How To Find And Book Cheap Flights

Are you looking for ways to find cheaper flights?

One of the most expensive parts of any trip can simply be the cost of the flights there and back.  But not to worry!  There are a few ways you can make sure you don’t end up spending too much.  I’ll go through them all so you can find and book cheap flights.

It is a bit of an art when it comes to finding flights for the best prices and I’ve learnt a few tricks that may just help you find a bargain or two.

So if you’re keen to find out exactly how you can search for, find and book the cheapest flights then stick around and I’ll show you exactly how I do it.

✈️ When searching and comparing flight prices we always use SkyScanner to find the best deals, Search for your next flights here!

How To Find and Book Cheap Flights

It is probably safe to assume, that at some point you’ve already taken to the internet in search of flights and seen for yourself just how many options there are when you jump into Google.  It can seem pretty overwhelming, right?  If you’ve never attempted a search then not to worry, after this you’ll know exactly what to do.

Where To Look For Flights

There is always the option of going straight to the site of an airline you know and booking directly with them.  BUT… if you do this, how will you know if you are getting the best deal? 

As with anything, you’ll want to use a comparison site.  So you can see multiple airlines, routes and prices compared side by side, in real-time.

There are many flight comparison sights out there that are all pretty great but the one we use the most is SkyScanner. So this is the one I’m going to be showing you how to use.

The way these comparison sites work is, once you have chosen which flights you want, it then redirects you to the website of the airlines or another booking site to book with them.

It is pretty much like window shopping for the best deals and then choosing who you want to buy from.

If You Have Dates But No Destination In Mind

SkyScanner has a super handy function if you don’t mind where you go and just want a cheap deal. If you already have dates in mind and are flexible about where you go on your trip, then let me show you how to find the best deals.

On the Homepage of SkyScanner at the top of the page, you will see the search boxes. You need to enter the airport you wish to fly from and in the ‘to’ box, If you click on the box you will see an option to explore everywhere. Select this option.

Then enter your preferred travel dates.

a screenshot from Skyscanner

Once you click search, you will then see all of the destinations you can fly to on your selected dates and the prices they start from. In this example, the cheapest destination would be Albania with flights from as low as £26!

a screenshot from skyscanner

If You Have A Destination In Mind But No Specific Dates

If you know where you want to go, but you don’t yet have dates in mind, we can use SkyScanner again to see when the cheapest time to fly will be.

This time all you need to do is enter the airport you will be leaving from and your chosen destination into the search fields. Then click on the departure date box. You will see calendars appear and here is where you can compare the prices on different days.

It is really handy that they also colour code them so straight away you can see the green days are the cheaper options.

a screenshot from Skyscanner

You will need to play around selecting different dates. Once you select a departure date, the return calendars will open up and you will be able to see the prices for the return flights and can choose the best one for you.

By selecting different departure dates you can compare all the possible choices for combined departure and return flights.

Sign Up For Price Alerts

Once you have done your research, picked your destination and dates.  You can also request to receive price alerts for the flights you selected.  If you are looking really far in advance and are not ready to purchase yet, then it could be worth signing up to receive a notification if the prices drop. 

I wouldn’t recommend this if you are looking less than 3 months before you want to go.  Just go ahead and book those bad boys!

Try it for yourself!

When Is The Best Time To Book Flights

So now that we have covered where to look, it’s time to think about when to look. 

Despite what you may have heard in the past, it no longer makes a difference which day of the week you book a flight on.  Thanks to technology, flight prices are being constantly updated not weekly like they used to be. 

I have also tested this theory a few times by checking flight prices periodically throughout the week and have seen no pattern or ‘cheaper day’.

It does matter though, how far in advance you are searching.  For international flights, you want to start looking around 8 months before you want to book for the absolute best deals.  And definitely no later than 2 months before your departure date.  After this, the prices will just steadily increase. 

Only if there are a lot of seats left at the last minute will they drop the prices again but do you really want to risk it?

Now also seems like the perfect time to mention, for those who haven’t travelled much yet.  This is the point where you should grab yourself some travel insurance.  It’s always better to be safe than sorry.  I have lost lots of money in the past due to not having insurance when a trip is cancelled and it sucks!

Also, check when you pick an airline to fly with what their cancellation policies are.  Many airlines now will allow you to change the dates of your flight for no additional fee.  Many also offer vouchers if the flights are cancelled which is also great!

When Is The Best Time To Fly

For the cheapest flights always avoid booking in peak seasons or during holidays such as summer or over Christmas, if possible. 

TOP TIP – the cheapest days to fly tend to be Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays.

view out of an airplane window whilst flying above the clouds

Flying Direct vs. a Stopover

If you are very open to an adventure and have the time, often rather than flying direct to your ideal destination there will be a cheaper alternative ‘nearby’.  For example, if you want to visit one European city, maybe it is cheaper to fly to a different one and then take a bus or train.   

Just something to think about.

Which Airport To Fly From

Quite often the airport closest to you won’t necessarily be the cheapest airport to fly from. 

Let’s take my example, when I lived in England my closest airport was Leeds Bradford Airport. If I search for a flight to Barcelona from Leeds Bradford and select a date it shows as $93 for a one-way ticket.

If I then change my search to fly from Manchester airport which is around 1.5 hour’s drive away, the flight price comes down to $72. That is assuming you can get a ride to the other airport or a cheap bus ticket you would save some money.

Using this method, you would just then need to work out how cheaply you could get to the alternative airports to work out how much it will save you.

Air Miles And Points

I wanted to cover air miles and points because for some people they could be really useful.  However, they are not something I personally have used yet.  This is because I tend to look for the cheapest flights to the place I want to go and if it is a budget airline then often they aren’t included in the common air alliances that you would sign up to.

For example, if you want to sign up to start collecting points then there are 3 main alliances;

oneworld – American Airlines, British Airways, Airberlin, Cathay Pacific, Finnair, Iberia, Japan Airlines, LATAM, Qatar Airways, Malaysia Airlines, Qantas, Sri Lankan Airlines, Royal Jordanian, S7 Airlines.

Star Alliance – Adriatic, Aegean, Air Canada, Air China, Air India, Air New Zealand, ANA, Asiana Airlines, Austrian, Avianca, Brussels Airlines, CopaAirlines, Croatia Airlines, Egyptair, Ethiopian, Eva Air, LOT Polish Airlines, Lufthansa, Scandinavian Airlines, Shenzhen Airlines, Singapore Airlines, South African Airways, SWISS, TAP Portugal, Thai Airways, Turkish Airlines, United.

SkyTeam – Air France, Aeroflot, Aerolineas Argentinas, Aeromexico, Air Europa, Air France, Alitalia, China Airlines, China Eastern, China Southern, Czech Airlines, Delta, Garuda Indonesia, Kenya Airways, KLM, Korean Air, MEA, Saudia, TAROM, Vietnam Airlines, Xiamen Air

Thanks to for this handy list!

If you know already that you fly often with one of these airlines then sign up for their loyalty scheme and you will also be able to collect points if you fly with any of the other partners in the alliance.

Can you see now why I don’t use these?  They can be very limiting and may mean you don’t choose the cheapest flight options when you travel if that is your aim.

It is at this point that many travel blogs will now talk about travel credit cards.  Personally, this is also something I don’t use and I wouldn’t recommend it as a budget traveller. 

Many encourage high spending to receive bonus rewards and I just can’t in good conscience suggest anyone goes and gets a credit card.  So this one my friends, is up to you to dig deeper into if it’s something that interests you.

an airplane parked at the boarding gate of an airport

Watch Out For Budget Airlines

So you’ve done all your research and you’ve picked a budget airline, FANTASTIC!

This is the part where some of them then charge you separately to take on hand luggage, to check in a bag, to pick a seat, for food and drinks on the plane… the list can go on. 

Before you know it, your cheap flight is all of a sudden not so cheap anymore. These flights can be fine for short getaways where you can travel with just a carry-on. If you’re not picking about where you sit and you avoid eating for a few hours during the flight.

Things To Avoid When Searching For Cheap Flights

Here are a few things to keep in mind to avoid when looking for cheap flights and keeping costs down;

  • It may seem obvious but travel agents are great if you want hassle-free, package deals but not if you want a cheap flight. Stick to the sites we looked at and you’re good to go.
  • Don’t leave it to the last minute to book flights, there’s a big chance the flight will fill up and the prices will increase massively.
  • Avoid flying on a Friday or a Sunday if possible.
  • Avoid taking a checked-in bag if you want to save some extra money.
  • Try not to fly in peak seasons if you can help it.

Let someone else do all the hard work

If you don’t have a trip in mind but are just keen to hear about good deals when they come up.  If you love a bit of spontaneity in your life. Then signing up for sites like Jacks Flight Club or Scott’s Cheap Flights will allow you to just receive all the juicy deals in your inbox directly.

view from behind of two pilots flying a small passenger plane

How To Find & Book Cheap Flights – Final Thoughts

So there you have it.  Your first steps in planning your trip and how to track down the most attractive flight deals.  Take your time, use the search sites we talked about and enjoy the process of picking where and when your next adventure will take place. 

For more tips on how to save money while travelling, check out my blog on how to travel on a budget.

One last TOP TIP – when you’re ready to book, clear the browsing data from your web browser. Or better yet, book on an incognito tab.  These flight sites keep track of what we look for and it can affect what prices you see.  So best to wipe them clean and start fresh.

Congratulations, you now know how to find and book cheap flights!