International plane tickets can really put a dent in your travel budget.
If you are not careful, you could end up spending two and three times beyond a reasonable price if you make a few critical mistakes when it comes to buying a ticket.
In this post, we will detail how to find cheap international plane tickets.
Many of the tactics will also work for domestic flights, but we will be writing a separate post on the topic.
1-Choose the right time to fly
Research your destination and find out when the low and high season is for tourists.
If your travel plans are flexible, consider visiting your destination in the low season when there will be less demand for flights and prices will be more competitive.
Also, the best days for flying are generally in the middle of the week.
If you can leave on a wednesday, you are more likely to find a cheaper ticket.
2-Use aggregate flight search engines to get started
Aggregate search engines are incredibly powerful because they factor in information from airlines themselves as well as from companies like orbitz and flights24.com.
A lot of people use Kayak for their flight searches and while we include it in the list of sites we use, we make sure to also consult the following aggregate engines as well.
Play around with the dates during your search and also consider setting up a fare alert (many of the above websites will let you create an email alert, whereby you will be sent periodic emails with updates to the cost of the lowest fare).
3-Look at individual airlines
After conducting your aggregate search, take note of which airlines service your desired route and which ones are cheapest.
Contact these airlines directly.
In some cases, you may be able to get a cheaper fare by dealing directly with the airline.
In any case, it is worth trying. When talking to the airline you can also ask them about possibly cheaper dates for travel.
4-Look at flying into a smaller airport
Some locations are accessible by as many as three airports.
In many cases, it is more expensive to fly into the larger airport, which often has larger operating costs.
If possible, fly into a smaller airport nearby.
You may have a slightly longer train or bus ride to get to the city center, but you will also pay less in airfare.
As an example of this, if you are flying to London, it will likely be more expensive to fly into Gatwick and Heathrow than it will be to fly to Stansted, a much smaller airport.
That said, you can’t always find flights that go to these smaller airports from your starting point.
5-Consider breaking up your flight
Another way to secure cheap airfare is by breaking up your flight into several pieces.
For example, if I am flying to Africa from the US, I might by one ticket to London and then a separate ticket from London to my destination.
I’ve had a lot of success doing this, because many airlines have limited routes.
If I buy a ticket that takes me from the US to Africa on one airline, it will probably be a ticket with a legacy carrier that doesn’t have many budget options.
One thing to keep in mind if you end up creating an itinerary like this: make sure you get travel insurance.
If you are delayed on one airline and miss a flight from a separate airline, there is no way to get your money back unless you purchased insurance.
6-Fly to a hub and then take a budget flight, train or bus
One final possibility to consider is flying to a hub and from there, take a budget flight, train or bus to reach your destination.
For example, if I am flying to Casablanca or Marrakech, Morocco, it might be cheaper for me to fly to Madrid and then take a budget flight from an airline like easyJet or Ryanair to complete my journey.
Alternately, I could take a combination of bus and ferry to get to Morocco from Spain that may also be cheaper than a direct flight to Morocco.
Obviously, these alternate travel plans depend on the amount of flexibility you have with your time and your itinerary.
Have any budget travel tips of your own? Let us know about them.