Autumn is officially here, and the season of holiday travel is fast approaching. If you’re thinking about booking a flight anytime you’ve soon, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve rounded up the best travel booking hacks to ensure your next trip is a smooth sail, err, flight. Read on to learn how to become your very own travel agent.
Visit an extra city. Traveling internationally and want to visit an extra city for free? Some airlines (namely Icelandair, Emirates, Japan Airlines, Singapore Air, FinnAir, Thai Airways, Air China, Etihad, Turkish Airlines, and a few others) allow adventurous travelers flying through their hub destination to hang out in that city at no extra charge. Hopper explains how to navigate this tricky hack.
One-way is the way to go. In the pre-Internet era, round-trip tickets were consistently more affordable, but that’s no longer the case. Often booking two one-way tickets will save you a pretty penny. Doing so will also allow you to not only find your preferred departure and arrival times, but also mix and match your airlines and airports, if that’s your preference.
Fly at off-peak hours. If you can sacrifice a few hours of shut-eye, and get to the airport for a flight between 5 and 7 a.m., or you’re willing to arrive at your destination late at night or early in the morning, flying after 8 p.m., you’re likely to get a more affordable flight.
Hack your way to regional pricing. It’s more expensive to book a flight within a foreign country from your home country, than to book the flight while you’re on the ground in that destination. For instance, booking a flight from a computer in Nicaragua will be cheaper than booking that same flight from the U.S.—you’re getting the tourist price and the cost of living may be lower in your destination. You can find different ticket prices by searching foreign sites (like Expedia.co.jp) or by changing your residence to the airline’s home country.
Book your flight 47 days before your trip. For years, people have said that Tuesday is the magic day to book, but new research conducted by CheapAir, based on a whopping 1.5 billion airfares, has found that buying a domestic ticket 47 days prior to takeoff is the way to get the cheapest price.
Fly on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays. If you’re willing to give up extra vacation days, or you’re one of those lucky people with flexible schedules, or even luckier who are retired, then fly on a Tuesday, Wednesday, or Saturday. Fridays and Sundays are the most popular days to fly, and thus the most expensive, and Thursdays come as a close second.
Avoid the middle seat. When searching for flights, you can see which plane flies the flights you’re considering. If, like most, you’re not a fan of the middle seat, look for flights on Boeing 767 planes—these have fewer middle seats. To get up-to-date seating charts of practically every flight out there, visit seatguru.com.
Fly international. We Americans think we’re lifestyle experts, but as it turns out, foreign carriers seem to have better amenities that their Yankee counterparts. Fly on a foreign-run airline and get comfortable with pillows, blankets, and just-hot-enough towels.
Have any other travel hacks to share? Tell us in the comments.