I love to explore the world, but like most people, I have limited time and money for this passion. To combat this, I have devised tricks to travel internationally for the least amount of money, often seeing more than one place at a time. Read on to learn how to find cheap international flights.
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1. Give Yourself Ample Time to Find Your Tickets.
Although the cheapest tickets can often be found just two months before your intended flight date, sometimes you can find deals unexpectedly long before your flight. The more time you give yourself, the more chance you have of stumbling across a deal.
- Tuesdays and Saturdays are the best days to look for tickets.
2. Search for Tickets Online Yourself.
Finding the cheapest tickets requires a lot of back and forth between you and the internet. Don’t be afraid to sign up for fare alerts on search engine sites such as Kayak and Hopper.
- Search in Incognito mode. Have you ever noticed when you return online to book a ticket you were looking at a few days before that the prices have jumped? Cookies keep track of your searches and know that you are interested in buying a flight. Stop them from knowing by searching for flights incognito. The negative is that your browser won’t be able to populate your personal information until you log into the website. To go incognito in Google Chrome, pull down the menu (3 verticle dots) in the upper right-hand corner. Choose a new incognito window.
- When you find the tickets you want, be prepared to buy them. The deal may not be there a few days later.
3. Figure Out What Features of your Flight are Worth Money to You.
- To get the cheapest tickets, you may not get a seat assigned, be able to take luggage, leave from your desired airport, or at the exact time that you want to go. Even for long trips, we only take carry-on for many reasons. A big one is that we don’t want to be lugging bags onto trains or for multiple flights. Read on for my tips for traveling carry-on.
- Consider getting a credit card for airlines that you use often. Not only will you earn miles, but you usually get waived luggage and seat assignment fees if you book with the card.
4. Be Flexible.
- I rarely fly out of my home airport. I have five people in my family. There is another airport an hour away. Flights are usually double the cost from my home airport, and an Uber costs us under $100. It is more than worth the two hours to save money. For the Morocco trip below, I even considered a three-hour train ride to NYC if it would allow us a direct flight in our budget. Be sure to explore all your options.
- For the Morocco trip, I would have preferred to leave on the late flight, but it costs more than the flight 2 hours later.
- Consider changing your day of travel by one day. Although it may be ideal to come home on a Sunday night, it will likely save you money to return on a Monday. Does the price difference offset any wages you would lose?
5. Consider Alternative Ways to Achieving your Goal.
- Flights or trains around Europe are generally pretty inexpensive. At the moment, you can get deals into Shanghai but not other cities in China. Is there a cheap flight into another city from which you can find a deal to your desired destination?
How I Just Paid under $600 Roundtrip per Person to Travel to Morocco During Spring Break
We knew we wanted to travel somewhere we hadn’t visited as a family of five during our spring break. Because it is a school break, flights are generally much more expensive.
- I started by searching Skyscanner. I clicked on Be Inspired. I entered in the dates I wanted to travel and my starting airport. This handy website brought up a map (zoom out to see the whole world) with green dots for cheap flights. I find this much easier to use on a computer desktop. Kayak also has a version of this, if you want to skip a step since it is a better flight finder, but it doesn’t have the visual map.
- Through Skyscanner, I noticed cheap flights to Spain, London, China, and Rome. There was also a yellow (moderately-priced) ticket to Casablanca. Since we only have nine days for our trip, we took China off our list. The yellow dot to Morocco intrigued us. I also am 20 percent Albanian, but I know very little about the country. Once you get into Europe, you can fly elsewhere for cheap. So, I started playing around on the Internet for a few weeks. We narrowed it down to two ideas– A flight into Spain, then Morocco or a flight into Italy then into Albania. During this time, I was also researching to make sure our destinations were something we could afford, by searching TripAdvisor and Hotels.com.
- Using the flight search engine, Kayak, I spent a few weeks looking at flight options. I also set up alerts on Kayak and Hopper. When I found a flight to Madrid for just over $500, I booked it. I then was able to get roundtrip tickets from Madrid to Marrakesh for under $77.
Do you have any tips to offer? Please add them in the comments.