11 Feb 2016
With fluctuating prices and endless companies vying for your business, the approach to cheap flight booking can be overwhelming.
To make sure you get the best bang for your buck, we’ve rounded up the top money-saving tips and tricks out there to save you time, frustration and most importantly money when booking your next holiday, and how to get the cheapest flights.
Believe it not, flight prices can actually increase when a particular flight route is repeatedly searched. As cookies in your browser save your search history, airlines track the information and use it as a scare tactic to lead us into believing that the price will jump once the offer expires if we don’t book then and there.
To beat this, try browsing in private mode, which resets your cookies each time you re-open a window meaning you can go about your flight search undetected.
Give it a try by hitting Command (or ‘Control’ if using PC) – Shift – ’N’ to activate private browsing mode in Safari and Google Chrome OR Command (or ‘Control’ if using PC) – Shift – ’P’ for Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox.
Fly On A Day Less Travelled
Friday afternoons, Sunday nights and Monday mornings are considered peak period for domestic travellers. Price takes a back seat as business folk and weekend holidayer’s tend to fill up these flights for the sake of convenience.
If your schedule is flexible, try leaving on a Wednesday as airlines are more likely to have empty seats on sale in order to fill up the plane. This means travellers can get their hands on flights at their cheapest price point.
Or, why not go one step further and try mixing and matching your cheap flights. Most airlines offer a cracking one-way fare but get you on the cost of the return. Do your research and narrow down cheaper flights for the outbound and see if cheaper alternatives work better for the return.
Timing is Everything
If you know when and where you’re going, your biggest savings will always come from booking in advance. Not only will it give you plenty of choice on flight routes and carriers but it’s also your best chance at paying a very decent fare, especially for long-haul flights.
However, you’re still in luck if you’ve yet to lock in your dates and/or destination. In fact, we’re now starting to see fares drop below the average price just six weeks prior to travel meaning travellers can still save themselves a few hundred dollars around this time.
As for the best time of day to book, Tuesday afternoons (EST) and early into the morning are when you can expect to see the most number of deals available. Although if you really want to reap the benefits, the first flight out in the morning is usually the cheapest time to fly followed by just after lunch or during dinner time.Boarding-
Chase the Cheap Flight Deal
Keep your eyes peeled for cheap flight alerts either via email or social media as airlines experiment with fare blasting, which is essentially short term offers that tend to either expire or sell out within a couple of hours.
Alternatively, if you’re partial to a particular airline, sign up for their frequent flyers program or use their credit card to take advantage of exclusive rewards that are usually redeemable for miles or travel gift cards.
Price Match via a Travel Agent
While inarguably convenient, travel agents survive based on the fact that they have access to special wholesale rates which are often much less than retail rates. And yet, these ‘exclusive’ rates are inaccessible to the public and more-often-than-not influenced by commission targets and exclusive contracts with particular airlines.
To get around this, try to do some simple research of your own and highlight a couple of flights that catch your eye. Present them to your local travel agent and see if they can price match each flight and as well as beat the current price on offer. Usually, an agent can beat it by 10% but remember to ask for a price breakdown to know exactly what you’re paying for and to avoid those pesky hidden costs.
For the latest camping and cabin offers, check out the Discovery Parks deal page for your complete guide on holiday and accommodation options around Australia.
Over to you—what are your travel hacks when finding and booking a flight?