When planning an overseas trip most people are searching for the cheapest flight they can find. Unless you have the disposable income to afford a business class or first class trip, it's ideal to save as much money on your fares as possible. There is no guarantee for a discounted rate, but there are certain things you can do to increase the likelihood. We've outlined ways to get the best rate on airline fares below.
The more notice you have the more likely it is that you can get a good rate. There are generally only a certain amount of seats sold on a flight at a discounted rate and airlines tend to reward travellers that are the most organised. Since some people need to fly last minute and will pay anything to do so, airlines hike up the prices to match demand. According to studies cited in the New York Time's that the best prices for international flights are offered 4-5 months in advance. Try to book your flights in this time period to increase your chance of a getting a great price.
This goes against everything we have just said above, but sometimes when airlines can't fill the flights they offer heavily discounted rates to fill the remaining seats. If you can risk waiting to the last minute than you may find yourself with the cheapest rate possible. Or you might find yourself stuck with no flight and no way to get to your destination. It's risky but it sometimes pays off.
This isn't always possible, but it's best to avoid peak season when you can. If you don't have a set date for when you need to be at your destination, than avoid flying at any time there is a higher demand to get to your location. Some airlines even disclose they have peak travel surcharges and you will be charged more during any peak season. You'll find the flights to Europe in July during summer are far more expensive than the colder months. If that's unavoidable for you than it is definitely best to book your flights as far in advance as possible.
Unless you have reason to stay with an airline such as frequent flyer rewards, than always compare airlines around the world. There are certain compare websites such aswww.skyscanner.com.au, www.farecompare.com, and www.webjet.com etc. that will do all the work for you and give you the best rates for the flight. Once you find the best rate then we recommend going direct to the airline to avoid commissions from the compare site.
Some international airports charge higher rates due to airport taxes and airline capacity. It is worth looking into surrounding airports and even with the price of a train ride, you can often save a bit of money doing it this way. In Europe, internal flights are often quite cheap so it's definitely worth comparing flights from all different locations (London compared to Amsterdam, Newcastle compared to Edinburgh). You can then look into internal flights or other means of transport to get to your location.
Some days are cheaper to fly than others. Farecompare's research has shown that Wednesday seems to be the cheapest day to fly, followed by Tuesday and Saturday. Friday and Sunday are the most expensive days to land a flight. There can be a huge difference between a Wednesday flight and a Sunday so try and be flexible with your days as much as you can.
If you are travelling in a group still book your flights individually. If you book for four people then the airline will offer you the highest rate for the flights for all four passengers. These days you can book your flight and then are offered the chance to reserve your seat afterwards, so in most cases you can still ensure you will be sitting next to each other anyway.