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6 Insider Tips to Find the Cheapest Flight Tickets

6 Insider Tips to Find the Cheapest Flight Tickets

The summer travel season is almost underway, with many individuals finalizing ideas for destinations they want to go to. By this time, many individuals are beginning to look into flights now that dates are becoming solidified and graduations are finalized. However, the trouble with booking flights isn’t finding the best times or destinations, but it lies in finding a flight for the best price. Flight costs fluctuate and the amazing deal you thought you scored on Monday could be nothing compared to Tuesday’s deal. Today, we will discuss six tips to finding amazing flight deals.

1. Timing is everything.

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    Timing is one of the biggest aspects of finding the cheapest airfare to what ever location you are intending on traveling to. There isn’t a special equation or formula to find out the best date; however, there is a combination of aspects that can lead to the best price. Preferably, you should look to book flights between 20 days and a month before your intended departure. If you are going abroad, three months is the optimal time to look for the best flight deals. When booking, Tuesdays are the key days to look into actually booking your flight and Wednesdays are key departure days. On Tuesdays, airlines refresh their prices and reductions are usually added.

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    2. Think outside of the engine.

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      Search engines are a great way to get a great idea of where your budget should be when purchasing plane tickets. However, they should not be your only option when looking for flight options. Many times, airline search engines connect with certain airlines to ensure that their flights are highlighted more than others. Additionally, in many cases, airlines like Southwest, an airline that is known to offer well discounted flights, aren’t included in the search engine. When you do check out search engines, look into websites like Skyscanner, Hipmunk, and Student Universe.

      3. Be flexible.

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        Flexibility is the key to getting the most optimal deals with air flights. As mentioned before, air flight prices fluctuate, and being able to have a variety of date choices will open you up to a cheaper ticket a day or two before what you were intending. In addition to flexibility with dates and times, you’ll open the possibilities to even greater deals through flexibility in the departure and arrival airports you’ll be flying through. If no adverse situations arise, flying in one airport and going home through enough works because it allows you to make a deal package, taking a bit of one airport or airline’s price and that of another.

        4. Is the deal worth It?

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          You might find that an airline is offering flights at ridiculously low rates. However, as the saying goes, if something is too good to be true, then chances are it possibly is. Most of the time, airlines that have super low ticket prices, make up for the low cost through high baggage fees and baggage policies with tons of loopholes. In the end, this traps the consumer into more money being spent that wasn’t outlined directly. It’s highly recommended to read the fine print when booking with airlines that are quite inexpensive. If you have a question about a certain fee or baggage specifications, ask but continue to be cautious. Inexpensive airlines with truthful rates and policies may still be unreliable with accurate takeoff times, putting you at risk or arriving to your destination late.

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          5. Discover pricing trends.

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            Despite the fact that airline plane prices can be unpredictable, you can make use of pricing calendars and other services that offer pricing trends as a way of getting a better idea of how pricing increases and decreases with certain airlines. Some services, including Bing and Kayak offer a feature that signals to you if it’s fine to wait to purchase the airline ticket or if you should purchase now before another significant increase to the flight cost. Use a mixture of services, discover a trend, and come up with your best prediction of whether or not to buy and when. Making use of email notifications for airline prices, using services like Farecompare, can allow you to get great airline steals as well.

            6. Become a frequent flyer.

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              Lastly, a great way to get the cheapest flight tickets is to look into joining the frequent flyer program through some airlines. In addition, looking into credit card rewards that offer an array of options to transfer points to airfare costs, you might also find that some credit cards offer great deals when you book in their exclusive airplane booking portal for credit card owners. Cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred as well as special credit cards through each specific airline, like Southwest or Delta, are where you’ll find the biggest bang for your buck.

              Let us know in the comments below what inside scoop you have to finding the cheapest airline tickets.

              Featured photo credit: BHM Pics via bhmpics.com

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              Last Updated on November 27, 2020

              How to Set Financial Goals and Actually Meet Them

              How to Set Financial Goals and Actually Meet Them

              Personal finances can push anyone to the point of extreme anxiety and worry. Easier said than done, planning finances is not an egg meant for everyone’s basket. That’s why most of us are often living pay check to pay check. But did anyone tell you that it is actually not a tough task to meet your financial goals?

              In this article, we will explore ways to set financial goals and actually meet them with ease.

              4 Steps to Setting Financial Goals

              Though setting financial goals might seem to be a daunting task, if one has the will and clarity of thought, it is rather easy. Try using these steps to get you started.

              1. Be Clear About the Objectives

              Any goal without a clear objective is nothing more than a pipe dream, and this couldn’t be more true for financial matters.

              It is often said that savings is nothing but deferred consumption. Therefore, if you are saving today, then you should be crystal clear about what it’s for. It could be anything, including your child’s education, retirement, marriage, that dream vacation, fancy car, etc.

              Once the objective is clear, put a monetary value to that objective and the time frame. The important point at this step of goal setting is to list all the objectives that you foresee in the future and put a value to each.

              2. Keep Goals Realistic

              It’s good to be an optimistic person but being a Pollyanna is not desirable. Similarly, while it might be a good thing to keep your financial goals a bit aggressive, going beyond what you can realistically achieve will definitely hurt your chances of making meaningful progress.

              It’s important that you keep your goals realistic, as it will help you stay the course and keep you motivated throughout the journey.

              3. Account for Inflation

              Ronald Reagan once said: “Inflation is as violent as a mugger, as frightening as an armed robber and as deadly as a hitman.” This quote sums up what inflation could do your financial goals.

              Therefore, account for inflation[1] whenever you are putting a monetary value to a financial objective that is far into the future.

              For example, if one of your financial goal is your son’s college education, which is 15 years from now, then inflation would increase the monetary burden by more than 50% if inflation is a mere 3%. Always account for this to avoid falling short of your goals.

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              4. Short Term Vs Long Term

              Just like every calorie is not the same, the approach to achieving every financial goal will not be the same. It’s important to bifurcate goals into short-term and long-term.

              As a rule of thumb, any financial goal that is due in next 3 years should be termed as a short-term goal. Any longer duration goals are to be classified as long-term goals. This bifurcation of goals into short-term vs long-term will help in choosing the right investment instrument to achieve them.

              By now, you should be ready with your list of financial goals. Now, it’s time to go all out and achieve them.

              How to Achieve Your Financial Goals

              Whenever we talk about chasing any financial goal, it is usually a two-step process:

              • Ensuring healthy savings
              • Making smart investments

              You will need to save enough and invest those savings wisely so that they grow over a period of time to help you achieve goals.

              Ensuring Healthy Savings

              Self-realization is the best form of realization, and unless you decide what your current financial position is, you aren’t heading anywhere.

              This is the focal point from where you start your journey of achieving financial goals.

              1. Track Expenses

              The first and the foremost thing to be done is to track your spending. Use any of the expense tracking mobile apps to record your expenses. Once you start doing it diligently, you will be surprised by how small expenses add up to a sizable amount.

              Also categorize those expenses into different buckets so that you know which bucket is eating most of your pay check. This record keeping will pave the way for cutting down on un-wanted expenses and pumping up your savings rate.

              If you’re not sure where to start when tracking expenses, this article may be able to help.

              2. Pay Yourself First

              Generally, savings come after all the expenses have been taken care of. This is a classic mistake when setting financial goals. We pay ourselves last!

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              Ideally, this should be planned upside down. We should be paying ourselves first and then to the world, i.e. we should be taking out the planned saving amount first and manage all the expenses from the rest.

              The best way to actually implement this is to put the savings on automatic mode, i.e. money flowing automatically into different financial instruments (mutual funds, retirement accounts, etc) every month.

              Taking the automatic route will help release some control and compel us to manage what’s left, increasing the savings rate.

              3. Make a Plan and Vow to Stick With It

              Learning to create a budget is the best way to get around the uncertainty that financial plans always pose. Decide in advance how spending has to be organized

              Nowadays, several money management apps can help you do this automatically.

              At first, you may not be able to stick to your plans completely, but don’t let that become a reason why you stop budgeting entirely.

              Make use of technology solutions you like. Explore options and alternatives that let you make use of the available wallet options, and choose the one that suits you the most. In time, you will get accustomed to making use of these solutions.

              You will find that they make it simpler for you to follow your plan, which would have been difficult otherwise.

              4. Make Savings a Habit and Not a Goal

              In the book Nudge, authors Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein advocate that, in order to achieve any goal, it should be broken down into habits since habits are more intuitive for people to adapt to.

              Make savings a habit rather than a goal. While it might seem to be counterintuitive to many, there are some deft ways of doing it. For example:

              • Always eat out (if at all) during weekdays rather than weekends. Weekends are more expensive.
              • If you are a travel buff, try to travel during off-season. You’ll spend significantly less.
              • If you go shopping, always look out for coupons and see where can you get the best deal.

              The key point is to imbibe the action that results in savings rather than on the savings itself, which is the outcome. Focusing on the outcome will bring out the feeling of sacrifice, which will be harder to sustain over a period of time.

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              5. Talk About It

              Sticking to the saving schedule (to achieve financial goals) is not an easy journey. There will be many distractions from those who are not aligned with your mission.

              Therefore, in order to stay the course, surround yourself with people who are also on the same bandwagon. Daily discussions with them will keep you motivated to move forward.

              6. Maintain a Journal

              For some people, writing helps a great deal in making sure that they achieve what they plan.

              If you are one of them, maintain a proper journal, where you write down your goals and also jot down the extent to which you managed to meet them. This will help you in reviewing how far you have come and which goals you have met.

              When you have a written commitment on paper, you are going to feel more energized to follow the plan and stick to it. Moreover, it is going to be a lot easier for you to track your progress.

              Making Smart Investments

              Savings by themselves don’t take anyone too far. However, savings, when invested wisely, can do wonders.

              1. Consult a Financial Advisor

              Investment doesn’t come naturally to most of us, so it’s wise to consult a financial advisor.

              Talk to him/her about your financial goals and savings, and then seek advice for the best investment instruments to achieve your goals.

              2. Choose Your Investment Instrument Wisely

              Though your financial advisor will suggest the best investment instruments, it doesn’t hurt to know a bit about the common ones, like a savings account, Roth IRA, and others.

              Just like “no one is born a criminal,” no investment instrument is bad or good. It is the application of that instrument that makes all the difference[2].

              As a general rule, for all your short-term financial goals, choose an investment instrument that has debt nature, for example fixed deposits, debt mutual funds, etc. The reason for going for debt instruments is that chances of capital loss is less compared to equity instruments.

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              3. Compounding Is the Eighth Wonder

              Einstein once remarked about compounding:

              “Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it… He who doesn’t… Pays it.”

              Use compound interest when setting financial goals

                Make friends with this wonder kid. The sooner you become friends with it, the quicker you will reach closer to your financial goals.

                Start saving early so that time is on your side to help you bear the fruits of compounding.

                4. Measure, Measure, Measure

                All of us do good when it comes to earning more per month but fail miserably when it comes to measuring the investments and taking stock of how our investments are doing.

                If we don’t measure progress at the right times, we are shooting in the dark. We won’t know if our saving rate is appropriate or not, whether the financial advisor is doing a decent job, or whether we are moving closer to our target.

                Measure everything. If you can’t measure it all yourself, ask your financial advisor to do it for you. But do it!

                The Bottom Line

                Managing your extra money to achieve your short and long-term financial goals

                and live a debt-free life is doable for anyone who is willing to put in the time and effort. Use the tips above to get you started on your path to setting financial goals.

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                Featured photo credit: Micheile Henderson via unsplash.com

                Reference

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