We may not be one of those crazy people who somehow manages to get every flight for $7, but we have learned a few tricks in travel hacking as a result of our obsession with getting out of town (or maybe from having too many good friends with far-flung wedding destinations). Here, 5 creative ways to save a buck on your next booking.
Book Airfare From Outside Of The U.S.
Or, pretend to. Something called regional pricing tends to make tickets more expensive when they look like they’re being booked from inside the US. Use foreign versions of airfare search sites (ie. https://www.expedia.co.jp/) to check for cheaper tickets than you’d find using the US versions. Or, if you’re booking a flight through a foreign carrier, switch your settings to the airline’s home country to check for better fares. So for example, if you’re booking on Singapore Airlines, switch your country/region from the U.S. (which will have auto-populated) to Singapore to see if you will be offered better deals.
Many airfare search sites will raise prices if they notice you continuously checking fares. Use an incognito or private browser when doing your search to save.
We’ve seen a lot of cities (albeit briefly) by adding stopovers into our itineraries—Panama City en route to Argentina or Taiwan en route to Bali, for example. Make sure to allow for at least 24 hours in your stopover destination if it’s international, and check visa requirements before booking. WOW Air, an Icelandic airline, actually offers cheap flights—around $250 one way—from D.C. or Boston to Europe, but you must fly through Iceland first. We can think of worse things than 24-hours of glacier-hopping...
Buy A "Hidden City" Ticket
If your ticket from City A to City B seems excessively pricey, try booking a ticket to a third city that stops over in your destination city instead. So for example, if you’re flying from Los Angeles to Chicago, but that ticket is pricey, try looking for tickets from Los Angeles to Atlanta that stop over in Chicago to see if they’re any cheaper. Often, they will be.
Make Last-Minute Changes
Many airlines (Virgin, American, etc.) will hold your ticket for 24 hours, free of charge. They will also cancel reservations with a full refund if the call is made within 24 hours of the flight booking, even if your ticket says non-refundable.
Another trick for making last-minute changes on a flight is to call on the day of your flight to see if you can switch to a later (or earlier) departure. All airlines have different rules, but some don’t charge at all for a same-day change. If you know your airline’s rules ahead of time, this trick also makes sense to use if the desired flight time is much more expensive than other flights on the same day. You can book the cheaper flight knowing ahead of time that you’re going to make a last-minute change on the day of departure.