I’ve had a lot of people ask me how I’ve found cheap flights to fly around the world for a year. Since this is something I wondered myself before leaving on my trip, I decided to create a post (and tutorial video) to show you the secrets I learned to find cheap flights like a boss! Sometimes it’s not that easy and you actually have to work at it while other times great deals can just fall into your lap.
There are many different factors that finding cheap flights depend on, but there are some hacks that can help you for the future!
Honestly, the craziest part about traveling the world for a year is that I spent FAR less money than what I would have if I had stayed home for one year and a lot of this was due to finding cheap flights. If you need any motivation to travel, that might be it.
So, how do I find cheap flights? Here’s how it’s done!
Here Are My 11 Secrets to Finding Cheap Flights
1. Use Discounted Airline Sites.
2. Use Credit Cards & Follow the Points and Miles Gurus
3. Keep Your Searches Private
4. Set Up Alerts and Flight Hacker Emails
5. Fly Into Larger Airports
This tip is hit or miss, but if you want to fly the cheapest way possible then you’ll usually want to fly in or out of a larger airport. Smaller airports always cost more money because the smaller flights have to connect into them. So, when booking flights (if you can) try booking into the larger hubs and taking some sort of ground transportation to your destination. Sometimes taking ground transfers can actually cost more though, so make sure it costs less than just taking that extra flight.
6. Be Flexible
This is the key to getting the cheapest flights possible. If you’re flexible on dates, locations, and times then you’re good to go. I realize most people don’t have this much flexibility in their schedule, but just know if your destination or departure location is flexible and you can leave on a random day during the week instead of a Friday night, your flights will probably be cheaper!
7. Book Your Flights on a Monday – Wednesday
Airlines won’t necessarily confirm this, but the best flight deals are hands down on these 3 days. I’m not saying you can’t find them on other days (you definitely can), but in my experience, the cheapest time to buy is on these three days. I’ve done a few tests and flights typically wll go up on Thursday and over the weekend.
8. Don’t Always Take Direct Flights.
It helps to be flexible when flying, but this one is sometimes worthwhile. Let’s say you find a flight direct to NYC, but then you find a one-leg flight to Denver with an even cheaper flight to NYC than the direct. If you can be flexible and have the time, flying a few legs per flight can sometimes be cheaper than just booking the direct flight. Sometimes this is worth it and sometimes it’s not. I found a direct flight from Berlin to Athens, but found out there was a stop in Kiev (totally out of the way). It meant my flight was cheaper and I saved over $200 that way. If you have the time and think it’s worth it then try it!
9. Look Last Minute
If you’re flexible, then it will help to look last minute for flights because airlines will want to fill up their aircrafts and will typically lower their prices if they have a lot of spots left. I don’t recommend waiting until the last minute all the time, but if you ‘wanna getaway’ to a random spot, this is a good idea to use one of the searches to “anywhere” on the flight sites (like I did here) to find the cheapest deals.
10. Book Ahead, But Not Too Far Ahead
Yes, I know I just said to look last minute, but booking ahead of time is also a good idea. I typically recommend looking 6-8 weeks before your flight OR 3-ish months if you’re booking in high season to a popular destination.
11. Sign Up for Frequent Flyer Miles Programs
First of all, I recommend becoming an awards member on all airlines you fly on. While I was working full time and traveling a lot I would sign up for an airline’s frequent flyer program whenever I took my first flight with them. I currently have a number for all of the airlines that I’ve flown in the USA and abroad and continuously make sure they are updated each time I take a domestic flight. If you don’t fly that much yet, that’s okay, just start signing up when you fly with those airlines. These mileage points add up and can usually be combined with credit card points to get you great deals!
Try Booking a Flight Now on Skyscanner!
I know there are a lot of you out there with more great flight hacking tips! What did I miss? Any other great advice?
How I Saved $35K to Travel the World
100 Things I Learned and Experienced from 1 Year of Travel
21 Awkward AF Things That Happen When You Get Back From Traveling Long-Term
10 Travel Tips to Help You Plan a Kickass Vacay
FAQ: How I Quit My Job to Travel for a Year9 Painless Ways to Make Friends While Traveling Solo