We asked the BuzzFeed Community for their best tips for booking flights on a budget. Here are their most useful responses.
1.Fly Southwest and get two free checked bags and the ability to cancel flights for credit.
“I only fly to cities Southwest flies to. They give you two free checked bags and ‘Wanna Get Away’ seats are the bee’s knees. They also offer credit on your account that lasts up to one year if you do need to cancel. I don’t think I’ve ever paid more than $250 for a round trip flight on southwest.”
It’s true. According to Southwest’s site at the time of publishing, “If you cancel your flight, 100% of your ticket can be applied to future travel for up to 12 months” for all three fare categories.
2.Book on Black Friday or Cyber Monday (November 29 and December 2, for this year).
“We book on Black Friday or Cyber Monday for our big annual vacation. There are deals on air travel, not just retail items. We flew five people round-trip from NYC to Amsterdam for less than $500 per person in 2018. This year, we were able to book a first-class trip from NYC to Paris for $3,000 total. $3,000 certainly isn’t cheap, but we’d never flown first class before and it was an opportunity we didn’t want to pass up.”
3.If you’re in Europe, use Omio to scan all modes of transport in one go.
“Booking closer to your trip is usually best. Don’t book 18 months out because not much will be sold, so everything will still sell at top price. But don’t wait too long! For flights less than a month away, prices start to rise.”
6.Use the Hopper app to scan flight prices on your phone, up to a year in advance.
“Fly *ON* holidays like Christmas and New Year’s Day for dirt cheap tickets. Tickets for flights that leave or arrive on a Wednesday or Thursday are generally cheaper too, because they’re the middle of the week.”
8.Save on baggage fees by packing capsule wardrobes.
“Be willing to take early, pre-sunrise morning flights, and search multiple airports.”
11.Fly out of large international airports, instead of local ones, even if it means driving a few extra hours.
“Fly out of the closest international airport. I’ve saved hundreds of dollars by just driving a few hours to the nearest big city and parking my car at a nearby hotel that offers free shuttles to the airport. Parking is usually free or at least super cheap. It’s kind of a hassle, but I do not live near any huge cities and this saves a TON!”
12.Pay with credit card points.
“Get a credit card that maximizes points earned on travel. Just make sure to pay your card off every month to ensure no interest is accrued. Personally, I got $900 towards travel on my last (international) flight from a sign-on bonus this year!”
Don’t have one? Check out this guide by The Points Guy to the best travel credit card for you. (Personally, I use Chase Sapphire and it’s gotten me two “free” domestic flights in the last 1.5 years I’ve had it!)
13.Speak up about any legitimate complaints, and get reimbursed with flight credit.
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“Advocate for yourself when something goes wrong on a flight, and the airline could potentially reimburse you with credit towards future tickets. Just be polite and don’t make things up. For instance, I once had to switch seats because the inflight entertainment system was broken on mine, and got a $100 credit from United. Also, every time I deal with a delay from Delta, if I call and complain they give me some sort of reimbursement or travel credit.”
14.If you’ll be traveling within Europe, book one-way tickets instead of round-trip flights.
“If you’re planning on traveling internationally, don’t book round-trip. You can find very affordable rates to travel around Europe (I’m talking $30-$50 to go from London to Paris, Paris to Rome, Rome to Barcelona) and then flying home from your final destination instead of spending a lot of money buying a pricier round-trip ticket.”
15.Jack’s Flight Club, Tui, and Thomas Cook are a few of the sites that are optimized for people living outside of the US.
“Jack’s Flight Club emails you deals on flights — anything from £60 trips to Italy and £200 trips to New York. Check out late bookings and last-minute deals through big name companies like Tui and Thomas Cook. If you can be flexible with your timing, you can save hundreds. I booked a 4-star resort in Mexico for £650 per person for a week — An amazing value!”
16.And if you’re a student, book through Student Universe.
“Student Universe is a great website for students. I flew to Europe twice using that website and it saved me a ton of money.”
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Some entries have been edited for length or clarity.
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