I travel a lot and naturally I don’t like spending a lot of money on flights so I’ve learned how to use flight hacking tools to find the cheapest flights online.
I just spent close a month in Bali and I managed to find a flight from my home in Vancouver for $492 with taxes, which is pretty amazing considering it’s a 21 hour flight that travels 12,973 km.
I want to share with you my flight hacking process that I use to book cheap flights. Follow this guide and you I can guaranteed that you be spending a lot less on airfares next time you want to travel somewhere:
1. Browse in Incognito Mode
Always search for flights in incognito or private browsing mode to find the lowest prices. You can also manually delete your cookies. The reason is that airlines and flight search networks track you and raise the prices to put pressure on you to buy.
2. Use A VPN (Virtual Private Network)
Use a VPN to search flights from another country and see if you can get a better deal by buying in a different currency. For example, if you’re in the United States, try searching for flights in Mexico or the United Kingdom to see if you can get a better deal in another currency (use XE to compare currencies). I use and recommend NordVPN because they have the best security and their VPN network supports nearly every major country.
3. Use A Flight Search Aggregator
There are literally thousands of flight search aggregators that allow you to search as many discount fare options as possible. I’ve easily tried hundreds of them and from my experience, the best cheap flight search websites are Skyscanner, Kayak, Google Flights and Momondo.
4. Also Try Searching Airlines’ Websites
You should also try searching the airlines’ websites directly. Some no-frills discount airlines don’t allow flight search aggregators to sell their flights and occasionally you can find better deals by searching on the websites of major airlines. Here’s an authoritative list on Wikipedia of low cost airlines across the world.
5. Use Artificial Intelligence To Find the Cheapest Times To Fly
The killer app that I use for flight hacking is Hopper. It will tell you the cheapest days of the month and the year to fly. What I always do it set my flight dates and then have it work in the background to analyze prices and it automatically alerts me when the cheapest flights are available (it even suggests if you should buy now or wait longer for a better deal).
6. Experiment With Alternative Routes To Find Cheaper Deals
If you are flexible with your travel dates, times and destination you will often be able to find cheaper flights. You should also experiment with alternative routes to find cheaper deals. Flight search networks like Kayak and Google Flights have magical “explore tools” that can even decide your next vacation or coworking spot for you. Simply type in your departure airport and the other important details but don’t include a destination.
7. Book Your Flight 6 Weeks Ahead Of Time
The sweet spot for booking your flight ahead of time is generally 6 weeks. Keep in mind that you can also find great last minute flights deals if your schedule is flexible and you’re willing to risk it. A survey from Fare Compare found that Wednesday is the cheapest day to fly and the best time to book a flight is Tuesday at 3 pm EST.
8. Find A Good Travel Agent.
Believe it or not a good travel agents can still find you many of the best deals. Given that their job is to put together vacation packages and find cheap flights, having a good relationship with a travel agent is recommended because they can help you book special undercut rates often inaccessible to the public. I will often find the best deal I can online and then call my travel agent to see if they can beat it.
9. Join A Frequent Flyer Program With Your Favorite Airline
If you’re a globetrotting jetsetter then you’re going to want to join a frequent flyer program with your favorite airline. This will get you special deals and also extra special treatment on flights and give you access to their cozy airline lounges when you need to hang out in the airport for a while.
10 Get A Credit Card That Maximizes Frequent Flyer Miles
If you’re a digital nomad like me and you fly a lot then the credit card you use matters. A good travel rewards credit card can come with come with anywhere from 30,000 to 100,000 miles just for joining and paying the roughly $100 annual fee. This is a steal because you can easily go and book a $600-1200 flight with those points.
11. Outsource Your Flight Search To An Expert
If you’re short on time, you can outsource your flight search to an expert using FlightFox. It’s kind of like crowdsourcing the best flight from travel agents and seasoned flight hackers. I use this handy service sometimes to outsource my flight research and it only costs $29. You should also sign up for AirFareWatchDog to get notified by emails when prices fall and receive great crowdsourced flight deals.
12. Follow A Local Travel Deals Blog
My schedule is flexible and I can work from anywhere so sometimes I just fly somewhere on a whim to try something new. I use a local travel deals blog called YVR Deals and I’ll just fly somewhere that sounds interesting when they post an amazing travel deal. Try searching for your local airport code and deals or last minute deals and you might surprised at the travel deals you can find.
There you go, my flight hacking process that I use to find the best flight deals. Try it out for yourself and save a bundle of money on your next flight.