Travel writer Ben Schlappig, better known as Lucky, traveled up to 300,000 miles a year and visited more than 30 countries—while still in college. Lawyer Kim Bouck recently flew her family of four to Disneyland for free. From young adults like Lucky to seasoned pros like Bouck, travelers around the globe are cashing in on free and cheap flights. The blogging and Internet world is rich with tips and tricks to get the best boarding bang for your buck.
Bouck, who teaches a class in Salt Lake City, Utah, about traveling on a budget, says that it’s worth it to do a little work to find the best travel deals.
“For most people, flying is the biggest expense of a trip,” Bouck says. “If you can eliminate that expense, you can save a lot of money and be able to do things on your trip you would never be able to do otherwise.”
Bouck’s simple tricks for finding cheap flights will help any traveler be free, free flying.
8 Tricks for Finding the Cheapest Flights
1. Book on a Monday or Tuesday.
The best time to book a flight is late Monday or early Tuesday. Airlines often start fare sales on Sunday night or Monday morning, and other carriers generally match the fare sale by Monday evening or Tuesday morning, giving you more choices.
2. Fly on a Wednesday.
Wednesdays are generally the cheapest day to fly. Tuesdays and Saturdays are also good days to fly because airlines are trying to fill seats when demand is low.
3. Know when fares change.
Airlines share fares with websites and travel agents at 10 am, 12:30 pm, and 8 pm (EST) on weekdays and at 5 pm (EST) on weekends. So when you see a fare at these times at a price you’re looking for, grab it.
4. Buy your tickets early.
Fares start to rise again seven to ten days before a flight, depending on the airline and the sale offer. Airlines raise fares closer to the departure date because business travelers and others who must fly at certain times tend to buy last-minute seats.
5. Buy from the airline website.
For an airline ticket alone, your best bet is an individual airline’s website because you’ll skip the extra fees some travel websites charge.
6. Bundle online.
7. Buy flights with connections.
Learn to love layovers in Atlanta, St. Louis, Detroit, Chicago O’Hare, and other hub airports where you can connect to your final destination. Nonstop flights are convenient and desirable, and thus more expensive.