Although a staggering 96 percent of American workers say vacation time is important to them, there are still countless U.S. residents who forgo booking cheap international flights and end the year with too many unused vacation days. Not only are those workers leaving money on the table, they are also missing out on the opportunity to travel the world. But when you finally take advantage of all the fantastic, cheap flights available and travel to an international destination, you’re probably going to need some assistance to make sure your trip is the best it can possibly be.
If you want to avoid those newbie traveler mistakes, our four-part series will quickly become your go-to reference. In today’s post, we’ll be discussing some tips and hacks for booking cheap flights to your destination of choice. In parts two, three, and four, we’ll be talking about packing your bags and preparing for your trip, flying health and comfort, and how to get the most out of your trip once you arrive at your destination.
How to Find Cheap Flights to Barcelona, Paris, London, and Beyond
- Know when to buy: When you want to find a cheap flight, you’ll need to use the right tools, like comparison sites. But you may be able to save even more just by booking on a certain day or at specific times of the year. If you’re able to travel during non-peak seasons, that’s always a plus. Some people have found that booking on a Monday or Tuesday night around midnight or on Thursdays will save you a bit of money, while booking on a Friday at 3 a.m. will cost you. If you can depart on a Wednesday (rather than a Sunday) and return on a Tuesday (rather than a Wednesday), you could save more than $100 when flying internationally. It’s not a hard-and-fast rule, but time and day can make a difference.
- Look for seasonal discounts: While Americans are celebrating a White Christmas, Australians are heading to the beach. Likewise, many U.S. snowbirds flock to the Caribbean during January and February, and as a result the summer season is actually slower in many Caribbean islands. Every tourist destination has its own peak season, so do some research about the busiest times of year at your destination of choice. If finding cheaper tickets is important to you, try and plan your trip around these peak travel times.
- Set up price alerts: It’s always a good idea to start planning your trip well in advance, particularly because it gives you time to scope out prices. When trying to book cheap flights, price alerts will become your best friend. Note that buying tickets too far in advance may end up costing you more than necessary. Set up a price alert for your destination and time you’ll be traveling to make sure you’re up-to-date on any price changes. That way, you can jump right on it and book when the price is right.
- Choose the right seat: When you travel domestically, your choice of seat might not make a huge difference. Unless you’re traveling across the country, you may not care too much whether you have an aisle or a window seat. But on a longer international flight, your seat matters! Many airlines allow you to choose your seat in advance (sometimes, for an upgrade). It’s usually worth it to do so. Be sure to look for a seating map to get a closer look at your flight and choice of seat when making your choice. Consider outlet access, reclining abilities, bathroom proximity, and leg room. You can even find seat reviews online, which can come in very handy before you book.
Now that you know how to save on your airline tickets, you’ll be able to start packing and preparing for your trip. In the next three parts of this series, we’ll discuss some ways to make your first international trip truly special.
Already know where you want to go? We can help you find affordable options to get you there. But be sure to stay tuned for the other parts of this series so you’ll feel prepared when you arrive!