How to Get the Cheapest Flights Possible (Domestic Edition)
Airfare is becoming quite the affordable way of travel recently. I personally have flown across the country for a mere $19.10! And have done so multiple times under $50 one way. Here are some great ways that can help you find the best deal around.
While booking flights, time and flexibility are two of the biggest things that can help you save money.
TIME & FLEXIBILITY
1. Purchase your tickets on Tuesdays!
This is of course, like anything else, is just a general rule of thumb, but I have found, for the past 2 years of constantly searching for flights, that Tuesdays are the best days to purchase, as most airlines have their lowest prices then. If you’re not worried about airline loyalty, and don’t mind a budget fare, then this is going to be your best bet.
I do want to note that you should always check for deals throughout the week as well. I have found the occasional deals on Sunday’s as well, when one airline starts their sale, and they have the cheapest priced tickets for the day.
2. Fly on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, or Thursdays.
This has been proven to be the least travelled days, so airfare is usually lower (and at times MUCH lower) than on days closer to the weekends. I have personally found Tuesdays and Wednesdays to be the cheapest.
3. Check prices for one-ways rather than roundtrip.
This can help you for a few reasons. You may be able to get a super cheap fare with the time you want heading one way, but nothing is available at the time you want on the way back. This means you have to settle for a time you don’t really want, or you end up paying way more for the time you do, even though you had a cheap flight there, it will bring your total cost up. Instead, if you purchase two one-way tickets, you can book both legs of the flights on two separate airlines, and can get the time, and price that you prefer.
This is also good in case something comes up to have your plans change. Say you have to leave one day later…on a roundtrip, you could lose the whole value of your ticket and have to purchase a new on entirely. However, if you had 2 one-ways, you could potentially only lose out on that first flight that you have to change.
I have also found that booking one-ways is sometimes cheaper than booking the full round trip together. So just do a quick search, flip your search to “one-way” and see what you can get from there.
4. Book 1-2 weeks in advance.
This is going to go against everything you've ever read, but I book my domestic flights between 1-2 weeks in advance. I feel like the “norm” doesn’t tell you to do this…but I have found that tickets tend to be cheaper the closer the flight gets…although I am STRICLTY talking about BASE FARE AIRLINES…which means budget air. If you want to book your favorite airline, maybe don’t wait that long. But again, this article is about finding the CHEAPEST flights possible, and this is one way to do it.
Look at this picture here, (that I just snapped while writing this), notice the cheapest flight on this month is for exactly ONE-Week in advance. Do note, that booking a flight less than 7 days in advance, the price will only increase. Never buy your flight less than 7 days if possible.
5. Check to purchase flights early mornings and late nights.
There are times I will randomly wake up early in the mornings for no reason, and when this happens on a Tuesday, I grab my phone quickly and check flight prices. I have found great deals super early in the morning, and booked quickly, only to wake up a few hours later, to see the price increase.
So, stick with the Tuesday tip, and search early in the morning (or late at night on Mondays), and ALWAYS book it, if you find a great deal. You never know if it will come back around.
6. Check Surrounding Airports
If you are a little flexible with your travel, sometimes flights can be way cheaper if you fly into a bigger international airport. Or if you fly 20 minutes further than the airport you started searching for. Most flight searches have a button you can click for “airports nearby” and can search them all at once. Check neighboring airports and you could save tons.
The next important thing when finding the cheapest airlines is in your search…
7. Start with Google Flights.
I always advise people to start with Google Flights. Even wrote a whole post about it…find out HOW TO FIND CHEAP FLIGHTS LIKE A BOSS.
First off, Google Flights is WAY easy to use. And they have features that help a lot with finding flights. Google flights will let you know the likelihood of your flight increasing in price, it will tell you that there’s a cheaper airport nearby, or what day is better to fly on. Check out our google post, so you can read more about it.
8. Don’t forget Southwest!
No, we are not promoting a specific airline, rather letting you know that Southwest is not in the Google Search. So if you really want to compare ALL airlines, be sure to check Southwest on it’s own website.
9. Clear your cookies!
Ok, I’m not a computer wiz, so I am not even going to try to explain to you what this does or how they do it…Just remember to try to search in an incognito window, or clear your cookies before doing a search. These sly-little-fox airlines like to play the supply and demand game…they see that you’ve been searching for a flight for a few days now, and the price will reflect that. Somehow they track what you’ve been searching, and you won’t always see thereal best deal available. Act like its a brand new search, and you should be finding the best deals right away.
10. Prices tend to rotate.
Let me tell you what I mean…If you see a 1:00, 4:00, and 9:00 flight on sale, but you need the 2:00, 6:00, or 10:00 flight that is way more…wait it out that day. If you’re searching on a Tuesday like we recommend, and you see that some flights are on sale in the morning…check again in the afternoon, and then again in the evening. Flight prices tend to rotate which flights are on sale throughout the day, so be sure to keep checking for the flight you want to match the sale that you want.
11. Always buy your ticket directly from the airline.
I know sometimes you get discounts on other items because you bought from them versus directly from the company. Well, flights aretypically the opposite. We have found that sites that search for your flights tend to have a “finders fee” and you end up paying more.
Another reason why we say this, is because it’s much more difficult (if at all possible) to change your flight that was booked through a 3rd party site, rather than to just work with the airline direct.
And a special note…**If you are buying insurance on your flight, know what you are buying!**
I am not going to tell you NOT to buy insurance, but if you are curious, I rarely ever do. Reason being, a lot of add-on insurance for flights does NOT include changing your flight if you have to. Most insurance does not mean you get a refund if your plans just change. (Some do..most don’t).
Sometimes the insurance you are buying is just insurance in case your luggage is lost, someone dies, becomes ill (must have a dr.s note), etc. for you to receive any credit for the flight not used. Be sure to read it all the way through and see what you are buying.
12. Sign up for email notifications
Yes, it can be pesky to receive an email from an airline every single day…but sometimes there are promo codes and specials in there that you might want. For example, Spirit sends out promo codes at least a few times a month for you to book your flight on that specific day. Be sure you’re on those lists in case something comes up.
An alternative to signing up for notifications is you could always google for a promo code, but it’s hard finding any that work with the airlines that way.
13. Pack Light!
This one is going to save you anywhere from $25-50 on most flights. Just bring a carry-on. Gone are the days of your luggage flies free. I have flown from Los Angeles to Chicago for CHEAPER than they wanted me to pay for my CARRY-ON bag! Seriously! Pack light, and save that money…you probably aren’t going to wear everything you had planned anyway!