Travel is fun but low cost travel is the real fun. Flights and stay comprise the major cost of any vacation. While one can stay with friends on a vacation, but flight is something which usually doesn’t have an alternative. Having travelled across 15 countries and 30 states in India, I have tried and tested various options to cut down my transfer cost. Here is brief of a few tricks that have worked for me in one trip or the other.
1) Fly on weekdays instead of weekends
Weekends are the preferred time to travel for both business and leisure travelers.Hence flight rates are at peak on the weekends. In my experience, Friday, Saturday and Monday show the highest flight rates especially on the busy city and tourist sectors. Flying mid week helps in 2 ways – 1) It helps you save the extra $$ of weekend privilege 2) It doesn’t make you look absent from office for the entire week.
2) Sign up for miles program and save them for urgent flights
Miles are the biggest earning for the price you pay for your flights. Sign up for every frequent flier (FF) program of domestic airlines. When you fly international, get the miles accrued on the FF program of the partner domestic airline. This way you can use the miles accrued on International flights, locally. Till date I have saved around 80K INR by using my frequent flier miles. There was an instance when I had to travel to Kolkata urgently from Mumbai for 1 night and the total return flight was costing ~18K ! I had been saving my miles only for this date, and using them I took the same flight for only 2K (YAY!)
3) Remember not all search engines are equal
No matter how much search engines claim that they give the best price, there is a difference in price across portals for most of the sectors. Sometimes the rates on the airline websites are cheaper than on any other search engine. Use a meta search or a comparison site to get an overview of options available. It tells you at a glance if at all there is a price difference across portals. For domestic flights of India, TravelNina is a good comparison site as it searches and compares fares from all other travel portals and gives the best option available in one search. For International sectors, use Kayak.
4) Use Coupon codes
Though coupon codes raise a doubt whether they will be worth your time, whether they will be still valid or not but alas ! sometimes these coupon codes do work and can save you $$ without much effort. Check a few coupon sites and find the coupons codes of the travel sites on which you are planning to book your flights. Recently I have saved Rs 2000 on my International flight and Rs600 on a domestic hotel stay using a few coupon codes.
5) Look for nearby airports/alternate destinations
Most of the big cities in the world have a major city airport and a nearby smaller airport.Many a times, flights to the nearby airports are cheaper than the direct flight to the big city. This might call for extra time and effort to reach the city but then if it can save you big bucks, it would be worth the effort. An even better option is to be flexible on your destination. World is a long book, and every page is worth reading! Every place has a peek tourist season and this is when flights to that place are most expensive. So look for places which are cheaper to reach at your time of travel. For tourist destinations in India, you can use the Destination Selector which identifies the cheapest destinations to go from your home airport in the whole month in one shot.
6) Least you can do – Book in advance
Most of the times, you can save on your flight cost if you book it in advance.This assumption might not hold true for every route in the world, but in general the flight rates increase as the date of travel approaches. A study done by a global giant in US says that International flights are cheapest 34 days before the date of travel and domestic flights are cheapest 21 days before the date of the travel. So try to plan as soon as you can, to ensure that you don’t overpay.
This post was originally written as a guest post for DealsKhoj.
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Do you have any tips to cut down flight cost?