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Cheap flights: 10 tips to save on your next trip

Looking for cheap flights and the best deals for your next adventure? The world of cheap flights is not a myth; there are some tips and techniques that allow you to optimize flights, such as skiplagging.

Often, finding cheap flights is the catalyst for starting to plan a trip. Over the years, we have recorded all the flights we have taken, and the truth is that we have flown over half a million kilometers, which would be enough to go to the moon one and a half times. So, we have researched many flights and never stopped learning.

We always aim to optimize the budget, and finding cheap flights is not always an easy task. US News recommends that to find cheap flights, we should start by ignoring common myths about when and where to book flights. Instead, the advice is to begin by exploring options, comparing, being flexible, and mastering the available tools.

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How to search and find cheap flights?

Let’s explore and share the most effective strategies we have learned and explored over the years to help us discover cheap and affordable flights for our adventures.

Picture of a China Eastern Airlines airplane. Explore the best tips to find cheap flights.

Exploring skiplagging

We start with a strategy that can revolutionize the travel experience. Skiplagging, also known as Airline booking ploys, involves booking cheap flights with connections that actually represent the final destination of the trip. While this approach may be controversial and not endorsed by all airlines, in some cases, it can result in cheaper fares. Recently, on a Miami – Lisbon flight, booking Miami – Lisbon – Paris would allow to save about €150 per person.

However, it is crucial to be aware and research airline policies, as skiplagging may have legal implications and, in some situations, booking round-trip flights with this technique may lead to the automatic cancellation of the return flight by the airline. United Airlines, for example, states in its policies that the practice of skiplagging constitutes a violation that may result in ticket cancellation or even a ban from flying on the airline’s next flight.

Traveling with minimal luggage

Over the years, we have increasingly adopted this advice. The dynamics of the aviation market often result in the base price of the airplane ticket being low, but then baggage fees significantly increase the total cost. Thus, traveling with less luggage can allow you to find better prices. Additionally, after checking the final price of the option that initially seemed to be the most economical, it is advisable to explore other options in the aggregator until that value, as those options may include baggage and end up being more advantageous.

Avoiding additional costs

It’s common for cheap flights to incur hidden extra costs. We’ve already talked about baggage fees, but many airlines also charge for priority boarding or seat reservations. Additionally, in cities with multiple airports, flying to certain destinations may initially seem cheaper, but transportation costs to the city center can be higher. Therefore, be sure to compare all options to your final destination.

Flexibility is key

When planning your trip, it’s crucial to consider flexibility, especially as seasonality can influence travel prices. Being able to adjust travel dates by a few days can make a big difference in ticket prices. Use flight search tools that allow you to view prices on a calendar to find the lowest fares.

Mastering the tools

Flight comparison websites and apps are our best friends in fare research. These platforms allow you to compare prices from various airlines and find the best deals in real-time. When comparing different flight comparison tools and booking platforms, it’s essential to consider factors like user interface, search flexibility, price accuracy, and additional features.

Platforms like Skyscanner offer a user-friendly interface with comprehensive search options, including flexible date searches and the ability to compare prices between multiple airlines and booking sites. Google Flights stands out for its intuitive design and powerful search capabilities, including the ability to track price changes and receive notifications. Meanwhile, Kayak offers a robust set of features, including price forecasting and exploring alternative airports. On the other hand, Momondo is known for its transparency in displaying fees and hidden taxes.

Our preferred platform is Skyscanner because it has all the features and typically presents the best prices. Regarding the purchasing process, aggregators typically present multiple options and prices for the same flight.

In our opinion and experience, the best option is to buy from the airline since, in case of changes or cancellations, it is always easier to resolve. If during the search, the price is very different, it is essential to ensure understanding of the booking terms and conditions. In recent years, we have also used FlightConnections extensively, which visually allows exploring connections and understanding which airlines operate on chosen routes and on which days.

Activating price alerts

There’s nothing worse than booking an airfare and then discovering the price dropped shortly after. Avoid that nightmare by signing up for price alerts. Many booking sites, like Skyscanner, offer this functionality, sending notifications when flight prices to your desired destinations drop. There are also some specialized apps for this purpose that we’ve tested, but we didn’t feel any difference in terms of results compared to Skyscanner, so we prefer to stick to one tool for searching and booking flights.

Considering flights with layovers

Direct flights may be convenient, but they’re not always the most economical. Being open to flights with layovers is important for finding cheap flights, as they often offer more affordable fares. Additionally, a layover can provide the opportunity to quickly explore a new city, adding an extra layer of adventure to the trip.

For example, during our layovers in Madrid, we were able to explore the city for a day, and during a layover in Hong Kong, we enjoyed two extra nights without affecting the flight price.

Skyline in Hong Kong, one of the stopover options when searching for cheap flights.

Many airlines offer stopover programs. In flight aggregators like Skyscanner, often the most convenient flights are recommended, but they’re not always the cheapest. Therefore, it’s important to change the sorting of the results to compare and access more options.

Taking advantage of loyalty programs, promotions, and special offers

Stay alert for promotions and special offers from airlines and travel agencies as they can be an excellent way to save money. Often, these promotions are advertised in newsletters or on the companies’ social media. Following the pages of airlines and travel agencies can be an effective way to stay up-to-date on the latest offers. Additionally, consider maximizing airline loyalty programs, which may offer additional benefits and exclusive discounts. There are also specialized groups on social media dedicated to finding promotions or fare errors, which can open up opportunities to explore new destinations at lower prices.

Being strategic with booking

Experts recommend that to find cheap flights, we should book in advance, but there are also specific times that can offer lower fares. Try to book your tickets at least a few weeks in advance, but avoid booking too early or too late when prices tend to be higher.

Avoiding impulse purchases

During the purchasing process of most flights, complementary services such as transportation booking, accommodation, activities, car rental, or travel insurance are often offered. Before making these selections, compare with other options to ensure you get the best deal for the best price.


What is skiplagging and how does it work?

Skiplagging is a flight booking technique where you book a trip with connections, and the final destination is actually one of the connections. For example, if you want to go from Lisbon to Porto, you can book a flight from Lisbon to Faro with a layover in Porto and simply exit the airport in Porto instead of taking the second flight to Faro. This practice can result in lower fares, but it’s important to be aware of the airlines’ policies regarding this strategy.

What are the benefits of traveling light?

Traveling with minimal luggage allows you to avoid additional baggage fees and makes the journey more convenient since there are fewer items to carry and keep track of during the trip. Additionally, it enhances mobility and can streamline the check-in and check-out processes at airports.

What are the main additional costs related to flights?

The main additional costs related to flights include baggage fees, priority boarding, seat reservations, transportation costs from the airport to the city center, among others. It’s important to consider these costs when planning a trip to avoid unpleasant surprises.

Why is it important to maintain flexibility to find cheap flights?

Keeping flexibility in travel dates can be crucial for finding cheap flights, as it allows you to take advantage of lower fares on less popular days of the week. Additionally, it can enable booking last-minute flights, which are sometimes more affordable.

What are the best tools to search for flights and compare prices?

The best tools for researching flights and comparing prices include flight comparison websites and apps like Skyscanner, Google Flights, and Momondo. These platforms allow you to compare prices from various airlines and find the best deals in real-time.

What day of the week are flights cheapest?

Flights tend to be cheaper during the week, especially on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Avoiding traveling on weekends can result in more affordable fares due to lower demand from passengers. However, it’s important not to be stuck on this idea so you can compare.

How far in advance are flights cheaper?

Flights are typically cheaper when booked in advance, especially between three weeks and three months before the departure date. However, prices can vary depending on the time of year, destination, and other factors, so it’s important to monitor prices in advance to take advantage of the best deals.

How can I access a stopover program?

To access a stopover program, typically offered by airlines, you simply need to select the option for a prolonged stop during the flight booking process. Some airlines have specific programs that allow passengers to make a free stop in certain cities for a set period of time, which can be a great opportunity to explore new destinations at no additional cost.

To conclude, exploring the world of cheap flights is more than just finding affordable fares; it’s a journey of learning and strategy. By applying techniques like skiplagging, traveling with minimal luggage, and avoiding additional costs, we can maximize the value of our trips. Furthermore, maintaining flexibility, mastering flight comparison tools, and taking advantage of price alerts are essential steps to ensure we don’t miss any savings opportunities.

Considering flights with layovers, keeping an eye out for promotions and special offers, and being strategic with booking are additional practices that can make all the difference in finding cheap flights. Avoiding impulse purchases and ensuring we make informed decisions at every stage of the booking process are crucial to ensuring we get the best value for our money. With these tips in mind, we’re ready to embark on exciting adventures without compromising our budget. May our next travels be filled with discoveries and unforgettable experiences.

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