I know that paying for air travel with miles and points is the holy grail of travel hacking, but sometimes it makes sense to save your precious points & miles and pay for a flight from your pocket. There are times when flights which can’t be paid for with redeemed points become available at near give-away prices; as a travel hacker with a nose for a bargain, you have to cash in on the deal – even if it means spending out of pocket.
Here are my tips on how to find cheap flights and flight deals:
Look out for seat sales and promo codes
This source of cheap airplane tickets works best if you’re not in a rush and have the luxury of waiting for airlines to announce seat sales or promo codes. Most of the major airlines have a seat sale every couple weeks. Now there are hundreds of flights and deals available at any given time, so checking each airline individually may not be feasible. You can enhance your efficiency when searching by using aggregator sites which search the databases of airlines, travel sites, and booking engines and come up with the best ticket prices available.
Tip of the day: Make a point of signing up for newsletters from airlines, they occasionally give exclusive personalised discount codes to subscribers (Ie. WestJet recently offered members a 25% off code).
Every travel hacker understands the importance of remaining flexible when shopping for cheap plane tickets. But being flexible means keeping an open mind on:
- The travelling date – you can save precious bucks simply by flying a day before or after your ideal date.
- Choosing to fly on weekdays instead of weekends when tickets cost more.
- The airport you select for your departure and arrival. By clicking on the “everywhere” destination option found on aggregator sites like Skyscanner, you access a wider array of tickets and improve your chances of landing a cheaper ticket – not to mention you discover a new destinations which is always a good thing.
No hidden charges
When you find your flight and click to book, the aggregate sites link you through directly to the airline or travel site – no hidden charges, no added fees, so you get the best deals every time!
List of my favourite aggregator airline sites:
Momondo is has been consistently ranked as the best place to find the cheapest flights by many review websites. The fact that it’s endorsed by CNN, the New York Times and the Daily Telegraph indicates just how good it is. It provides the quickest results, and has a graph showing a wider array of ticket prices. Plus it includes Amtrak and Eurostar train ticket prices.
KAYAK searches for the cheapest airline tickets available from all the top airlines around the world as well as the top international flight routes and is part of The Priceline Group, an online travel agency.
Google Flights: https://www.google.ca/flights/
Google Flights not only enables travellers to buy airline tickets through third party suppliers, it can identify flights based on your ideal departure and arrival time as well as number of stops.
Sky Scanner: https://www.skyscanner.ca/
Skyscanner is one of the best aggregators for finding the cheapest deals. It shows the price for the same flight from several OTAs and airlines and also includes a service for finding the cheapest hotels and car rental deals.
Speaking from my own experience I’ve found cheaper flights on Momondo and Skyscanner a number of times in my searches. I find their searches to be more in-depth than those of Google Flights and Kayak.
Travel Deal Sites
Apart from travelling to specific destinations, there’re some sites where you can find unbelievable deals which can work out great for you if you don’t have a particular destination in mind. Although these sites don’t post deals that often, I always make a point to keep checking because they have a knack for coming up with amazing deals! Most of the deals they post usually don’t last for more than a day, so you have to act fast if you see a deal you like.
My favourite travel deals sites are:
Chris is a travel junkie who’s hooked on deals. He has over 250,000 Canadians who follow him on Facebook. He only posts when there’s a truly amazing deal and has a website in most cities across Canada. Subscribe to the city you live in and you’ll be impressed with the flight deals he posts.
Major Canadian cities:
- Calgary :: YYC Deals
- Edmonton :: YEG Deals
- Montreal :: YUL Deals
- Ottawa :: YOW Deals
- Regina :: YQR Deals
- Saskatoon :: YXE Deals
- Toronto :: YYZ Deals
- Vancouver :: YVR Deals
- Winnipeg :: YWG Deals
They are a team of passionate travellers who provide details on the most incredible flight deals. They claim on their website that they can help travellers save up to 80% on flights around the world. You can also find the latest travel-related news on their website.
Just like Chris Myden from Y Deals, Rishi Modi is neither a travel agent nor does he work for any airline. He’s just an enthusiastic traveller who is devoted to finding the cheapest travel deals. His post cover Canadian cities including Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Ottawa, Montreal and Halifax.
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