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How to find the cheapest flights

Planning a trip is great until that payment notification goes off and you realise how much you’ve actually paid for your dream vacation. My theory is that whether you pay R5000 or R10,000 for the plane ticket, we’re all getting to the same destination. Here are some travel tips and tricks on how to find the cheapest flights.

Use a flight comparator

Many people think that planning a trip involves researching different available airlines and having 10 different tabs open to compare various flight prices. 10 years ago maybe, not with flight comparators.

What’s a flight comparator you might ask? It’s a single website that allows you to quickly compare various airlines, prices and times. You simply enter your travel dates and destination and click search. Flight comparators will give you a list of airlines flying out on your preferred date and you can easily see which airline is the cheapest for your travel needs.

Travel tip: when you find the airline that best suits your needs, head over to their official website and check for any secret sales happening. I personally love flight comparators, but they don’t always have the same discounts and promotions that the official airline websites have.

Be flexible when making a booking

Like any other industry, supply and demand play a big role in booking a flight. The more popular a particular departure time is, the more expensive it’s going to be. The perfect travel times, like just after 1pm are often the most expensive flights available.

Think about using alternative airports

The most popular airport for your destination might not be the best option for your budget. Popular means higher costs when it comes to travelling. Every destination will not have multiple airports, but larger destinations will. Look into various airports in and around where you’re going and then make a decision. There’s a good chance you can save a lot but simply arriving at an alternative airport, who knows, it might even be closer to your hotel.

Relook at your travel dates and times

Remember the supply and demand I mentioned earlier? Here it is again. If you had to pick between a flight after work on a Friday or a 5am flight Monday morning? Which one would you pick? Chances are it’s the Friday flight right? Everyone thinks like this! If you have the flexibility, fly on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday. The ‘inconvenient’ travel days also happen to be the cheapest.

Travel tip: Fly through the night; sit by window, take out your neck pillow and catch some shut-eye. This way you won’t have to pay for an extra night hotel stay.

Deal first, destination second

If you’re undecided about where to head off to, then this one’s for you. If you know you’d like a beach getaway, don’t only consider Mauritius and if you’re looking for a city getaway, don’t only consider New York. Research destinations that are similar to the one you want to go to, then compare the prices. You’ll end up finding places you never knew existed and you’ll save tons of money!

Travel tip: the road less travelled if often the better option and cheaper.

So here’s what you know:

  • Use flight comparators: don’t open 10 tabs when 1 tab will do all the work for you.
  • Be flexible: keep your options open and you’ll pay less.
  • Use alternative airports: popular means expensive.
  • Relook at your travel dates: it’s cheaper to fly on a Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, save money and still have a great time.
  • Forget the destination, look at the deal: Mauritius isn’t the only island out there, find places similar to the one you had in mind, compare and make a decision.

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