The ultimate Guide on How to find cheap Flights online: Tips by a Tourism Manager

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Do you want to buy your next airline ticket cheaper without paying unnecessary fees or more than the ticket is worth? Maybe you have already tried different search engines but just don’t know which one will show you the best deals. (Did you know that some search engines will probably never show you the best deals due to contracts they have with specific airlines?)

Then this post is for you! Here, you will learn how to always find the best flight deal in our step-by-step guide. You will not only find tips from my personal experience but also professional facts & tricks from my career as a Tourism Manager.

Short and to the point: How to find cheap flights online

  • Book at least 6-8 weeks before the planned departure date
  • Choose the right day for your booking
  • Don’t book from your smartphone
  • Be flexible in terms of times and departure airport
  • Use a flight comparison site (my favorite is Skyscanner)
  • Delete your cookies
  • Use newsletters and third-party providers to find offers
  • Collect frequent flyer miles

How many weeks before your planned departure can you find the cheapest flights?

How many days before your departure date you should book is difficult to estimate, as prices often depend on demand.

In general, however, it can be said that most flights become more expensive the closer you get to the departure date.

I usually book my flights around 6 weeks before departure but often start comparing prices around 8 weeks beforehand. In the post-pandemic world, experts recommend starting even earlier for long-haul flights. You can find good deals from 12 weeks in advance.

If you can’t wait to book your flight, you might also get lucky with early bird deals.

Which day is the best to look for good flights?

best day to book a flight
Even experts disagree on the best day to book a flight

What many people don’t realize is that not only the day of your flight but also the day you book your flight can play a big role in the final price. Even though this trend is slowly changing and price fluctuations within a week have become significantly less, it can be worth looking for your flight on different days of the week and at different times.

Once you have decided on a destination, you can often hardly wait to finally book your flight. However, you need to be careful here, as the day of booking can make a difference of several hundred euros (depending on the flight price, of course).

Before the pandemic, weekend flights were usually cheaper. This is because business travelers often book their flights during the week. As they usually have a higher budget available for booking, flights during business hours are generally more expensive.

In recent years, however, this trend has shifted, so that there is no longer an exact day best for booking. Although some claim that Tuesday or Thursday evenings are the best options.

So let’s keep in mind that we should simply look for our flight on different days of the week, at different times, ideally in the evening.

From which device should I book my flights?

One of the things that surprised me most in my E-Marketing class back in University was the huge fluctuation between prices depending on the device you book from. Even using different brands can already make a difference. Crazy, right?

To prove to us that this theory was true, my professor decided to do an experiment with us. In groups, we had to look up prices for the same tourist product using different devices and ways of checking. (e.g., tablet, App, Browser, Mac, Windows PC, etc.) And the result was shocking.

What we found out:

  • From a Computer is cheaper than from a mobile device (e.g. phone or tablet)
  • The Website is cheaper than the App
  • Windows is cheaper than Mac

Therefore, the probably smartest way to book your flight is from a Windows PC using the Internet browser.

In general…

How to find the Cheapest flights online, airplane, skyscrapers

The more flexible you are, the more money you can save on your flight booking.

– Vicki’s rule of thumb for booking flights

Flexible to time

Not depending on summer vacation or high season? Great! Does your flight really have to be in week X? Maybe week Y is way cheaper. And if it has to be week X, maybe flying on Tuesday instead of Monday can save some money. The flight at 3 pm might cost double what the flight at 6 am costs. If you don’t depend on a specific time, there are many options to save some cash.

Not only peak travel times but also seasonal factors can have an impact on the flight price. While some flights are cheaper in summer, others cost much more. It all depends on your destination.

Other options for time flexibility are longer flights, stopovers, and transfers. If you plan a stopover instead of a direct flight, you can sometimes discover some great deals. The length of stopovers can vary depending on the flight.

Extra tip: Use long layovers for sightseeing! On my flight from Spain to Japan, I used my 10-hour layover in Moscow to see the city (note: visa required for many!).

Vicki’s experience: On our return flight from Bali, we were able to snag a flight for less than €300 per person (instead of the regular almost €500 at the time) by flying to Jakarta first and then on to Frankfurt, Germany from there.

Budget Tips for those flexible in time

  • Avoid vacation periods and public holidays if possible
  • Compare different days of the week and departure times
  • Take seasonal fluctuations into account
  • Include longer flights and stopovers

Flexible to location

Ok, your vacation is determined by work and quite short, so you want to make sure to leave on your first free day. Your nearest airport is in Philadelphia, but the flights from there are not quite cheap right now. How about flying from New York instead? Or another airport nearby. Maybe the flights from there are much more affordable at the moment.

When looking for your flight with Skyscanner, don’t forget to click on “Nearby Airports” to include them in your search.

Did you know that some major cities have secondary airports that are served by low-cost airlines in particular? Examples include Frankfurt-Hahn Airport, Barcelona-Girona, Newark Airport, and London Stansted. If you fly to these airports instead of the main airports, you can often save a lot on your flight ticket.

BUT it is not always worth flying to these smaller airports. They are usually located further away from your actual destination, and the journey to and from the airport can be more expensive or take a lot of time. For comparison: Frankfurt Hahn is 78 mi/125 km from Frankfurt, Barcelona-Girona is around 56 mi/90 km from Barcelona, and London Stansted is around 40 mi/65 km from London. However, Newark Airport is only about 5 miles/8 km from New York City.

Vicki’s experience: During our long-distance relationship, I once got Eduardo an incredible flight deal with this tip. Instead of taking our regular flight from the main airport from Barcelona to Hanover, Germany (at the time for €85), he flew from nearby Girona to Bremen for an incredible €5.

Saving tips for the locally flexible

  • Include nearby airports in your search.
  • Include smaller secondary airports in your search.

Flexible to Destination

The flights to Paris are all way over my budget at the moment. Maybe I can travel to London instead and go to Paris next time?

Obviously, most people already have a destination in mind when they search for flights. But if you enquire about flights before you start planning your trip, you can find some real bargains.

When you are looking for flights with Skyscanner, just put as Destination “Anywhere” and find as a result all the options you have. Maybe your dream destination is already waiting for you 😉

Flexible to Quality

Does it really have to be the expensive Lufthansa flight? Sure, the quality speaks for itself, but on the same day, there is also a flight with Eurowings to the same destination.

If you book this flight without baggage, you might not even pay half the price. Especially on short-haul flights, you might be able to turn a blind eye and do without the free drink or snack in between, don’t you think?

How to find the cheapest flights online: Step-by-Step

How can you find the cheapest flights online, inside airplane, passengers

1. Delete your Cookies

It sounds like such a small detail but can have such a great effect. The way to delete your cookies depends on the Browser you are using. Often you can find them in Settings > History.

Even easier is to use the CC-Cleaner, which you can download for free.

The Cookies on your device help the search engine to analyze your behavior. Especially when you have searched for this or similar flights before, the displayed prices might be higher than usual. That’s why it is important to delete your cookies before you look for your flight.

2. Open a new Incognito Window

When you use a Flight Search engine, they will receive information about you from your browser, which can influence the price shown to you. To minimize this information, it is helpful to search for your flight from an Incognito-Window.

3. Open Skyscanner

In my experience, Skyscanner usually offers the best flight search.

Of course, there can be exceptions and you are always on the safe side to compare with other sites, but as a standard Skyscanner simply finds the cheapest flight.

Take a look at Skyscanner here to find the cheapest flight.

4. Choose between One-Way and Return

Often, you can save some money when you purchase your return flight in the same booking. But it is never wrong to check for your flights separately as well because sometimes, the best deals are flights from different airlines.

5. Enter the Details of your planned flight into the Search Mask and click on “Search”

Extra tip: If you are flying with several people, you can search for the desired flight for one or more people, as the prices may also differ.

The search results can be displayed in two ways. Under Tickets (normally displayed as the default search result), you will find the cheapest flight, the fastest flight, and the best flight (a combination of fast and cheap) at the top. Ideally, all three should be the same flight. If not, you have to prioritize. Would you rather get to your destination quickly or cheaply?

Under Schedule, the flights are sorted by departure time. Especially those who are very inflexible when it comes to times will find a suitable flight more quickly here.

In the mask on the left-hand side, you can select further details to find the perfect flight more quickly. However, bear in mind that more details also mean less choice. This means that the fewer details you enter, the greater the chances of finding a cheap flight.

Extra tip: If you are flexible in terms of time, you can check the colors when choosing your flight date. These give an indication of the flight prices on the respective day. Green flights are the cheapest.

Did you find your perfect flight? Then click on “Go to Site” or check more Details

Under every search result, you can find a small Button saying, “See details”. Here, you can find different companies and websites offering this flight at different prices. Moreover, you get more information about this flight.

If you are happy with the flight you found you can click on “Go to Site”, which will connect you to the site on which this flight is offered to the displayed price. Here you can finally book your flight.

Cheap is good, but…

flying with lowcost airline comic, humor
The image is perhaps a little exaggerated: But not everyone likes to fly with low-cost airlines

you should set priorities

What is more important to you: price or flight duration? Perhaps there is a cheaper flight with a long stopover in the middle. But is seven hours somewhere in the middle of nowhere with high airport prices really worth the price difference? A decision that only you (and your fellow passengers) can make.

you should not forget about the environment

Ok, ok. I can see for myself that low-budget flights are often cheaper (and faster) than buses and trains on short journeys. But we should always keep our carbon footprint in mind when flying, don’t you think?

Maybe you’ll do what I do and offset your flight with a donation to a good environmental cause. Unfortunately, the best way is still to take the bus or train.

You should not ignore the additional costs

Unfortunately, I’ve fallen for this trick far too often. You are lured in by a super cheap flight, and then everything costs extra. From food (still manageable on short and medium-haul flights) to baggage and paying by credit card. Sometimes it’s worth taking the slightly more expensive flight where certain services are already included.

Pay attention to rebooking options

Just last week, this is exactly what happened to a friend of mine. She falls ill and wants to rebook the flight she booked months ago – and what happens? Well, no way. Low-cost airlines, in particular, sometimes have particularly high costs for rebooking or don’t allow this at all for certain fares.

Especially if you book several weeks or months in advance, it’s always worth looking out for rebooking or cancellation options.

More ideas for saving on your next flight

Collect frequent flyer miles or take part in loyalty programs

Some providers (e.g., Lufthansa’s Miles and More or Avios from Vueling) allow you to earn miles when you book a flight, which you can then redeem for flight discounts on your next booking.

The miles can also be redeemed with offer partners (e.g., partner airlines). With certain credit cards (e.g., the Miles and More credit card), you can also earn miles on your regular purchases.

Use newsletters and bargain sites

There are providers (e.g., Airfarewatchdog) who regularly inform you about the latest bargain trips and flight offers via newsletter or their social media channels. If you don’t have any concrete travel plans yet, these bargain sites are definitely worth a look for inspiration.

Do without luggage and additional services

More and more airlines are following the low-budget airline principle, where baggage and additional services, such as choosing a seat or snacks and drinks on board, cost extra. The fewer of these options you use, the cheaper your flight will be.

Insider tip: Book luggage as an additional service

One tip that saves me money every time I fly home is this: If you book with low-cost airlines (e.g., Vueling or Ryanair) and want to take luggage with you, it’s usually cheaper to choose the cheapest option (e.g., “Basic fare”), which doesn’t include luggage.

You can then simply add a suitcase in the next booking step. This is usually much cheaper than booking a fare, including baggage directly.

More Sites to find the perfect Flight Deal

Finding cheap flights, pink sky, airplane, flying

Not happy with your Search Results? Do you want it even cheaper? No Problem! Luckily, there are even more tools out there that can help you find the greatest deals by looking at flights from another perspective. You can also join a frequent flyer program for your favorite airline in order to save some more money.

Momondo or Kiwi – Search comparison sites similar to

Google Flights – This cool option allows you to see flight offers on an interactive world map.

Secret Flying – This is a website on which you can find the latest deals and offers from different airlines. Sometimes you have to be fast to catch the deals before it’s over, but some of the offers run for several days/weeks. You can either look for a specific destination or check offers by region.

Fly4Free – It works similarly to Secretflying. You can find recent flight offers and good deals.

Skiplagged – An unbelievable website that checks even more flight opportunities for you. For instance: You want to fly from Thailand to Munich. But there is a flight from Thailand to Madrid with a Stopover in Munich, which is much cheaper than the direct flight to Munich. Skiplagged is checking that for you.

Author’s note: Please keep in mind that there can be always exceptions to the rules of thumb stated above, as airlines make their own prices. Especially Low-Cost-Carrier often doesn’t act according to those rules.


About the AuthorVicki

Hi, we are Vicki & Eduardo, an international travel couple on a mission to help you save money for priceless travel experience. Follow us through the miracles of this world and you will be rewarded with a bunch of practical travel tips.

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10 thoughts on The ultimate Guide on How to find cheap Flights online: Tips by a Tourism Manager

  1. What a helpful little post! If only I’d read it sooner, but I’ll definitely bookmark it for the future! I think like most I have the same websites I go to each time and don’t shop around that much once I think I’ve found a good deal but the fly4free and skiplagged sound genius!!

  2. Great tips.. I always read that Tuesday was a good day to book flights. 🙂 Thanks for sharing some great sites for finding flight deals.

    • Tuesday, really? In my experience not 😀 But rumor has it that with most airlines it is the cheapest to have your flight on a Tuesday 😉

  3. This is an awesome post! So much good info in here. Question, I have heard the browser used also matters when booking. For example, I have heard it is better to use Internet Explorer to book. Do you think that makes a difference?

    • So far, I haven’t seen a difference, to be honest. In the beginning, I always checked with Firefox and Chrome, but since it was always the same I gave up on that. But maybe I should try Explorer to be sure 🙂 I will update this post accordingly. Thanks for sharing this 🙂

  4. Funny like another reader above I also heard Tuesday was the best day to book flights, but your logic about the weekend makes a lot of sense! One other question I have for you is that I know Momondo sometimes uses third party flight companies which makes me a little nervous. I guess you don’t see any issues booking through these companies versus directly with the airline?

    • Hi Anisa,

      Often these third-party companies get a better deal from the airline as they are buying several seats from them. Therefore, it is possible to get a better price when booking with them. So far, I’ve never had a problem when booking with third-party companies. Momondo also usually checks how trustworthy those companies are.

  5. Nice site and great tips. I’ll be testing these out this afternoon, hopefully with awesome results 🙂 Thanks for sharing!


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