Everyone’s least favorite part of traveling is probably the most crucial: buying the tickets. Sometimes, you find a nonstop flight at the right price, but within a day or two, you check back to see that the fare has gone up. Or, you think you’ve managed to snag the most amazing deal on a flight, only to realize that three layovers and an overnight airport stay will mean you arrive at your destination 2 days later than you expected.
Many people just give up and take the easy route, but as any seasoned traveler knows, convenience doesn’t come cheap. If only there was a way to bypass all the headache and still nab that sweet flight deal, without making it into a full-time job. Fortunately, there already is someone out there who has made it his full-time job: Scott Keyes, founder of Scott’s Cheap Flights. He shares some tips for getting the right price on a great flight.
Firstly, flip the typical flight search process on its head by checking which destinations are offering cheap tickets and picking dates according to when they’re cheapest. “By doing that, rather than trying to pigeonhole the exact city and dates, you’re much more likely to get a deal,” says Keyes. He also says to ignore advertised fares, which he deems “pretty garbage”- prices are usually hiked up before they are discounted.
Planning ahead is a crucial element in getting great rates; last-minute airfare price drops are, in fact, the opposite of what actually happens, as airlines count on business travelers making last-minute bookings and hike the prices. Lastly, Keyes advises to ‘book first, think later’, and take full advantage of the 24-hour free cancellation window. As long as the booking is made at least one week prior to departure, you have 24 hours to cancel any flight to or from the U.S., penalty-free.