Much have been said about tips and hacks you need to know to find cheap flights to your next dream travel destination. There are hundreds or even thousand write-up for things you need to remember while loading up numerous search engines on your browser. Most of the articles share their 10 or maybe even 20 tips or reminders to do to help you find cheap flights. While all of them are really helpful, I feel that it all boils down to how you actually plan your itinerary.
I have been travelling for quite sometime now and I DIY all my itineraries, from flights, to accommodations, to activities. I do the same thing you’re doing now. I load up all the flight search engines websites in different browsers, signed up for latest deals, target my travel dates to fall on a Tuesday or Thursday. Nothing new to it actually.
One Essential Tip : Be flexible
But amid all these things that every traveller do to find cheap flights, there’s one thing that’s forgotten or missed doing. It’s all about being flexible.
Yep, being flexible. With everything. Be flexible about your travel dates, be flexible about flying into cheaper cities that’s near your destination. Be flexible about considering other options of travelling by train, by ferry or by bus.
Think about this. Search for a direct flight to Chiang Mai, Thailand and compare the flight price with flying into Bangkok, Thailand. Then add to that the ticket price of taking the sleeper train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai. I have just planned for my Chiang Mai itinerary, and flying to Bangkok is way cheaper than direct flight to Chiang Mai. About $200.00 cheaper. My sleeper train ticket price costs $48.00. I saved $152.00 for flights. Imagine what that amount of money can buy you in Chiang Mai.
Oh did I mention that the sunrise view while the train is nearing Chiang Mai is priceless?
By being flexible with your travel plans, you can opt to arrive or fly into a cheaper destination. From Manila where I usually travel from, flying into Paris CDG is way cheaper than by flying directly into Berlin, Germany. About $400.00 cheaper. Even if I travel via train from Paris to Berlin, I still save some money that I can use for accommodations and treat myself to a decent dinner complete with wine and a slice of strawberry cheesecake on my last night in Paris.
Try to pin down your travel dates and plans as early as possible so you can take advantage of advance booking rates. And choosing to fly during off-peak season makes a big difference too. I usually plan for Europe travel after the summer season, during the last quarter of the year. There are so many cons to this, less crowds, cheap flights, cheap accommodations, autumn colors and cooler weather. Beat that!
Over to you
When getting down to business to find cheap flights, you can include the following to your search options:
- Be flexible on how you plan to arrive at a destination. So when searching for flights, include searching for other cities too within that country. In most cases, countries often have more than 1 international airports. So try to check prices for other airports too. Check whether direct flights or flights with connections to domestic airports saves you more money. Include budget airlines in your options too.
- Be flexible with your travel dates. Most airlines offer cheap flights during the off-peak season. As I have mentioned above, when I travelled to Europe during September to December.
- Be flexible with the tours and activities that you want to join. Maybe you can do the museum tour in autumn or right after winter?
- Find cheap flights for your dream destination and work your itinerary around these cheap flight dates? That’s where I mostly start to plan my itinerary.
Must Read: Mastering the Art of Itinerary Planning
Here’s an article from NomadicMatt.com for more ways on how to score that cheap flight. He, too points out that being flexible with your travel plans is the top most tip that can help you find cheap flights. So when trying to search for cheap flights for your next dream trip, try to be flexible as much as possible in every way. Be flexible with your travel dates, with your itinerary and with your planned activities. You just might end up with more extra money for souvenir shopping or for staying an extra day!
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