5 ways to save on your flight

So you’ve reserved a coveted spot on a Cross-Cultural Solutions volunteering extravaganza. Now you have to get yourself there. As luck would have it, I'm sort of an expert in the art of finding cheap flights, and I’m here to give you a few tips on how you can be, too.

1. Use a farecaster
This is like a little genie that predicts the best time to buy your flight. Farecasters base their information on historical data and trends. Their advice looks something like this: “We’re 60% confident you should buy now” or “We’re 66% confident you should wait.” This gives you some idea of the direction flight prices are headed. One example of a farecasting site is Bing Travel.

2. Use a flight aggregator
Instead of checking the website of every singe airline, get a website like Hipmunk or Kayak to do all the work for you. Just type in your route and when you’d like to go—you can get this from your Program Site Specialist—and these sites give you a full listing of the options. Hipmunk even offers fun ways to sort like by “agony” or “layover” so that you can figure out what works best for you.

3. Set up a fare alert
Kayak and Hipmunk also both offer this great option. Tell them where and when you want to go, and they email you each day with price changes for your route. This way, if you see fares going up, you know it’s time to buy (unless your farecaster says “Wait,” or you’re really good at roulette). Here's a fare alert that I like to use. Give it a try, and explore some other options that are out there to figure out which you prefer.

4. Check if your credit card offers points or miles
Many credit cards these days offer a little bonus for your allegiance. Check and see if you’re sitting on a bunch of miles or points. This could mean a free airline ticket or a free portion of your flight. If you’re not sure, call the number on the back of your credit card. It never hurts to ask!

5. Always join frequent flyer clubs
Frequent flyer programs are clubs set up by airlines to reward repeat customers and to encourage loyal ticket-buying. It’s free, so if you don’t join, you’re leaving change on the table. It’s a slow way to earn a free flight, but sometimes one sneaks up on you (especially if you travel for work) and it would be a shame not to use it. Also be aware of partner airlines—KLM and Delta for instance are both on the SkyTeam. This means their points are transferable—I hope you’re listening Tanzania volunteers, as this is one of the more common routes to get to Tanzania! United and Air India are in the same alliance—the Star Alliance. You get the idea. So make sure to check!

That’s it for now. Anyone else have a tip? Tell us on Facebook.


Here's another cool site to add to the list. They've got some great options, including a newly launched flight finder that let's you search by airport, city, country, or even by travel experience. I haven't tried it out yet, so please post if you've taken it for a spin! www.getgoing.com
Posted at 2:47pm on May 10th, 2013
That looks awesome! thanks, alexis!
Posted at 8:30pm on May 10th, 2013
@philGossett - happy to help!
Posted at 12:01pm on May 22nd, 2013
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