If you’re anything like me, then you’d probably like to travel as economically and efficiently as possible. If this is the case, than the number one thing you must understand is Flexibility. This may or may not work for all of you, but before you skip on to the next section detailing on how to find the lowest cheap flights or the lowest trending flights, here are a few things to consider regarding to Flexibility:
- You must be flexible with the time of day you travel. Obviously, if you have a set schedule where you must attend a wedding or a meeting at a specific time, than this will most likely not work for you. Trending will not help you find the lowest fares for a specific time slot. If, on the other hand, you do not have a set schedule; all you know is that you want to go to (insert destination here), and it doesn’t matter what time you arrive, than trending will definitely benefit you in this scenario. As you search, you will notice that typically red-eye and early morning flights are the cheapest flights. In my opinion, these are the best flights to fly on. You can sleep on the plane without having to waste a full day flying during daylight hours, when you could be sightseeing instead.
- You must be flexible on the days you travel on. Again, if you have a set schedule, trending will not help you maximize your savings on finding the cheapest flights. As you start searching, you’ll start to notice price trends during peak versus off-peak seasons, weekdays vs weekends, and summer vs winter rates depending on your destination. Because certain days are less popular dates to travel on, for the vast majority, less people means cheaper flights and less wait time. For example, most people travel from Friday or Saturday during their days off. For majority of the airlines, anytime you book a flight on weekends, you will notice that flights are almost always more expensive to fly on Friday rather than a Wednesday. To ensure that you find the lowest airfare, be opened to leaving and returning on any day of the week.
- You must be flexible with the destination you chose to travel to. Don’t be dead set on flying into a particular airport. Research the surrounding airports and fly into whichever one is the cheapest. You’d be surprised at how much you can save by doing this. If you plan on renting a car anyway, why not book an airport a little bit further away, and as a result, save a couple hundred dollars? For example, if you’re looking into visiting the Golden Gate Bridge, don’t be dead set on flying into SFO. Look into flying into OAK as well. Flying into Oakland rather than San Francisco, will take you an extra 10 minutes to get to the bridge, but may save you a couple hundred dollars. From my personal experience, I’ve flown into Oakland from Las Vegas for $68 round-trip and saved over $200 dollars from avoiding SFO altogether. Although I didn’t rent a car, we did take the BART from Oakland Airport straight to San Francisco for less than $10.00. I’ve calculated that this only took an additional 15 minutes to get to the pier from OAK rather than SFO. In my opinion, It was well worth the 15 minute detour to save over $200.