The definition of cheap flights varies a lot among different people. Whenever a friend tells me they have found a great deal for an international flight, it’s something around 1000 USD. I just wonder what scammer is giving them those prices. Truth is, I rarely fly long haul for anything over 700 US Dollars or 600 Euro. I’m talking here about international round trips like Hamburg – Los Angeles or Cologne – Tokyo. At first, people seem reluctant to believe the price points I’m talking about are actually real, but once they get to see it with their own eyes there’s no doubt left. Here I will share with you the trick that will help you find the cheapest flight for any given location at any given time.
While Skyscanner can get you very reasonable prices and is recommended by almost everyone nowadays, I have never really found the cheapest fares on their site. The best option is to search on foreign sites. I will be using Idealo.de (Germany) and Wego.vn (Vietnam) which have given me some of the best fares many times. Just remember, you should keep your mind open since there might be even better deals on other sites you could find with just a couple of clicks! I’ll tell you how to find those. Keep in mind as well that you should ask your friends about the sites they use when they book their flights and ask as well how much they pay for them. Sometimes you have a connoisseur right next to you and you’re just unaware of it.
You can find some proof of the cheap prices I’m talking about below. I didn’t even spend that much time refining my search with those.
Now I will present you what you plan of attack when looking for cheap flights should be. Just follow these 5 steps and your set to go:
1. Pick a booking site
Momondo.com, Idealo.de and Wego.vn are good options. You can search for different foreign sites on google, just translate “cheap flights” into a different language with the google translator and then make the search. If the site is not available in English just use the translator Chrome comes with. Remember it doesn’t have to be a site of the Country you’re traveling to, it could be any country where you think cheap flights could be offered. You should also make sure that it’s a site that shows all the airlines and not just one alliance. Sites that show you flights from a single alliance are just trying to make money for them. The exact same flight can cost you up to 600 USD less on some other site.
2. Pick some rough dates
Chose when you want to fly, just a rough idea, no need to stick to those days yet. Remember, after the 10nth of January you will be getting the best deals of the year. During this season, I have been able to book transatlantic flights as cheap as 500 USD just 5 days in advance. Prices for summer tend to be higher but you should never be paying more than 200 USD what you usually pay on different dates.
3. Experiment with the departure date
Play a little with your departure date and see if the flight gets any cheaper on a different date. If the prices drop for a specific day then take note of it before continuing. If you don’t write it down on a piece of paper or save it somewhere you will forget it, and if the prices change in the meantime, it can be quite confusing trying to find those original dates. Try as much as you can and don’t skip any day. Sometimes I have thought there are no deals around a certain date, then I find a specific day when the prices drop significantly. Right between two expensive dates you can find a great deal, quite odd but it happens. If you’re not superstitious, flying on the 13nth of the month is sometimes the cheapest, so why not try it?
4. Experiment with the return date
Once you can’t find a cheaper departure date stop messing with it, now it’s time to find the cheapest return flight. If you happen to have picked an expensive return date from the beginning then it’s possible that the price drops lower quite significantly. Remember as well, Tuesday-Thursday tends to be cheaper since people are working and have no time to travel, this doesn’t mean you can’t find an affordable flight on a Saturday though.
5. Repeat on a different site
Try a different site, search for new foreign sites, don’t just take what you are given at first. Use the dates you found were cheaper on a different site. When an airline tends to drop prices the other ones will do the same to remain competitive, one site might however not have listed a special deal, that’s why you have to try on a different one.
Finding a good offer takes a bit of patience but after an hour or so you should have found the best prices and have a broad view of what the fares are during the season you’ll be flying. If you’ve found a great deal, don’t wait too long before booking it. You are not the only one who’s getting that attractive price and it might soon be gone. You might be flying from a small city into another small city in a different country, but you are gonna have to take a long-haul flight which will connect people from all over your country. You’ve got quite some competition and very a very limited number of seats. Consider that if you’re booking close to the departure date, waiting just one day could increase the prices by hundreds. This happened the next day I bought a ticket for a flight to the States where prices increased by $400 in just one day. Think fast.
It’s not a bad idea to compare the fares to those shown on Skyscanner. Skyscanner gives you really fair prices but that’s not where you find the great deals. And don’t be fooled to pick a flight that might be the cheapest but departs at some crazy time in the middle of the night. You will have to get a taxi and with those prices included the flight might end up being more expensive than some more reasonable option that costs just a little more.
Now, as promised, here are some good deals I found for various cities. I tried to make it as diverse as possible for the different needs and interests you might have. I confess I didn’t even spend that much time refining the dates for any of these. The prices might have been even lower!
Cheap flights don’t translate into bad quality!
As you can see, low fares don’t have anything to do with the quality of the airline you’ll be getting. SWISS, for example, is considered to be one of the best airlines in Europe and here I found a flight for just 560 Dollars. I’ve also seen really cheap flights with Lufthansa, Etihad and Emirates and those are some top-notch airlines to fly with.