Five Ways to Find a Cheap Flight

By Nomadic Matt | Published October 16th, 2013

The cost of airfare is rising. It has been for a number of years. As planes fly fuller and airlines cut routes, they have less incentive to offer cheap fares. I remember when it used to be about $500-600 for a roundtrip ticket to Europe. Now, a fare that low is considered a deal with the norm around $900 (especially if you’re going to a major city)!

This week’s video features five tips on how to find a cheap flight:


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More information on saving money on airplane tickets:

Great sites for finding deals and cheap flights:

comments 29 Comments

Trudy

Just discovered you 2 weeks ago and I’m already in love with you!
Great tip and advice ALL THE TIME! (and you’re not hard on the eyes either)
Thanks so much for all you do. Oh and your book I ordered should be delivered today! #SoExcited

Lorraine

You took all of the words directly out of my mouth, Trudy! You totally read my mind!

Thank you so much for all of the great info, Matt. I’m currently trying to find the cheapest flight out of Mexico City and stumbled on your blog recently. You have helped me tremendously! Thanks for sharing your wonderful ideas!

NomadicMatt

Great Trudy! Let me know if you need anything!

I’m all about the alternate routes! I flew from Ottawa, Canada to Kona, Hawaii for $300. It meant two transfers and many hours of travel but it was SO worth it.

Hi Chaz – how the heck did you manage that? I fly out of Montreal and you can’t even get a fare like that to Ft. Lauderdale. What kind of routing did you take?
Frank

We just found getgoing.com. Seems like a great way to save some money on flights as long as you are flexible.

Basically, you pick two destinations to fly to. You see the price for both and then submit your CC info. Get Going then picks a destination for you at a really low price.

@Thankful Traveler – Thanks for spreading the word about GetGoing! And don’t forget that in addition to our “Pick Two, Get One” deals you can also use our FlightFinder tool (if you’re not as flexible) to find great deals. You can even search by experience (e.g. scuba diving, wine tasting, beaches, etc.) to quickly see all the best deals for the type of experience you want to have.

Thanks again, and feel free to reach out with any questions.

Robb Henshaw, VP of Communications at GetGoing

Anni

I just checked out GetGoing.com because I love the concept, and with much dissapointment realised it is focused on the US market only. Any plans to expand to Africa…Johannesburg?

Hi Anni – We actually are working on our international expansion, and should be beginning our worldwide rollout in early 2014. Currently we fly everywhere in the world, but the flights need to originate in the US. But stay tuned, and in early 2014 we’ll be available everywhere. Thanks for checking us out!

Never thought to sign up for airline newsletters for the best deals. These were all very helpful! I usually fly standby because my mom works for AA but every now and then I need to purchase a ticket and have no idea where to start.

Happy travels :)

Every once and a while you can still get lucky with an inexpensive flight to Europe, especially if you are flying from New England. You might have to be innovative and go through several different cities, but you can still do it. I paid $230 last year for a one-way from Lisbon to Montreal. I was able to find a flight to Dublin from Boston last year for $530, round trip.

Although as you say though, it is definitely not something that is too easy to come by these days. It can be luck of the draw, or search engine, at times.

Marian

Thank you for the great tips!

leisa

I am one of those odd balls that won’t watch video. Any chance you could give us a transcript of the wonderful info? I like to read my online content. Thanks.

Great tips Matt! Some of my additions would be:
1. check nearby airports
2. check one way fares
3. check bing.com or another farecast website that gives you an idea of when the price might go down or up

Love your work, keep it up! Safe and happy travels.

Cheers!
P.S. Do you know where/when your next group travel trip would be?

NomadicMatt

Yes, we’ll be going to Thailand in Feb! http://www.nomadicmatt.com/travel-blogs/thailand-tour/

Christian Rennert

Another tip is to use open jaw flights which allow you to arrive in one location and depart from another, i.e. MUC-SIN-HKG-MUC, which will sometimes have the same or a lower price than your original round trip & allow you to explore different places without backtracking. Furthermore, try to use http://matrix.itasoftware.com/ by google, which is different from google.com/flights. It is a great, customizable matrix search with a lot of advanced options (check out the faq/help section to find out more). The only downside is that you need to book your flight(s) through other sites or a travel agency. Otherwise it is an amazing tool & you’ll get the best offers as well as an overview of the prices for the whole month.

NomadicMatt

I love ITA. I use the Matrix all the time (it’s listed in the above article!)

Christian Rennert

Sorry, Matt. I’ve only watched the video & must have skipped the links. To make up for it, if you happen to be in Thailand/Myanmar/Laos from January to March, I’ll be glad to meet up & invite you for a few drinks. Until then. Keep up the great work & inspire more people to travel & turn their dreams into reality.

Being under 26 I use STA Travel although now a lot of the discount fares on offer are for under 31. However, sometimes I’ve found the ‘deals’ are cheaper if you buy direct from the airline’s website. I also search through a variety of search engines and subscribe to alert schemes to get the best offer/

Before buying tickets , you really should check out airline web site, cuz sometimes its cheaper than on discount sites…

Thanks for all the information. I learned more tricks from reading the comments to this blog. Keep up the good work. You are an awesome travel resource.

All great tips. However, while checking out the nearby airports for lower airfares, one should also keep in mind the potential hidden costs such as transportation costs to that alternative airport. I have been to destinations where the public transportation would not be available early in the morning or late at night requiring you to take a cab, which would in some cases be nearly as expensive as the one way flight itself. Just some thoughts. It has been a pleasure to follow up your site and be able to exchange ideas.

Great tips Matt, I use those sites all the time. You can also sign up to the e-newsletters of the popular airlines you use. I hate extra emails ….but I was booking a ticket online to Sweden and during the purchase I received an email with a $20 discount voucher. I was already happy with the price but this extra bonus made it a very cheap trip.

Bianca

Last Christmas my hubby and I decided we want to go to Canada and because it was a bit pricey we are traveling to Vermont instead. Now, we only have to travel about 2 hours in car to get to Canada and stay there a few days. End result, we are going to be able to visit two places in one trip.

i book a lot of multiple cities trips.. iv found that booking through kayak for skyscanner or others for multi city is more expensive. its cheaper if i book directly thru the airline and the same airline takes me everywhere.. am i doing it right Matt?

NomadicMatt

I’m not sure I follow. Send me an e-mail with more detail.

Tochukwu

thanks for the tip Matt…especially for the search websites!!!!!…cheers

Thanks Matt for such an enlightening write. Frequent travellers and businessmen are always on the lookout of cheap flights and modes of transportation. I am sure, they will find your blog very useful. Keep sharing such useful pieces of information.

Great video! I also find that being a member of travel reward programs such as travel credit cards and frequent flyer programs can help me save a lot of money on flights too!

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