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How to Find Cheap Flights

Updated: Apr 26

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View from airplane window

On many of my journeys, especially internationally, I've found flying to be the most expensive part. Though that may be true, there are ways to minimize these costs by following a few simple tricks. Here at Tipsy Atlas, we've mastered the art of finding cheap flights, and we are passing our knowledge along to you so you can do the same.

When to Book

One thing many don't know is that the time period you book your flight can dramatically change the price. Believe it or not, booking too early will cost you more than booking a month in advance. Likewise, prices tend to rise when purchasing tickets last minute. Early tickets are expensive because it's obvious the trip is essential - if not, you wouldn't be booking a year before the date. Late tickets are expensive because it's obvious you're desperate to land a particular flight. So, when exactly should you book? According to a study by Cheap Air, the sweet spot is between 21 to 74 days before you're set to take flight.

When to Fly

If you can afford a bit of flexibility, booking for a particular day is a great way to find cheap flights. Flights that leave and return on Fridays and Sundays are significantly more expensive than those taking off on a Tuesday or Wednesday. Before booking, check each day of the week to see how much the cost will fluctuate. Don't rule out Saturdays, as they're usually more affordable than their neighboring days.

Woman with a suitcase

What Websites to Use

When planning a trip, it may be second nature for you to visit your favorite airlines' website and find tickets through there. Personally, I always find cheaper rates using a reliable, third-party provider. There are plenty of great options to choose from, but my favorite is Sky Scanner.

Sky Scanner does exactly what it sounds like it does. It pulls data from all major airlines and compiles it into a list of the cheapest, fastest, and best options. You can even customize its filters to show you the airlines you prefer first. Another great benefit is its price alert feature, which will inform you of any changes so you can monitor your flight before buying it. Before booking, you should always compare the site against its competitors, such as Kayak, CheapOAir, and Cheap Flights Fares.

Be Flexible

Man watches plane take off

Obviously, flight prices vary depending on where you're going and what time of the year. If you choose to visit Paris during the summer, it's going to cost more than if you went in say, February. You can save a lot of money with proper planning - not just on airline costs, but hotels too. Plan to visit your dream destinations during shoulder season, or better yet, search for cheap destinations altogether.

To summarize, finding cheap flights comes down to when you book, the day you choose, the website you use, and the time of year. If you keep these four things in mind, you'll be traveling on the low in no time.

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