There’s a general misconception that travelers have deep pockets. Walai, we aren’t wealthy. At least most of us.
Some family members are still upset we didn’t buy that overpriced asoebi. Our buddies chaffed because we didn’t attend their expensive dinner date – there is rice at home. We prioritize our spending, save a lot and have mastered the art of scoring cheap flight tickets.
I recently bought a multi-destination ticket from Zimbabwe to Kenya then Tanzania to Johannesburg for $394. When compared to the typical price of about $740, I bagged a pretty awesome deal. Regardless of your departure city, the strategies below will show you how to buy cheaper flight tickets and save your bank account from some serious damage
Where are you going?
If you’re struck with a serious bout of wanderlust with no definite destination in mind, then hop on Kiwi.com. Enter your departure city, select a date range and the site generates average cost to different countries.
Now you have an idea of which destinations are most cost effective.
When to buy
Buy too early, you might miss out on great deals. Wait too long and you’re doomed to last minute sky-high fares.
What then is the best shopping window? Don’t be frustrated just yet, I’ve got great news. Studies show that 5 months or 30 days before departure is your best bet.
In the travel community Monday, Wednesday and Saturday are rumored to be the cheapest days to fly, but a lot of times this tip is ineffective. I advise you get a broad visual of fare prices for the whole month – Skyscanner.net to the rescue.
Another rule of thumb is to avoid the holiday periods; prices usually rise when kids are out of school.
Where to buy
When it comes to search engines for flights Skyscanner and Momondo are the gospel. Remember to go incognito during your search because a lot of sites track with cookies then raise the fare with each new search. I mean go full on stealth mode: use a private/incognito tab or clear your history.
There’s also a significant price drop when you select the busiest airports in your departure or arrival country.
Bear in mind that budget airlines are a risky choice for connections. Fastjet left me to shoulder the financial consequences of a delay in Harare. Don’t be like Susan. Remember to read airline policies concerning delays and cancellation before handing over your hard earned money.
Lastly, give yourself ample time for plane switch, twelve hour layovers are usually the safest. Don’t be that person running through the airport, backpack in tow (sounds like me right? I make all these bad decisions so you don’t have to. Thank me, don’t judge).
Join a Loyalty Program
Earn sufficient miles to redeem rewards – free flights being one of them – by joining the frequent flier programs of a few airlines. Preferably those that are members of these three different airline alliances:
Kenya Airways (SkyTeam)
South African Airways (Star Alliance)
Qatar Airways (Oneworld)
I joined FlyingBlue, a kenya Airways loyalty program under the SkyTeam alliance. With SkyTeam I can redeem my miles for free flights on any other member airline.
So there you have it, these are my go to strategies. Do you have some tried & tested techniques to save big on flights? Feel free to share in the comments.