How to find the cheapest flights

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Finding cheap flights can be tricky if you don’t know where to start your search. To make things simpler, we’re sharing 10 top tips to ensure you get the best deal possible for your next flight of fancy.

1. The early bird gets the worm
The earlier you buy the ticket, the more you can save. Travellers seeking tickets at the last minute should be aware that domestic carriers generally put the prices up at this time. This is especially so for domestic flights around the Christmas period, long weekends and school holidays. Major airlines usually offer their cheapest seats 11 months in advance.

2. Be flexible
Being flexible with your dates can mean big savings when it comes to crunch time. The prices for travel vary everyday so sometimes it pays to hold off flights a week or so until they are selling at lower prices. Remember, no two people on a flight will have paid the same price for a ticket. If you want to fly cheaply, it pays to book early.

3. Dates to avoid!
When looking for the cheapest flights, there are a few key dates to avoid. Travelling from October to February is generally more expensive as this is considered to be the main tourist season. The Christmas/New Year period can be equally as hectic, if not more so.

4. Thank goodness it’s Friday
Quite a few airlines release their weekly sales on Friday afternoons. Their dramatically decreased prices cause other airlines to respond. The cheapest time to buy is considered Friday afternoon as most sale fares are published at this time. The second-best time to buy is considered Tuesday at 4pm.

5. Stay in the loop
Most airlines will have their own newsletter or Facebook page. Signing up to email newsletters from airlines is a fantastic way to find out about the latest sale fares not long after they are released. Facebook is another great resource for the would-be bargain hunter. Jetstar, for example, offers Facebook fans sale fares 24 hours before they are on its website.

6. Ask for wholesale fares
When you book through a travel agent, asking for a packaged deal can save you money on your airfares. Sometimes wholesale airfares are only available as part of a package. Packages can be great for savings on hotel stays, too. Most will include add-ons like massages, extra nights, free cocktails and buffet breakfasts so this could be a great way to save all-round, and make the most of your travel budget.

7. Compare online
As with anything in life, the first quote you get won’t necessarily be the best. Comparing on line can sometimes save you a significant amount of money, so why not give it a try? After you have found the best deal, see if the airline carrier will offer you a cheaper price on the same flight (sometimes sites will tack on a surcharge for their service). Also make a note of any cancellation fees that may be hidden in fine print just in case.

We’ve sourced some of the best comparison websites for you:

www.cheapflights.com.au
www.bestflights.com.au
www.jetabroad.com.au

So have a go! 

8. Weigh up your options
Sometimes weighing up your options isn’t just about finding the cheapest flight. Sometimes a stopover or two can save you serious money. But is that nine hours waiting around in Singapore going to be worth it? Will the $50 that you saved go straight towards snacks, a trashy novel and a counter meal? Weigh up the savings and see where you will stand financially.

9. Be destination savvy
If you have your heart set on a holiday to Europe but the flights are coming in above your allocated budget, why not settle for a holiday that is a little further down your list? If flights to Bali are going cheap, sometimes choosing your destination based on cost can be a smart move.

10. Ask your agent
Sometimes trawling through websites can be confusing, especially if you don’t really have a flight budget in mind. Asking your travel agent to do the work for you can be a great idea, especially if you are not confident with the internet. Travel agents can tailor packages; make sure you get the most of your frequent flyer points and much more.

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Written by Drew

Starting out as a week of work experience in 2005 while studying his Bachelor of Business at Swinburne University, Drew has never left his post and has been with the company ever since, working on the websites digital needs. Drew has a passion for all things technology which is only rivalled for his love of all things sport (watching, not playing).
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