HOW TO FIND CHEAP FLIGHTS: HOW I DO IT

Updated March 2024

Cheapest flights are not simple to find after the pandemic. But you still can go on a holiday without breaking your bank account if you thoroughly search the internet for affordable flights. If I can do it, you can do it too, it just takes some time and patience.

We all love traveling but it sounds costly when it comes to flying. I understand some individuals can’t afford an airline ticket and just take the car for a holiday. There’s nothing wrong with going on a road trip but since the price inflation of gasoline driving to your desired destination isn’t cheap at all. Think about the time you spend on the road, the liters of petrol you use and the toll fees; I loved this kind of holiday before, especially if you live in Europe, but it isn’t my thing anymore.

Subscribe to an airline to receive their promotional fares

Signing up for airline membership is free! You only need a valid email address where they sent you their promo fares. Moreover, you can save miles. The more you fly with them, the more mileage you save. This is not valid for budget airlines in Europe.

I have saved some miles, which allows me to shop online duty-free or book free flights. But the disadvantage of a complimentary flight is the tax cost more than the ticket, which is insane. I used my mileage on the seat upgrade… too bad I haven’t got enough miles for business class, LOL.

The drawback of saved mileage is that they were only valid for three years. As I don’t want my mileage to disappear I used it for online shopping. Turkish Airlines, Etihad Airways, KLM, and Singapore Airlines have beautiful articles on their website. Some of their items need more miles than what you saved. If you pay extra for things you like, it is still worth it, you have at least from your saving miles.

Plan a trip and choose a destination

Museum of Islamic Art in Doha

Before booking a flight you should have a destination. Although I have been to more than a hundred countries, I still have a list of places to visit. I started searching for tickets 11 months in advance. Depending on destinations at this stage, some airlines don’t display their prices yet. Don’t lose hope wait for a few weeks and search again.

Also, flexibility plays a huge role. On the airline website, you see when the best day to fly. And that can immensely save a hole in your wallet, but it all depends on where you fly to. Sometimes it is cheaper to fly during the weekend than on weekdays. That said, every airline is different, so comparing prices can be a big help, and as mentioned earlier, you have a lot of work to do. A last minute can sometimes be cheap, but you must be fast. The best outcome for me is to plan my trip.

Some say don’t book too far in advance because it is expensive or book your ticket on Tuesday or Wednesday because these are fare error days. That’s a myth! I have tried all that, and it doesn’t work. The practical part is planning a trip, choosing a destination, and then booking the flight. I mostly book during the weekend as I have more time.

Advantages and disadvantages of booking far in advance

The disadvantage of early booking is that your flight may be changed or canceled. It happened a couple of times that my flight was canceled and I had to find a ticket just a month before my trip.

This trick can happen from budget airlines, the worst experience I had was with Sky Express. My flight to Cyprus was canceled, they want me to rebook my ticket, but rather get my refund than rebook for double the price.

Read my other blog: Canceling a trip will you get a full refund?

Moreover, when booking a ticket online make sure that everything is correct with your personal information. Because to change or even one letter is missing, it will cost you 200-250 euros for regular airlines and 100-150 euros for budget airlines. That’s why I’d like to book my flight when I have plenty of time better to be safe than sorry later.

Search engine Booking websites

There are many search engines to check for flights. These were just a few of the list: Expedia, Kayak, Opodo, Skyscanner, and Momondo. I also like checking prices on Google flights. I download the Skyscanner app on my phone fill in my destination and departure dates and save them. This way, I received a notification when the price goes up or down.

It’s a piece of cake, I suggest booking a ticket on the computer. When you are on Skyscanner or whatever site you used type your destination and departure dates, it shows the lowest tariff. Beware, the low-price you see is sometimes a combination of different air carriers which can only be booked through an agency and I don’t really like it. I prefer booking through airline websites to avoid failure or other charges.

You must have a credit card: visa, or a master card for booking; some European airlines accept debit cards. In years of purchasing airline tickets online, I could pay a debit card with Air France on the latest booking.

You may have doubts if it’s safe to book flights online. In twenty years of organizing my trip through the Internet, I haven’t encountered any problems. The airline’s website payment information is encrypted. Also, card issuers added more security when using your credit cards. You need to go through the steps during the final purchase.

Flying on multiple destinations

This is one of my favorite parts, booking multiple destinations. If I’m going on a trip for three weeks or longer, I love to combine with other countries, as it saves me money on flights. But to do these, it requires good planning before booking the flight.

For example, a few carriers from the Middle East, like EmiratesEtihad Airways, and Saudi Arabian airlines, will have their main airport in DubaiAbu Dhabi, and Saudi Arabia. Or you could fly with Malaysian airlines with a stopover in Kuala Lumpur

Another option for multiple destinations is booking a flight to A and returning home from B, which is good when exploring a country with a limited time. I have done this a lot, which saves me time. 

Self-booking is straightforward

Booking your plane ticket is very easy, as long you have access to the Internet. Whether you’re on a desktop, tablet, or phone, it doesn’t matter. But I prefer to do it on a desktop to see a lot more than on a mobile phone. Ensure you have stable internet connections without interruption, as these can cause errors, especially in the payment process.

Sometimes, it takes ages before the payment to complete, and you suddenly see a blank page, don’t panic! Just be patient, and let the site do its work. It is also good to have a printer around because some airlines don’t send confirmation emails. You can print it out while you are still on the page. Here’s what I did, before leaving the site, I checked my email if got the confirmation booking.

It happened to me when I booked a flight with VIVA AIR PERU. But I was competent to write down the booking code before I closed the page. And then I went to their website and filled in my booking number, and there I found my itinerary and printed it out.
I encountered the same recently when I booked a flight with Austrian Airlines, but the confirmation email arrived five hours later. So you see, these are minor problems if booking a ticket online.

 

Play with departure airports

My main airport is Brussels. Sometimes flights from Brussels are cheaper depending on destinations and airlines. Make sure to understand that Brussels has two international airports. A lot of travelers need clarification on the Belgium airports.
Brussels Airport Zaventem is the biggest one and the other one is South Charleroi Airport which serves budget airlines with destinations around Europe and a few non-European destinations.

So anyway, most flights from Brussels are expensive. Sometimes a difference of 50 euros even more for a flight if flying from Amsterdam and Paris Charles de Gaulle. To remind you it is almost four hours by train for me, and evaluating the cost of the train, it didn’t save me that much, as well the time traveling for three hours which added more stress. However, if someone is driving you to Paris or Amsterdam, you save money. Check the prices of trains HERE.

So here’s what to do. As I often make this booking, I will tell you how I do it. 

For example, if departing from Amsterdam is one hundred euros cheaper than in Brussels, it didn’t save me money. 

Because the rail price of a one-way ticket to Amsterdam costs 61 euros from home to the airport in Schiphol, I’m not going to battle that price. So I am going the easy way and willing to pay more by leaving Brussels. And this also applies if departing from Paris. In fact, it comes out more expensive because no IC train going to Paris. So you’re obligated to take the fast train. 

Flying with budget Airlines

There are now more budget airlines flying around Europe than before. But Ryanair is a leading airline with many European destinations at a meager competitive price. However, the apprehension of the reputation, such as delayed and canceled flights, many people avoided this airline. Fortunately, I never had a bad experience with them.

To be honest, I rather pay a bit more than fly with a budget company. My last flight with a low-cost airline was with Easy Jet to Monaco. I had problems with a carry-on, and since then never flown with them.

Flying on weekdays is cheaper than on the weekends. The only thing that can annoy is that most of their flights depart and arrive at smaller airports. And that is sometimes 100 kilometers away from the city center. But there are regulated coaches at the arrival airports.

Plan and Book

I don’t like overpaying for a flight. Sometimes a combination of different airlines can make a difference. But you have to book them separately. For example, on my recent trip, I booked two different airlines as it was cheaper than booking a return ticket. So this is how I search for my flights without breaking my bank account.

You need to have a lot of patience when searching for an airline ticket. I could spend hours and days looking for affordable flights. Anyway, my flights in 2024 were all booked. As I love going to unpopular countries, I’m early on my bookings.
P.S. Removing cookies or incognito mode doesn’t help anymore. That time was history! The best way to find cheap tickets is to book far in advance. The longer you wait, the more expensive to fly.

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