International plane tickets: How to score discounts

(Director’s note: Airline tickets are getting more expensive. Everyone is looking for ways to save money on international flights. Guest blogger Harry Wilson offers some examples with some handy links.)

When it comes to travel, one of the biggest expenses is international plane tickets. There are several ways to score big discounts. These include using discount coupon codes, booking in advance, taking advantage of early bird offers and looking for package deals through an airline consolidator. Additionally, travelers can also search for flights on lesser-known airlines or with fewer layovers. Let’s take a closer look at a few easy ways to get cheap international flights.

Book early (But not too early)

One of the best ways to save on your international flight is to book your ticket in advance. Airlines release tickets 11 months before the departure date, and prices are often at their lowest within the first few weeks of release. But remember: Airfares can be unpredictable, so keeping a close eye on ticket prices and snagging them when they hit rock bottom is crucial.

Be flexible with your dates

Be flexible with your travel dates. Flying on weekdays is often cheaper than flying on weekends, and you can also save by avoiding peak travel seasons. Utilizing tools like Google Flights or Skyscanner can help you compare prices across different dates and find the most budget-friendly options.

Use alerts and notifications

Sign up for fare alerts from Kayak, Airfarewatchdog and Skyscanner. These sites alert you when costs drop on the journey you want, ensuring that no deals slip by unnoticed.

Consider alternative airports

Don’t just focus on the major international airports. Sometimes flying into a smaller, nearby airport can be significantly cheaper. For instance, if you’re heading to Paris, consider flying into Brussels or Amsterdam and then taking a train to your final destination.

Miles and points

One of the best ways to save on international flights is to use airline miles or credit card points. Lots of credit cards give you sweet bonus points when you sign up, and these can be swapped for plane tickets. Joining an airline’s frequent flier program can also get you free miles for future flights. Don’t forget to follow your go-to airlines on social media. They often share exclusive deals and promos.

Use a VPN

Prices for international flights can vary based on your location. By using a VPN, you can change your location and access cheaper fares that might not be available in your home country.

Look for error fares

Airlines post error fares, tickets that are significantly discounted due to a mistake. These fares can be a great deal, but also can be limited in availability. It’s important to act quickly when you find an error fare, as the airline may correct the mistake quickly. Double-check that the ticket is valid before you book it. Websites like Secret Flying and Airfarewatchdog can help you spot these deals and take advantage of the incredibly low prices.

Check budget airlines

While they may not offer all the frills and comforts of traditional carriers, budget airlines can be a great way to save on international flights. They often have lower fares and more flexible booking policies, making them a great option for travelers on a budget. Additionally, they typically have fewer layovers, allowing you to get to your destination quicker. Just be sure to read the fine print and understand any additional fees that might apply.

Be patient and persistent

Finding the most affordable deal on an international flight requires patience and persistence. Prices can fluctuate, and deals can come and go quickly. Keep a close eye on ticket prices and be ready to jump on a sweet deal when it pops up.