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8 Ways to Score a Cheap Flight

Author: Jacob Jackson

It's no secret that air travel can get expensive. Even though fuel prices are at some of the lowest levels they have been at in years; this has not been reflected in the cost of flights. There have always been tips floating around with ways to find the cheapest airfare. For example, booking at a certain time, on a certain day of the week or using a flight comparison website.

We decided to dig deeper and put together a list of ways to score a cheap flight and went straight to the travel experts themselves. Here are eight of the best ways to book a flight for less.

Get Rid of the Cookies

Almost every airline and travel booking website uses cookies to know what their visitors are interested in. If you have ever been looking for a flight on a travel website, there is a good chance you received an email afterwards trying to get you to come back and buy that flight or hotel. The reason those companies were able to do that is because of cookies.

So the next time you are searching for flights make sure you clear the cookies on your browser before you do a second search. If not, there is a good chance the price might continue to increase since they now know what you are looking to buy.

Be Flexible

Amanda Abella, a personal finance writer and savings advisor with Money Saving Pro, says the key to inexpensive travel is to be as flexible as possible. It might not always be the best choice to travel from Saturday to Saturday— the cheapest flights of the week might come on a Wednesday. If you really want to get the best deal make sure you are open to leaving any day of the week.

The same goes for the time of the day. Not many people want to be up and headed to the airport at 4 a.m. Because of that flights are going to be cheaper early in the morning than if you were trying to book an 11 a.m. flight.

Lastly, keep your mind open to the time of year that you are going to travel. Wherever you are planning to travel, look at see when its peak season is. Then plan your trip just outside that in the shoulder season. This is the time of year right before it starts to get busy or right after the crowds have started to fade for the year. Not only are flights much cheaper, but hotel prices will go down considerably as well.

Use Google Flights

When looking to book a flight, particularly if you don't have any real restrictions on days that you fly, then an excellent tool to use is Google Flights. You can enter your departure and arrival cities and the date that you would like to travel. It will then show you a calendar view where you will be able to see the cheapest flights over the month period.

Google Flights also has a feature where you can explore destinations. This essentially allows you to pick a starting point and then look within a region to see what flights would cost to different cities. This can be very valuable if you are traveling without any restrictions.

Look Beyond Just Going from Point A to B

We would all love to be able to fly nonstop to our destination, but let's face it that doesn't happen very often. It also tends to be quite a bit more expensive to fly nonstop. When you are looking to book a flight, don't just search for the quickest way to get someplace. It probably isn't going to be the cheapest. Instead, look at all the different routes that you could take to get from point A to point B.

There is a new travel website available called, TripDelta.com, co-founded by travel enthusiast Nikolas Langes. Trip Delta uses a special algorithm to find up to 500 more flight combinations compared to other travel websites. They look at routes that might use multiple carriers or even multiple airports to get you to your final destination. The result is they could save you as much as 80% on your flight.

Take Advantage of Positioning Flights

Every day, you can find flight deals that pop up to places all over the world. The only problem is that a lot of them may be from a city you don't live close to. However, don't discard these deals because they could still be very valuable to you.

This is where positioning flights will come into the picture. Positioning flights will take you from your home airport to the location where a flight deal is originating. Let's assume that there is a great fare from Los Angeles to Hong Kong. It's a price that you can't pass up, but you live in Denver. You would take a positioning flight, preferably using airline miles, to be able to take advantage of this deal. The cost of the flight deal and the positioning flight would need to be less than what a flight from Denver to Hong Kong would cost.

Sign-up for Flight Alerts

Unless you have a lot of extra time on your hands, it's near impossible to find all of the different flight deals that come available. To help solve this problem, you can sign up for fare alerts. There are websites like The Flight Deal or Airfare Watchdog that will search for the deals so that you don't need to.

With Airfare Watchdog, you can set up email alerts on flights from a city that you want to depart from or even deals that could take you to a specific location but might originate anywhere in the United States. This is a pretty handy way to get a great deal, and not put in all the time finding it.

The Hopper App

Some of the best flight deals come when you don't have restrictions on the days you can travel. However, for some people, this isn't an option, and they need to take their vacations on specific days. Kelly Lack, content and community lead, for the travel app, The Spot recommends using a new app called The Hopper.

If you have set travel dates in mind, you can tell The Hopper, and they will track price fluctuations. Then when prices have reached a bottom, they will send you a notification that it's time to make your purchase.

Take Advantage of Travel Reward Cards

Credit card issuers have become extremely generous over the past several years. Many of them offer travel rewards credit cards that have a high enough sign-up bonus that you can travel to much of the world for nearly nothing.

Before you sign up for a credit card, make sure you know where you are hoping to travel. Then you can strategically pick out the card that works best for you.

The Bottom Line

While air travel might seem expensive even with lower oil prices, it doesn't need to be. If you follow a few of these simple tricks, you can be taking your next trip for much less.

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