Booking a flight is a big deal, but there are a few things you should consider before you click 'buy' to make sure that you're getting the best deal.
1. Search from a private browser
Airline search engines rely on cookies to track visitor usage to their sites. They use that information to help drive their prices. If a search engine notices your specific IP Address continuously searching the same flight, they may just try to hike up the price. Searching from a private browser or disabling cookies will help deter this.
2. compare, compare, compare
Skyscanner, Kayak, Momondo, Google Flights, Airfare Watchdog, and Expedia Are all great search engines when it comes to looking for flights, but if they aren't cutting you a check, you don't owe a single one of them any brand loyalty. Use several sites, create reminders and price trackers and shop around before you make an expensive investment.
3. Book during the week
There are rumors that ticket prices often are at their lowest on Tuesday and skyrocket on the weekends. Well, I'm here to let you know the rumors are true. If you can, try and book your tickets towards the middle of the week as this is often when airline companies update their prices and you're likely to catch a deal. If you're flying internationally aim for a weekend departure. Domestically- Tuesday, Wednesday or Saturday.
4. be flexible with your dates
This isn't always an option, but if you're able to be a bit flexible by a few days then you're likely to see some big savings. Another tip, avoid traveling immediately before a holiday and consider traveling on the actual day.
5. consider a long layover
Non-stop flights are more expensive than connecting flights. Why? You're paying for the convenience. If you don't mind a long layover and the possibility of a little exploring (a vacation within your vacation) then go for that long layover.
6. consider a different city of departure
If you don't live near a major international hub and are considering a long flight, it might be worth investing in two separate roundtrip tickets. LAX is a great hub for flights to Asia; NYC is best for Europe; Dallas, Houston and Miami are great for gaining access to Central and South America. Buying a ticket to your final destination from one of those airports and booking a roundtrip from your city to the new city of departure may end up saving you some serious $$$.
7. Book early. Book late.
Booking airline tickets is a game of numbers and careful consideration. If you book to early, you risk overpaying. If you book too late, then you also risk overpaying. Airlines have an incentive to fill up their planes. They don't make money when seats go empty so knowing when to book when airlines are at their most eager to get customers is key.
Domestic flights are best booked 3 months to 30 days before departure
International tickets *depending on the country* are usually best booked between 6 months and 1 1/2 months before departure.
If you're trying to fly during peak times, then it's best to book at least 2 months before departure.