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People tell me all the time they wish they could travel more but it’s too expensive – especially airfare. For anyone living in the US and wanting to leave the Western Hemisphere it can seem really daunting. But, the reality is there are amazing airfare deals to be found. Today, the price of tickets is steadily falling. When we moved to Morocco our ticket cost nearly double what it does today. This is good news for consumers! If travel feels out of reach even with good prices, what if you could slash them even further? Look no further.
How to Score Great Airfare Deals
Here are some of my secrets that have gotten me some good deals already. I will share with you examples whenever possible.
Before you start searching for great deals you need to know what is a good deal. Spend some time understanding what the normal or average price is for the flight you’re looking for. If a flight from New York to London is regularly $700, a $680 fare is really not that special – but a $400 flight may be.
Regional Budget Airlines
Do you know how many people (primarily Americans) come to Morocco after visiting Europe and tell me their tickets were $300+? I am almost always shocked by this. In much of the world outside the US there are these lovely things called budget airlines – and they truly are BUDGET. The last time we went to Seville? A round-trip Ryanair flight totaled $50 per person round trip. We use Ryanair and Easyjet all the time. But, there are countless others. Do some research and see which budget airlines service your destinations. Many times these prices don’t show up on sites like Orbitz so you’ll need to go directly to their websites to find pricing and time tables.
I really don’t want to tell you about this website because it’s a veritable gold mine of budget flights and I don’t want to compete with more people! (Just kidding). This is an amazing Facebook page and website if you’re a dedicated traveler with a lot of flexibility. They publish error fares as well as just really cheap flight prices. There’s limited dates and some finagling needed at times but when it works. It works. My example? I got tickets for K and I to go to Kenya this fall from Milan (using $40RT tickets from Marrakech to Milan) for….$340 roundtrip. Look them up on Facebook or follow their website.
Use Multiple Search Engines
We all have a favorite website to use when booking tickets, but it can be amazing to see the difference in prices if you search among multiple sites.
- Google Flights – Imagine having the power of travel agent in your pocket – but maybe even better. There are a ton of hacks to make Google Flights work for you
- Skyscanner – If you’re wavering between different destinations Skyscanner let’s you have multiple tabs open so you can flip between different options without having to close the window and start over.
- Airfarewatchdog – This is a good option if you’re flying in the US or from the US. Follow them on Twitter for regularly updated fares.
- Kayak – This is my go to website for searching for fares from Morocco. Many of the flights from Marrakech are on discount carriers and Kayak includes them in the search. The only downside is often the cheapest price are on aggregate websites that aren’t well known. I often hesitate to book these. If you would rather search by budget instead of destination you can do this too using their explore option.
- Momondo – This is another good website for searching. Along with Kayak this is a go-to website for me. They too include discount airlines.
- Priceline – They made their name with the “Name Your Own Price” option. It is still possible to score a good deal if you’re highly flexible and open to flights at times that are less than ideal (think red eyes and early mornings).
Airfare Apps and Deal Sites
I am not one to use a lot of apps. I have my favorites and stick to them. There are dozens of apps in the marketplace today that are devised to help you find great deals. Hopper is one of my recent favorites. Punch in the airport you fly from and it will give you destinations with good prices. If you’ve got a specific route in mind you can log it and Hopper will keep track of prices and let you know when there’s a deal. Skiplagged finds whatever loopholes or inefficiencies that might exist and give the best prices possible. Clever Layover is another website worth checking out. Sometimes you can save a huge amount of money if you include a layover. Instead of searching the different legs of the flight, this website does that for you. It’s also a great way to see another city for cheap!
Adjust Your Dates
It goes without saying the more flexible you are with dates and times the better prices you’re likely to find. Sometimes just a day difference can mean huge savings. You’ll want to weigh this with the additional cost of another night’s hotel stay. I have the best luck with this when I’m flying with the whole family. For example we were able to change our dates on a flight to the US by 1 day and save nearly $100 per ticket. A hotel for that night? I easily found a good one for under $80. A net savings of $320.
Frequent Flyer Programs
This is a long range savings. You won’t save immediately but you can in the long term. Get a frequent flyer card for you and all of your ticketed family members for every airline you fly and pay attention to partner airlines. I often fly American Airlines and their partner lines and had a lot of miles accumulated that were going to expire soon (yes they do expire). I could have used them to book a hotel room which was my first idea. Instead I looked into a flight to visit my best friend in Arizona. Naturally I looked at a coach ticket assuming it would be fewer points. Wrong. I ended up saving 5,000 miles by booking a rewards ticket in first class. Yes it will take longer to save up points but when you cash them in for a full ticket or an upgrade it’s a huge savings. Next summer we’ll have enough miles to all fly to the US for our summer holiday just on points.
Search in a private browser — this can help you save money if you go back to look at a flight after you’ve abandoned the page. Many sites will increase the ticket slightly if you abandon the page and come back to purchase. If you have a VPN you an also try changing the location of the server to see how it affects the price.
Fly during the week
If you can, try to book flights during the week, Tuesdays and Wednesdays tend to be the slower days but this can vary depending on location. The demand is less during the week meaning airlines try to fill the seats by offering lower prices.
Set alerts and keep a watch
When I start planning a trip I start by setting fare alerts for the cities and dates I am looking to fly. Every morning I get an email alert if the price has changed. These emails are golden. My mom and step-dad were looking for tickets the first year we lived in Morocco and I had set up alerts for their tickets – this was when prices were still sky high. One morning I got an alert for tickets at $620 a piece – a 50% savings from where tickets were at the time. They booked then and there.
BONUS: You MUST book the ticket as soon as you see a great fare. It will go away and you will be left kicking yourself for not acting on it. Be prepared and book, book book!
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