Are you sick and tired of paying $1000s of dollars for international flights? Well, we’re absolutely on the same page.
How do you go about finding cheap flights and mistake fares like this $327 roundtrip flight from Washington DC to New Zealand?
We’d love if you became the person who all your friends wish they could be as you’re instagramming pics like the one below from Auckland after you picked up an awesomely cheap fare.
Travel doesn’t have to be expensive. If you know how and where to look, you can find the absolute cheapest flight and be traveling the world in no time
1. Spotting a deal worthy of your time and credit card
Before you get into booking, it’s imperative you know what a good deal actually looks like so when you see a cheap fare you know to book it before it’s gone.
Here are great prices from the United States to a few major spots around the world:
- Africa: $500s-$700s round trip
- Australia: $600s-$800s round trip
- Caribbean: $100s-$300s round trip
- Europe: $300s-$500s round trip
- East and Southeast Asia: $300s-$500s round trip
- Hawaii: $200s-$400s round trip
- South America: $400s-$600s round trip
These are fare ranges our team looks for every day. If you end up finding cheap flights in these ranges, you should book fast. Follow tips 2-5 to learn how to actually spot these deals.
2. Be flexible with airports:
Check out ALL airports close to where you live, as well as to your destination if you want to end up finding the cheapest flight. We recommend looking from airports within 2 hours driving. Some of the best deal’s we’ve found have been from airports other than our home airports.
Remember, budget airlines in Europe and Asia are extremely cheap. You can fly roundtrip from most cities for less than $90 roundtrip within those regions.
That being said, if you’re looking to get from New York to London for example, but the fare is $1,200 roundtrip (way above our good deal range of $300-$500 roundtrip), check to see what the price is from New York to Brussels or Paris. That fare might be $400 roundtrip and then you can add on a cheap roundtrip flight from Brussels or Paris to London on budget airlines like Ryanair for $40 USD.
If you do that, you’ve easily saved $500+ on the trip already. Finding cheap flights is more of an art than science in some cases.
I originally started Dollar Flight Club to let my friends and family know when I found a super cheap flight, like the time I flew from New York City to Stockholm for $290 roundtrip. Since then, Dollar Flight Club has has sent hundreds of thousands of people to awesome destinations.
I used to live in San Diego and was planning a trip to London. The fare was $1,100 USD from San Diego International Airport, but I found one for $380 roundtrip from Los Angeles. So I hopped on the Amtrak train for $30 USD up to Los Angeles to catch the flight and only paid $410 for the whole trip, rather than $1100 USD.
This can be replicated all over the world.
3. Be flexible with travel dates:
The easiest way to find a great deal is to be quite flexible with your travel dates.
This can be tough if you have limited time off from work. However, try to plan far in advance. Sometimes you can save $300-$500 if you leave on a Thursday as opposed to a Friday for example. Rather than picking your dates first, try and see when it’s cheapest to travel and work backwards
In addition, booking last minute almost always never works out. In our opinion, never wait until the last minute unless you have to. When you see a great fare 2-3 months in advance for domestic flights and 3-8 months in advance for international flights you should book them.
Overall, Friday and Sunday are usually the most expensive days. Tuesday, Wednesday, and Saturday are the absolute cheapest days to travel.
4. Use Google, Momondo, and Skiplagged to search and book:
We recommend visiting at least 3 websites when you’re looking to find the absolute cheapest flight. These are our favorites and always bring back the cheapest fares. They also allow you to put into play the tips listed above. Try to go through these sites in numerical order.
- Always start with Google Flights. It’s the best search engine in the business for a few reasons. Mainly, it allows you to nicely browse the calendar view.
- Pull up their handy calendar tool to find the best travel dates for your route, by locating the dates with the lowest fares. Make sure you browse the calendar view up to 9 months ahead so you know the cheapest time frame to travel and then narrow down on the dates you want.
- Keep a tab on the price you found.
- Head over to Momondo, re-enter your itinerary that you found in Google Flights and hit search. You can also double check them on Priceline to confirm you have the cheapest deal.
- Momondo almost always brings back the absolute cheapest fares, even cheaper than in Google Flights 95% of the time.
- Keep a tab on the price you found.
- Lastly, head to Skiplagged and enter in those dates to be sure you have the absolute cheapest fare.
- Once you’ve gone through these steps and you’ve found a fare within the price ranges we outlined above, go ahead and book!
- Skiplagged is so good they actually got sued by United Airlines a few years ago for saving people too much money on airfare by finding a loophole in the booking system. Good news for us, they won the lawsuit and they're still up and running.
5. Use Fare Alert Sites to Find Mistake Fare.
Mistake fares are simply when airlines mistakenly publish incorrect ticket prices like when a $1,308 roundtrip flight from Atlanta to Cape Town was actually priced at $130 roundtrip. This can happen for a few reasons:
Simple Human Error: It very well may be that a $1,308 roundtrip flight from Atlanta to Cape Town was actually priced at $130 roundtrip. Someone omitted or added a number in error when entering a flight price, which can result in a significantly reduced ticket until the error is found by the airlines and corrected.
OTA Glitches/ Omitting Fuel Surcharges & Fees: Online Travel Agencies (OTA) are often behind these Mistake Fares. Missing fuel surcharges are often why we see prices so reduced. Fuel surcharges are in place to prevent frequent flyer programs from allowing people to book 100% free tickets using miles (as you still pay these additional fees). Every now and then though, these charges may be dropped by mistake. Fuel surcharges can make up hundreds of dollars on some airlines.
Currency Conversion Errors: When moving from currency to currency, things can get tricky when you’re working with such complex systems. For example. a $4,000 United Airlines flight was available for around $79 recently. This specific Mistake Fare occured due to a miscalculation between the Danish Kroner and British Pound.
These are tough to find on your own unless you’re endlessly scouring the web and only pop up once in awhile. You can always use services like Dollar Flight Club who has a team of flight searchers scouring Google Flights. Momondo, and Skiplagged all day long to find these crazy mistake fares.
A few Bonus Tips & Tricks:
- Have VPN access? Try to use your VPN to access the flight comparison sites and set your location to a poorer country with a different currency (not USD, GBP, AUD, etc.) as the flight tickets may be lower that way.
- Try clear cookies after each search or search in “incognito mode” which may bring back a slightly cheaper ticket.
Don’t have time to do all of this?! We’ve got you covered. Our team does this all day like clock work. So join the club an grab your bag. Now that you have the tools...where will you Wandr?