you hundreds on dollars on flights.
For example, if you’re looking to get to London from Los Angeles for example, but the fare is $1,500 round trip (wayyy too expensive), check to see what the price is from Los Angeles to Brussels or Paris. That fare might be $800 less and then you can add on a cheap roundtrip flight from Brussels or Paris to London on budget airlines like Ryanair for $60.
2. Be flexible with travel dates and times:
The easiest way to find a great deal is to be quite flexible with your travel dates.
Overall, Friday and Sunday are usually the most expensive days to travel internationally. Tuesday, Wednesday, and Saturday are the absolute cheapest days to travel because they’re usually off-peak with far less people.
The best time to book an international flight is between 2-3 months in advance. In addition, flights with long layovers and ones that depart in the very early morning flights or late at night will most likely be much cheaper most of the time.
Traveling during the off-season is another great way to save big bucks on airfare. For example, you can go to Costa Rica in the Summer or Europe in the winter. Those destinations will still be amazing.
We know this can be tough if you have limited time off from work. However, try to plan far in advance. Sometimes you can save $300-$600 if you leave on a Thursday as opposed to a Friday for example. Rather than picking your dates first, try and see when it’s cheapest to travel and work backwards
Quick note: booking last minute almost always never works out. In our opinion, never wait until the last minute unless you absolutely have to.
3. Use these 3 search engines to book your flight:
It’s always an outstanding idea to check various flight searching website before you book a ticket. We recommend visiting at least 3 of these websites when you’re looking to find the absolute cheapest flight. You never know which site may show you the best price and cheapest flights. Try to go through these sites in numerical order
- Always start with Google Flights. It’s the best search engine in the business for a few reasons. Mainly, it allows you to nicely browse the calendar view.
- Pull up their handy calendar tool to find the best travel dates for your route, by locating the dates with the lowest fares. Make sure you browse the calendar view up to 9 months ahead so you know the cheapest time frame to travel and then narrow down on the dates you want.
- Keep a tab on the price you found.
- Head over to Momondo, re-enter your itinerary that you found in Google Flights and hit search. You can also double check them on Priceline to confirm you have the cheapest deal.
- Momondo almost always brings back the absolute cheapest fares, even cheaper than in Google Flights 95% of the time.
- Keep a tab on the price you found.
- Lastly, head to Skiplagged and enter in those dates to be sure you have the absolute cheapest fare.
- Once you’ve gone through these steps and you’ve found a fare within the price ranges we outlined above, go ahead and book!
- Skiplagged is so good they actually got sued by United Airlines a few years ago for saving people too much money on airfare by finding a loophole in the booking system. However, they won the lawsuit and are up and running.
4. Use Fare Alert Sites to Find Mistake Fares:
Fares like San Francisco to New Zealand for $366 roundtrip and Dallas to Australia For $158 roundtrip are what we call Mistake Fares. Mistake fares are simply when airlines mistakenly publish incorrect ticket prices. This can happen for a few reasons:
Simple Human Error: It very well may be that a $1308 roundtrip flight from Boston to Cape Town was actually priced at $130 roundtrip. Someone omitted or added a number in error when entering a flight price, which can result in a significantly reduced ticket until the error is found by the airlines and corrected.
OTA Glitches/ Omitting Fuel Surcharges & Fees: Online Travel Agencies (OTA) are often behind these Mistake Fares. Missing fuel surcharges are often why we see prices so reduced. Fuel surcharges are in place to prevent frequent flyer programs from allowing people to book 100% free tickets using miles (as you still pay these additional fees). Every now and then though, these charges may be dropped by mistake. Fuel surcharges can make up hundreds of dollars on some airlines.
Currency Conversion Errors: When moving from currency to currency, things can get tricky when you’re working with such complex systems. For example. a $4,000 United Airlines first class ticket was available for as low as $51 in April, 2015 for various transatlantic flights originating in the United Kingdom and the United States. This specific Mistake Fare occurred due to a miscalculation between the Danish Kroner and British Pound.
These are tough to find on your own unless you’re endlessly scouring the web and only pop up once in awhile. You can always use services like Dollar Flight Club who has a team of flight searchers scouring Google Flights, Momondo, and Skiplagged all day long to find these crazy mistake fares.
5. Cheap flight Bonus Tips & Tricks:
- Adding stopovers in other cities can save you hundreds of dollars and give you the opportunity to see another city by actually paying less! Why wouldn't you give it a try?
- It’s always smart to understand airline partners and class upgrade opportunities that offer the most value. Use your miles to book one way flights to upgrade your cabin to Business or First.
- Check in on deal message boards like Secret Flying or Travel Pirate who often post deals they hear about.
A Few Last Words:
Travel doesn’t have to be expensive if you know how and where to look.