We’re so ready to jet out of town and enjoy the last of summer’s sunshine that we can hardly stand to sit in our seats a moment longer. Here, 12 ways to score the cheapest plane tickets possible—so you can spend more of your hard-earned cash on margaritas and less on overhead bin space.
How To Hack Cheap Airfare
Research shows that the cheapest tickets are ones that are booked exactly 57 days before a desired departure. Any time earlier than that, and you should be good too.
Want to fly to London but can't find a cheap ticket? You can try looking for tickets to somewhere else in Europe that stop in London and just disembark during your connection. This method takes a time investment but can really pay off in savings.
Although round trips are generally cheapest, sometimes it's cheaper to hack a trip by buying two separate one-way tickets. Check as many airlines as possible using Google Flights, Hipmunk, Kayak and the like. Remember, however, that some of those websites increase fares on tickets you've viewed more than once, so be wary of booking a ticket that's been thusly inflated—and be sure to clear your cache before trying to buy.
Sometimes airlines offer better deals on their own sites than you can find through flight search aggregators. Before you book, check out the prices on the airline's homepage to make sure you're getting the best deal.
Sometimes, airline websites offer better deals for those buying from their company's home country. So, if you're flying to London on British Airways, look for the British version of the British Airways website and try booking from there rather than on the American version. Usually, all this requires is changing your country on a drop-down menu on the airline's homepage.
If you know you want to go to Europe over the summer but aren't super-particular about which part of Europe you want to see, try Kayak's Explore tool to search for flights within your budget in the general set of countries you want to visit.
Sometimes, Yapta can get you travel vouchers if the flight you booked goes on sale after you've already booked it.
We recently booked a Norwegian Air ticket to London for dirt-cheap; however, it turns out that Norwegian is basically the Spirit Airlines of overseas travel—absolutely everything incurred an added fee. No meals were free on the 10-hour flight, and passengers had to buy both checked and carry-on bags. If you see a ticket that's too good to be true price-wise, it probably is. You should always check the airline's website for hidden costs.
This site has an entire section dedicated to travel coupons, with some occasionally compelling discounts.
When all else fails, ditch the plane. Flying is a hassle these days, and the whole airport process can add hours to your travel time. Use this calculator to determine whether it's actually more efficient to drive to your destination. Trains can also be a less stressful alternative, and you'll get to see the sites as you commute.