How To Book Cheap Flights – 10 Little Known Secrets

Last Updated 19 April 2020

I love the feeling of getting a good bargain, whether its a beefy discount or getting incredible value for money 🤑

Booking cheap flights is no different!

But, with the amount of flight search engines that exist these days, figuring out exactly how to book cheap flights online can start to get a bit overwhelming…

You can easily get sucked into spending more time looking for cheap flights than you will actually spend at your destination, and where’s the fun in that? While you will want to spend a bit of time on finding the best price, but at the end of the day – if you see a great deal, GRAB IT!

Don’t procrastinate.

But, how can you feel sure that you’re getting the best possible price for your flights without scouring the internet for weeks on end?

Well, my friend, you’re in luck! I’ve booked more cheap flights online than I can remember, and I’m happy to share my secrets with you!

Here are my tried and tested, little known secrets on how to book cheap flights!

10 secret tips on how to book cheap flights

PS – This post may contain affiliate links: That means that if you purchase through my link, I will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. Of course, I only recommend products/services that I have used and believe are great! Please read my disclosure for more info.


Be Flexible On Dates

Knowing how to book cheap flights by using the airline’s calendar view or flexible date option is one of the easiest tricks in the book. Simply leaving or coming home a couple of days earlier or later can save you a nice bit of money! Most likely you’ll find that flying mid-week is cheaper, with Fridays and Sundays being most expensive of all.

Many search engines will have a +/- 3 days option that you can tick, to give you a variety of prices so you can easily pick the cheapest option.

Other sites, like Skyscanner, even give you the option to compare flight prices across an entire month, or search for the cheapest month to your destination!

Skyscanner allows you to search for the cheapest flights by month


Be Flexible On Airports

Many cities have more than one airport. As an example, London has six! New York has three and Melbourne has four…

Flying to a slightly lesser-known (and usually smaller) airport a bit further out of town can work out a lot better when you want to book cheap flights.

Some search engines allow you to select “Nearby Airports” to see what other options you might have. Again, my favourite search engine is Skyscanner as it allows for great flexibility when searching to make sure you get the best possible deal on your flight.

Book cheaper flights by searching for nearby airports when booking

Or, even opting to fly to a nearby city instead of your desired destination and then making your way there by car or public transport could be a great option. This gives you the added bonus of seeing a bit more of the surrounding area at the same time!

Just make sure that the added travel from the airport to your actual destination doesn’t negate the savings you make when you book the cheap flight!

Book On The App

Sometimes, it can pay to compare prices online vs the booking App. Some search engines and airlines offer extra discounts simply by using their App rather than the website!

Side Note: Actually, this is also true for hotel bookings – accommodation sites like regularly have special mobile deals when you use their App.

Booking flights on the App can be cheaper than online


Book Flights & Hotel Together

This will mostly be the case with travel search engines, although many airlines do offer hotel bookings through their own websites nowadays too.

You can easily save a couple of hundred euro on the total price of your holiday if you book your flights and accommodation together! If you need somewhere to stay anyway, why not get it all done in one go?

Qatar airlines plane taking off


Sign Up For Loyalty Programs And Email Alerts

Let the computer do the hard work of finding cheap flights for you by signing up for airline loyalty programs and email alerts.

There are different options here but you could choose to be notified when a flight you’re interested in drops in price, or when there’s a sale on for a specific destination.

Signing up for newsletters can also be useful, as they might reach out with special discount codes or early deals. Often, these discount codes are only valid for a short time but it’s worth being signed up in case it coincides with you booking a trip!

Being part of an airline’s loyalty program often means that you’ll be the first to know of any special deals happening. And in addition, you can earn points on your bookings, which you can then use towards a cheaper flight in the future.

map of the world with passport and camera on top


Error Fares

With this one, you might want to be pretty open about where you end up going… But, there are companies out there like Holiday Pirates or Secret Flying that track error airfares (= cheap flights!) as well as general good holiday deals.

Follow them on social media or sign up for their emails and be prepared to book quickly!

Error fares rarely last long.

rolled up dollar bills


Return vs One-Way Tickets

Check various combinations of the same flights to get the best deal. For example, booking return with the same airline can be much cheaper than two one-way tickets.

But, sometimes booking two one way tickets with two different airlines can save you a bit of cash. Some travel search engines like eBookers (Orbitz in the US) will do this for you to make things a bit easier. 

I’d also recommend you then check directly with the airline on their own websites as you might get a better deal booking direct. 

Going one step further and booking your flights in portions could work out cheaper again.

For example, if you’re flying from the UK to Australia, rather than booking it in one ticket you could opt for a stop-over somewhere halfway.

By booking two single tickets (e.g. UK – Singapore and Singapore – Australia), you get a bonus stopover somewhere new and jet lag becomes a lot easier to deal with!

Note: If you don’t opt for a long stopover, bear in mind that booking your flight in portions means you will have to pick up your luggage and check in again at the halfway point. Make sure you give yourself plenty of time in case of any delays!

tips for booking cheap flights flexible dates


Cheaper isn’t always Cheaper…

Check the small print, especially when booking with budget airlines. (Although I’d suggest doing so in any case.) The price you see isn’t always the final price you get.

While it might not make a massive difference, it could still save you at least €20-30.

  • Look at what the airline’s luggage allowance is and whether you need to pay extra for a checked bag.
  • Are meals included or do you have to pay extra?
  • Can you select your seats for free in advance or is there a fee?
  • What about credit card fees? Some sites charge a few percent of your overall ticket price and this can soon add up! Often, it can be cheaper paying with a debit card rather than a credit card to save on transaction fees


man handing over a debit card


Have I missed anything?

What are your own secrets when it comes to booking cheap flights?

Let me know in the comments below!


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Secrets To Booking Cheap Flights

14 thoughts on “How To Book Cheap Flights – 10 Little Known Secrets”

  1. Thanks for all the tips!! I’ve been wanting to plan a trip for months now but the airfare is sooo expensive to the place I want to visit! I’m going to see if I can get a better deal using your suggestions. Thank you!

  2. Thank you for writing this. Iโ€™ve always wanted to go abroad but the price of everything puts me off sometimes. But this will definitely help me out. Iโ€™m a sucker for a bargain ๐Ÿ™‚

    • I hope this will help you to get abroad!! Travel doesn’t really have to be that expensive anymore these days. There’s bargains to be had everywhere ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. I thought I was a pretty savvy flight booker, but I had no idea about error fares, nor the sites used to track them. The Hopper app has been very useful in saving me a ton of money, especially on my last trip.

    • I know, error fares are actually quite new to me as well! And they can be hard to get because airlines normally realize pretty quickly that they made the error ๐Ÿ˜‰ Thanks for the tip on Hopper! I’ve heard of them but never used them – will definitely check it out!

  4. I love these tips, I always look on skyscanner to get an idea of price, then check direct with the airline. I also found out recently about booking through the expedia app, I book a lot through them.

    • Yeah, it’s a great idea to compare Skyscanner or similar search engines, to the price direct with the airline. Sometimes it’s worth paying a little bit extra to book direct, just because you (usually) get better service if you’ve bought with the airline itself. The Expedia app is great ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Such helpful tips! I’m currently looking for cheap prices to Denmark this summer, so I definitely needed to know these!

  6. Great tips! I always look for cheaper alternatives, I think it just makes so much more sense that way. Being flexible on dates makes a huge difference. When I book one of my flights, I asked what was the cheapest day to leave/return on. I ended up leaving on a Thursday and actually saved quite a bit of money doing so! Time of year makes a huge difference too!

    • You’re absolutely right, Janita! I figure if you can save money on the flights, it’s more money to spend while you’re at your destination so it’s a win-win ๐Ÿ™‚ Time of year definitely makes a big difference – we try to go in the shoulder season if we can since we’re not tied to school holidays and the like ๐Ÿ™‚


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