Last Updated: March 11, 2024

For most trips, airfare is the most expensive part of the trip. While prices for transatlantic flights have gone down in recent years, they can still put a sizeable dent in any travel budget. Whether you’re a budget solo traveler or a family looking to vacation abroad, finding a cheap flight deal can be what makes or breaks your trip.

After all, if your flight is too expensive, you’re likely going to keep putting the trip off. I’ve seen it happen time and time again.

And yet every day, airlines have thousands of amazing deals — from mistakenly published fares to special promotions to slashing prices to compete with another airline. Cheap fares are out there and they can make your dream trip a reality — if you know where to look (I start all my flight searches with Skyscanner).

Today, I am going to help you master the art of finding a cheap flight. These are the exact steps I’ve been following for a decade to get the cheapest airfare possible every time I fly. If you follow them too, you’ll never be the person on a flight who paid the most for their ticket!

Here’s how to find a cheap flight no matter where you want to go in the world:


1. Ignore the Myths

The first thing to know about finding a cheap flight is that there is no magic bullet or one secret ninja trick to doing so. There are a lot of myths online about how to find cheap flights. In fact, you’ve probably come across a ton of them on your search to find the best flight deal!

They are all lies. They will lead you astray.


Most websites hire terrible reporters who recycle common and outdated myths. Here are the most common that are 100% not true:

It is NOT cheaper to buy airfare on a Tuesday (or any other specific day for that matter).

There is NO evidence that searching incognito leads to cheaper deals.

There is NO exact date or specific time period in which to book your airfare.

You can’t predict airline prices and websites that do are basically taking an educated (but probably wrong) guess.

Airlines use advanced computer and pricing algorithms to determine prices and run sales based on the time of the year, passenger demand, weather, major events/festivals, time of day, competitor prices, fuel prices, and much more. Those so-called “tricks” don’t work anymore. The system is too smart. Throw them out. Let them die.

Don’t listen to anyone who tells you otherwise. Anyone who is telling you doesn’t know what they are talking about.

2. Be flexible with your travel Dates and Time of Arrival

The cost of airline tickets varies greatly dependent on the weekday and the time of the year and the upcoming holidays for example, New Year’s Eve, Christmas Thanksgiving, Christmas, or The Fourth of July. August is an ideal month to travel around Europe and everyone would like to travel somewhere warm during the winter, or to travel once children are not in school.

In short In a nutshell, if you plan to fly during a time that everyone else is flying in the same time, then your ticket will cost you more.

The best option is to fly out of season. Look for alternative dates to ensure you are able to take advantage of the most favorable day. The more rigid you are with your plans will be, more likely is to be that you will find the best deal.

Be flexible in your dates. If you’re set on traveling to Paris visit in the fall or spring as there are less tourists in the area and the cost of airfare is lower.

However, if you’d like to travel during august’s middle? It’s not possible. Hawaii during Christmas? Best of luck! The prices remain at their the highest.

Additionally, it’s generally cheaper to fly in between the hours of work rather than on weekends because the majority of people fly on weekends and airlines raise their prices. Costs are less expensive when you travel after or during major holidays. Flights that depart early or late at night are also less expensive due to the fact that fewer people travel that way. (who is willing to wake up at a blazing hour? ?!). Fridays and Mondays can be expensive due to the fact that business travelers travel.

When you search on Skyscanner just hit the dates field and open the calendar view. You’ll immediately be able to see the cheapest months to travel. In this search, from NYC to Paris you’ll see that flying in November, September, or December will cost less expensive than travel during June or July:


Airlines aren’t stupid. They are aware that a festival or holiday, major sports event or the school break is approaching — and raise prices according to the occasion.

Be flexible in your schedule and dates and you’ll save significant money.

3. Be flexible with your destination

If you aren’t able to be flexible on your travel plans but you can be flexible about the location you travel. It is best to be flexible with both but if you’re really hoping to save money and find a low-cost flight to your destination it is essential to be flexible either way.


Search engines for airlines have created it simple to search across the globe to find the most affordable tickets. There is no need to manually search cities by cities, day-to-day. Websites such as Skyscanner or Google Flights provide tools for exploring that let you put at your airport of choice and view an interactive map of the world including all flights that are on it. This lets you easily look at different destinations without needing to consider every possible choice. It’s likely that you’ll discover some intriguing destinations that you’ve never thought of!

If you’re flexible on the places you’d like to go (i.e. anyplace other than home) all you need to enter is “Everywhere” in the box for search of Skyscanner (or “Anywhere” when you’re using Google Flights.

The reality about travel is that you can always find an offer to a certain destination, but it may just not be your top option. If you’re flexible on what you’d like to do it’s likely that you’ll get bargains and save dollars while doing it.


When you’re locked into a single location at a given time, you’re bound with the price that is shown. It’s impossible to alter this. If you’re more flexible, the whole world is open to you and you’ll discover amazing low flights!

4. Keep an eye out for special Offers

Before you start searching for specific lighting be sure to sign up to a few newsletters. By joining the mailing list of airlines and websites offering last-minute deals will allow you to access the best deals available there. Of course, most of them may not be a good fit for your travel plans, but keeping an attention on offers will help you not lose out on a fantastic chance.

Most of the time low-cost flights are offered for a specific time (usually for 24 hours). If you’re not constantly searching the internet to find sales on flights, then you’ll be missing out on the most lucrative bargains.

I could not have been able to get the chance to fly round-trip in Japan at $700 US (normally $1,500) and an airfare of $500 from South Africa if I wasn’t already a member of sites offering flight deals.

In addition, many airline newsletters provide frequent flyer bonuses. The points and miles make for amazing upgrades and free flights.

In addition to signing up for airlines’ newsletters, the best website to search for offers on travel to travel on is Go (formerly Scott’s Low-cost Flights). It’s the best for upcoming US flights and for new members can enjoy 20% off of a Premium membership using the coupon code NOMADICMATT20.

Other websites worth looking into include:

The Flight Deal – Great for worldwide flight deals.

Holiday Pirates Holiday Pirates The best choice for European flights.

The Secret Flying A wonderful site to find cheap flights all over the world.


5. Fly Cheap Carriers

When you were younger when you wanted to travel between continents, you were usually stuck with the traditional expensive airlines. It’s not the case anymore. Nowadays you can fly the majority of the the world using a budget airline. Although they may not offer the same comfort, and there may be a need to shell out for upgrades such as checked bags and food, however they will bring the world right to your doorstep with no costing you a fortune.


Budget airlines typically serve medium- and short-haul routes. Although many budget carriers (notably Norwegian Air) scrapped their long-haul routes as part of COVID, new carriers (like PLAY, Norse Atlantic Airways along with French Bee) have now emerged to replace them.

At present these days, the budget airlines mostly operate in regional areas, so it’s easy to find a bargain flight, even in this time of increased cost.

Here’s a list of the cheapest airlines in the world:



Flair Airlines


Air Canada Rouge


Air Transat



United States


Allegiant Air


Spirit Airlines

Sun Country Airlines



Air Asia

Jeju Air

Hong Kong Express


Peach Air

Spice Jet

Spring Airlines

Nok Air

T’Way Airlines

Cebu Pacific

Lion Air

VietJet Air







Norwegian Air

Wizz Air


New Zealand/Australia


Middle East



Air Arabia

Pro tip: If you’re not certain which airlines are budget and where they fly go to your airport’s website for the list of airlines operating there.)


A budget airline is an excellent alternative to flying “the majors” whenever you can. There aren’t as many perks however, you will save money on the cost.

Be sure to look out for any fees. This is how they earn profits! The budget airlines usually charge fees for carry-ons, checked bags printing your boarding passes by using credit cards and any other thing they are able to get away with. Make sure you add the cost of your ticket as well as the fees to ensure that the cost is less than the cost of a more expensive airline.



It is also important to confirm where the airport for the budget airline in the destination you’re planning to visit. They typically fly into or out of airports very far from the city itself with a limited and expensive transport alternatives.

For instance, the shuttle to Beauvais which is the airport that’s budget-friendly to Paris cost just 17 EUR one-way. If you’re flying roundtrip this means you need to add 34 EUR to the cost of your ticket to determine whether you’re saving money when you fly a low-cost airline.

6. Don’t Always Fly Directly

It is not only beneficial to be flexible about dates and locations, but also being flexible about the route you choose to take can also help you get an affordable flight. In some cases, it’s cheaper to fly into London in order to then fly on an inexpensive airline for Amsterdam rather than fly directly to Amsterdam from your city of departure.

I was able to do exactly this while I was in Paris. Flights from the US was $900 USD however, I could travel into Dublin at $600, and take the same flight at $60 to Paris. This meant longer flying time but the savings of $240 USD was worth it for me.

If you’re using this method, determine the price to fly direct to where you want to go. After that, open Google Flights and type in the continent of your destination to check prices at nearby airports. In the event that there is a difference of greater than 150 USD, then I will look at how much it will cost to travel from the airport in the other direction to my primary location (either via a budget airline or train, if not far away). It is possible to use Rome2Rio in order to assist you in your find the most efficient ways to travel between an airport in the vicinity and your main destination.

You could also use this to depart too. It may be more affordable to fly out of the nearest airport. I frequently look up for other airports to determine whether it’s more cost-effective to fly, drive or train there and then travel to my destination. If you have long international flights it’s worth the extra time!

If you choose to take separate segments, make certain to allow at least three hours between your connections. This gives you enough time to be prepared in the event of delays as your second flight won’t be able to wait on your behalf (you booked with a different airline, therefore they don’t be concerned if you’re delayed and not).



The three-hour buffer you leave will be able to cover an insurance claim, as most insurance companies require that you be able to endure a minimum of three hours delay before making claims.

This approach is more laborious as you will have to think of many various routes and research various airlines. It can also decrease the cost of your flight, and is well worth the extra effort, especially if you end in saving hundreds of dollars.

Note If you encounter a delay on a flight from or to Europe You could be entitled to an additional payment (upwards to 600 EUR).

7. Be aware that not all search engines are created equal.

To find the most competitive price for your needs, you must search several websites. A lot of search engines don’t include low-cost airlines or obscure foreign carriers since these airlines don’t want to pay commission for booking. Other booking sites don’t show any that don’t have a language other than English. Others still display prices that are directly sourced from airlines.



In essence it is true that not all flight search sites are created equal. All come with pros and cons.

Since there’s no one best air travel search tool, it’s best to look at a few different ones to evaluate. Even the most reliable engines have flaws. But, I have a few favorite websites I will always begin with because they always show the most effective results. My top recommendations for sites to search for a low-cost flight are:

Skyscanner Skyscanner – the most popular booking site there. They offer a fantastic user design (and a great app for mobile devices)

Google Flights Google Flights is a great search engine that allows you to find prices for multiple destinations.

Typically, I start my searches using Skyscanner as it is able to search all major and budget airlines, websites that are not English, English websites, and all the rest. They review all the websites they link to since they set strict guidelines regarding who they work with. It’s among the largest booking websites that exist and offers the lowest cost almost all the times. Since 2008, I’ve used them and it’s also the search engine which all other travel professionals I know also use.


8. Make the most of student discounts

If you’re an undergraduate (or less than 26) you can avail a number of discounts that are available to you. It is common to find discounts of 10% to 20% off the regular price. Travel agencies such as Flight Centre and Student Universe will help you find an affordable ticket. Do not overlook these!

Also, remember that the majority of student discounts are transferred to airlines that are partners. For instance, Lufthansa offers a student discount, so you can utilize this discount on airlines that are partners like Swiss Airlines and Austrian Airlines. This lets you travel further and making sure you save a lot of cash.

If you’re unsure which airlines provide discounts (they do not provide this information in a way that is accessible) check their websites or contact them. Making a few searches to save 20 percent (or more) is well worth it!


9. Mix and Match Airlines

If you make a booking through an airline directly, you’ll be able fly that airline as well as any other associated airlines it operates. This means that you’ll have fewer options when it comes to locating the best route or saving the most money.

Most of the time, this will suffice. If you’re looking for more savings, you should consider making reservations on other airlines. If, for instance, you’re traveling to New York to Paris, there could be a stopping point in London. The booking of both flights on one ticket is easy however, it’s unlikely to cost you anything.

Instead instead, you can take the New York to London flight as a single ticket and then purchase your London for Paris ticket with a different airline. This will let you look around for the most affordable price. This is more work, but your savings (and flexibility) could be worth it.

This is what a lot of third-party booking sites like Kiwi.com do. They put together trips by using the flights they find to make sure you get the best cost.

If you’re trying to find the lowest price possible and aren’t satisfied with what you see on the website of the airline Try booking your own segments. It’s possible that you’ll stumble upon an amazing bargain!

10. Utilize Miles and Points

If you are aware that you’d like to travel, you should apply for an airline credit card. Utilizing miles and points is the best way to frequent travelers like me receive complimentary flights, travel benefits as well as free hotel stays. Credit cards for travel come with huge welcome offers including credit for rideshares such as Uber or Lyft as well as access to lounges at airports along with travel insurance, and more.

There’s no need for additional spending. I earn more than 1 million miles in a year, without flying or spending any extra cash. This is equivalent to many complimentary flight tickets (often on business-class flights) for me along with my loved ones.

If you have points and miles you might want to consider joining an online platform such as point.me. It’s a booking and search engine that can help you discover the most effective ways to make use of your miles and points. It searches through 30 loyalty programs and airline programs to determine the most value for money so you don’t squander your miles!

11. Price Search for Individual Travelers

If you’re travelling with family or friends Don’t look for tickets or purchase multiple tickets with one purchase. Airlines will always display the most expensive prices for tickets within a group of tickets. This means that you’ll pay more.

Airlines offer a variety of prices to purchase tickets (these are dependent on a myriad of variables). They aim to market tickets at the lowest price bucket they can and, if they group tickets make sure to list prices in the most expensive bucket.

For instance, if you’re four people in a family and you’re looking for four seats in the plane, it will locate four seats in the same group and calculate your ticket in accordance with the ticket’s highest cost. If seat A is $200 Seats B and C cost $300 and seat D costs $400, the airline will bill the tickets at $400 each instead of adding the individual tickets. When the difference in price is substantial it will result in an additional cost of a significant amount.

This is why you should always look for tickets that are for one person. Then, during the process of checkout you will be able to select your seats to ensure that you and your family can sit together. Even if you find yourself not sitting next to one another, it’s still an appropriate tradeoff to save hundreds of dollars.


For instance, suppose you’d like to travel between Austin in Texas to Atlanta. An air trip from Austin towards New Orleans with an additional stop in Atlanta could be less expensive than flying from Austin for Atlanta directly.

As you’re able to imagine, this procedure isn’t easy and difficult. There are a few important things to remember and that is, once you fail to complete a segment and the airline decides to cancel the remainder of your trip. This means you can’t purchase round-trip flights and carry out this on your departure flight because the return flight is cancelled. Additionally, you can’t bag bags as they’ll end up at the destination listed on tickets, and will not be in the place you depart from.

Furthermore, airlines are extremely frowned at this type of behavior and you should not to announce the way you’re going, and you shouldn’t do it frequently, as you could be flagged.

Finding cheap flights is about being flexible and imaginative. It can require some time, but bargains are there when you’re willing to look. Use the suggestions above to begin however, don’t lose the time searching for the cheapest flight. If you’re spending over an hour searching for a flight, you’re wasting your time.

When you’ve found an airfare deal you’re satisfied with, book it now, as the prices fluctuate by the hour. Keep in mind that you’ve got 24 hours to cancel in the event that you have to.

Utilize the advice above to find an affordable flight to get your ball moving. If you follow these tips, you’ll always find a good bargain!

Find Cheap Flights Today!

I always begin my search using Skyscanner since they are able to search for all major and budget airlines, websites that are not English, English websites, and everything between. Even if you’re not certain of your travel plans you should start looking for flights now. The ones who delay booking will are the ones who spend the most.

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