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There’s a lot of conflicting travel advice online for finding the cheapest flights, and a lot of advice which is repeated so often it’s now general knowledge; be flexible with your dates, compare flight prices, travel during off season, don’t be afraid of a layover, etc.

But while the same old tips and suggestions pop up across different blogs time and time again, the travel industry evolves at such a rapid pace that every year is different from the one before. The tips and tricks which worked 12 months ago may not be up to date anymore.

So we’ve put together tips based on recent travel trends from the results of the 2016 Annual Flight Study from Momondo. Based on 13 billion fares across the top 100 routes searched for on momondo, this study has some fabulous insight on how you can save, making sure you’re always getting the best airfare!

How to Book the Cheapest Flights (Based on Recent Travel Trends)

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We highly recommend Will Hatton’s “How to Travel the World on $10 a Day” – he arms you with the tips and tricks you need to travel the world with confidence, on the most basic of budgets. 

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When to Book

The cheapest day to book your flights is 56 days before departure. If you’re not up for that kind of math, use the Momondo calendar calculator to find out when 56 days before your holiday is. It also lets you set a reminder so that you won’t forget!

While ridiculously specific, travelers last year saved 28% on their flights with this rule. You’ll also find cheaper flights by booking on a Tuesday. Airlines tend to announce deals on Monday evenings, which means by noon the next day, competing airlines are scrambling to match the lower prices so they can stay in the game.

With this in mind, our upcoming trip to Antarctica was booked on December 6 2016 … as luck would have it, this was both a Tuesday and 56 days before we wanted to fly (January 31). Sure enough, we caught a cheaper price than we had seen advertised before. We also managed to purchase Premium Economy tickets for cheaper than seats in economy, which we still don’t understand, but will absolutely take advantage of!

This post has some fabulous insight on how you can save in 2017, making sure you’re always getting the best airfare!

Which Day to Fly

The cheapest days to fly are when other people don’t want to. While it’s recommended to shop on a Tuesday, Tuesday is also the cheapest day to fly (see you at the airport on January 31st!).

Fewer people travel on Tuesdays, and less demand means a better deal for you. And, flying on a Tuesday also means a short week on your return if you have to head straight to work on the Wednesday!

Also consider flying on the actual holiday. The biggest savings typically come with flying on Thanksgiving or Christmas Day. Who needs a business class upgrade when you’re set up in a row of 5 vacant economy seats (remember to tuck the seat belts in the gap between the seats before you lie down … it’s quite uncomfortable otherwise!)

What Time to Fly

Using the same rule of thumb as above, the cheapest time to fly is the less popular time of the day.

Most people don’t want to fly out at the crack of dawn, or stay up past their bedtime, so early and late fares are typically cheaper. Likewise, no-one wants to swap an actual meal for plastic food unless they have to, so search for times around the lunch and dinner hour if you want to pay less.

That said, sometimes, you’re not going to have a choice. For instance, our flight to Santiago this Tuesday only operates from Sydney once per day. So it’s 1pm or nothing.

Flight Singapore Airlines

Create a Fare Alert on Momondo

Another money-saving tip is to create a Fare Alert on momondo (search for your flight and then create the alert) – you’ll receive notifications up to twice a week when there is a notable change in price, and a weekly summary of every price change so you can get an idea of where your fare is heading.

It only takes a second to set up, and the deals come to you. When you see one you like, act fast; other people have set alerts set too and cheap seats are always limited.

Travel to a Different Airport

Most cities only have one or two airports. A handful have three or four, however some have up to 6 (flights to London can be confusing!!).

And in 2017 many cities have plans to add more; Sydney is proposing a new airport, Istanbul is building a third, there are 9 new airports going up in China’s Xinjiang, and 17 in smaller cities of India. These are just the ones I’ve had time to research!

Some cities probably have more airports than you would think necessary, but this means more choice for the traveler; airfares at airports within 100 miles of each other can vary drastically, so it’s increasingly important to consider flights to and from different cities and towns. The cost of driving to an airport an hour away could end up being far less than the difference in your airline ticket.

luggage in the airport

Separate Your Tickets

This may take a little bit of extra effort, but it can pay off. If you’re booking for two or more people, do a search for one person to start. Airlines will sell multiple fare classes at different prices, and if there’s only one seat left in the lowest fare class when you search for two seats, most reservation systems will charge both tickets at the higher price.

Example: An airline has only one ticket for $100 and the rest are $200. If you shop for two, you will pay $400 total, but if you shop one-at-a-time, you will pay $300 total.

Also, compare fares for both one way tickets and a round-trip fare. Round-trip flights are typically cheaper to book, but not always. Before you book a round-trip flight, price out options for two one-way bookings and consider two different airlines. It might be cheaper that way, and you’ll never know unless you compare.

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Megan is an Australian Journalist and award-winning travel writer who has been blogging since 2007. Her husband Mike is the American naturalist and wildlife photographer behind Waking Up Wild; a website dedicated to opening your eyes to the wild & natural world.

Committed to bringing you the best in adventure travel from all around the globe, there is no mountain too high, and no fete too extreme! They haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on their list.

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    44 Comments

  1. Go go real times!

    • Haven’t heard of Go go real times before – is this another website or an app? Thanks for the tip!

  2. Great tips. I shall definitely try this service out. I’m terrible at getting low airfares and still haven’t even managed to get a frequent flyer card, ha ha.

    • Glad we could help Tammy … definitely check out Momondo to compare when you’re looking for your next flight … and if you figure out which airlines you fly most frequently, a frequent flyer program can bring in some really fantastic benefits, pretty quick to rack up points, and these are a great way to free flights 🙂

      Happy travels!

  3. Thanks

    • You’re welcome Ross 🙂 Happy travels!

  4. Great tips! It’s great to be aware of these trends as it’s constantly changing! We learned a few more things today!We definitely need to use Momondo more often.

    • Thanks Nat 🙂 Absolutely – each year’s tricks are different from the next! Definitely compare using Momondo for your next trip 🙂

  5. Great tips here Meg. Im forever flying out on a tuesday, wednesday and thursday as I can’t be bothered to fly out on expensive weekends. Never used Momondo so gonna look into this.

    • Thanks Danik 🙂 Absolutely – mid week flights are where the cheapest tickets are at!

    • Thanks Viajar – glad we could help! Happy travels 🙂

  6. All such great tips, and ones I will definitely put into play for my future bookings this year. Well done on the PE seats for your Antartica trip, what a scoop!!!

    • Thanks Sara! We just did the flight to Santiago and PE was definitely the way to go. Still can’t believe they were cheaper than the economy seats! Must’ve caught a flash sale or something 🙂

  7. Great tips! I love reading about flight booking tips. Being the geek that I am, flight booking is a hobby of mine. Even if I don’t have plans of going anywhere. Will definitely check out Momondo as I’ve actually never used them before.

    • Thanks Anna! Definitely check out Momondo in that case – it’s a fantastic tool for the flight geek :D!

  8. Awesome tips. Never used Momondo but i have something similar where i book the flight and it scans for same info and if it finds a cheaper flight it will automatically rebook you and refund the difference…but will check out Momondo for sure..

    • Thanks Fabian 🙂 Sounds like a great service you’re currently using too. Definitely check out Momondo to compare 🙂 Happy travels!

  9. Really great tips, Meg. We love Momondo. They have some great features like the bars for each day and if the price is higher or lower, as well as the flight insights. Great tip on flying on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. We did this once on a flight to the Caribbean and saved a bunch. 🙂

    • Thanks Jackie! Glad you’ve found Momondo to be helpful too! I did the Christmas day flight on a trip from Aus to the UK, and it was great too as there were no-one in the lounges – had the whole place to myself!

      Happy travels 🙂

  10. I’m going to look into Momondo. I don’t know if it’s set up for flights with UK as originating point, but worth a look. The other tips, I always mean to put these into play, looking at travel days of the week, when to book, but often fail spectacularly!

    • Hi Kavey – Momondo is a worldwide search engine, so it will definitely show you flights departing the UK 🙂

      Happy travels! Hope you manage to find some cheap flights!

  11. All great tips, especially separating tickets. I normally fly alone, but I hadn’t thought about the whole price category limited number of tickets. I’m adding that to my knowledge bank for the next time I’m searching for two or more tickets.

    • Absolutely – it’s a great little money saver if you’re booking for two or more people 🙂

  12. So true…I did do some research and on this and got my flight booked to Bangkok on a Tuesday midnight which got me the best deal. I also found that booking from the official website of the airlines is a little cheaper than booking from 3rd party sites.

    • Thanks for the tip on third party sites Gokul 🙂 We make it a habit to cheap with the airline directly, and then compare with third party sites and see which has the cheapest fare. Seems to vary – sometimes airlines with run deals for specific third party sites, sometimes they’ll run them on theirs. Always pays to compare!

  13. I had no idea about the 56 days and Tuesday as the best day to book! I now feel more privileged! 🙂 I did knew however the fact about the separate tickets. Already tried it and worked really well!
    Thank you for the tips!

    • Glad we could help you out! And happy to hear you’re already all over the separate tickets trick … that one can be a huge money saver sometimes!

  14. Thanks for the great tips! We usually end up flying out super early in the morning because it’s cheaper and looking at alternate airports is always a great idea. I never book tickets separately unless they are award redemptions–I’ll have to start looking into that more. Thanks!

    • You’re welcome Jenna! Definitely give the separate tickets trick a go for your next trip – it’s a sneaky way they sell the more expensive fare!

  15. Totally different and new tips. I didn’t know about 56 days. what a number 🙂 I am going to give it a try for my trip to Austria. I totally agree with you that the flights on Tuesday are cheaper, especially when you are flying in Europe.

    • Glad to hear that Mansoureh! Hit up the Momondo calendar calculator to figure out when 56 days in advance is … hopefully it saves you money for your Austria trip! 🙂

  16. This is interesting, I had never thought to try and search for tickets separately! I have done searches comparing one way flights to round trip though, and every once in awhile I luck out. Congrats to you for booking both on a Tuesday and 56 days out! Enjoy Antarctica!!

    • Separate tickets can be a really great hack sometimes – the difference between those saver fares and the regular cost can be quite substantial sometimes!

      Here’s to cheaper flights in 2017! Happy travels 🙂

  17. I’ve been doing most of your advice especially the separate the booking. I didn’t know about the Tuesday though. So, yeah, that is something I can consider for upcoming trips. I usually fall for sales. Now, I should be a little more patient and wait for the other airlines to counter offer.

    • Absolutely – next time you see a sale, wait around a day and by that stage the other airlines would have come out with counter offers 🙂

      Happy travels!

  18. Every one would like to save their money and without any doubt these all tips are the great to save more money on flight booking.

    Beside that i think festival season is also a good idea to get more discount on flight ticket booking.

    • Haven’t heard of festival season before – is this something which is specific to Cambodia?

  19. Nice tips! according to your tips next time, I will be checking this suggestion.If it is possible then its great idea.
    Thanks

    • Thanks Siya! Feel free to reach out as you’re booking your next flights if you have any questions 🙂

  20. So many great tips! I usually try the early dawn or late night flights and it has helped saved a lot. Got to know a few things that I will use next time! Thanks for this great post 🙂

    • Thanks Reshma! So glad you enjoyed the post, that the early dawn & late night flights also work for you. Happy travels! 🙂

  21. My lifesaver is flying on different days. I work an alternative schedule now so for the summer I am off Thursday to Saturday. This has helped a ton in saving $$ on flights for me. I had heard about the tuesday trick but I will try the 56 day thing!

    • Awesome Stephanie, yes, the alternative schedule definitely helps being able to fly on cheaper days. Enjoy your future trips! Hopefully the Tuesday / 56 day trick help cut costs even further 🙂

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