A penny saved is a penny earned! Whether it’s leisure travel or business trip, economy or first class – if you are looking for reducing your travel budget, you have come to the right place. Here are some proven “how to book cheap flights” hacks.

Book over a phone: Most of the OTAs (Online Travel Agencies) display their fares and expect you to book your flights online. The automation helps them save their operational expense as no human intervention is involved. Though they claim their airfares to be the best, there is always a scope for bargaining. Speaking directly to a customer care representative can help. There is always a bottom price that travel experts are informed of and can offer the price if they think there is a risk of losing a customer.

Do not hesitate to say NO: When you learn to decline an offer, you deliver a message to the travel agency or agent without saying anything further. “I have better choices than yours.” That said, the opponent is left with either of the two options: Refuse or compromise. Even if they choose to go with the first, you have nothing to lose because that minimum is assured. No matter how lucrative an airfare looks to be – don’t be in rush. While getting cheap flight tickets remains your priority, agencies do have their priority – make the most of their customer acquisition cost. Earning more profit is a good way to compensate it, but customer abandonment will only erode the ROI.

Subscribe to multiple agencies: As part of their sales and marketing endeavor, travel agencies often release flight promo codes to get more customers. If you travel frequently or are planning a vacation, it’s good to subscribe to the flight booking websites. Most of the travel operators send personalized deals based on the user’s search behavior on their website. If you feel overwhelmed with irrelevant emails, you can manage or terminate the subscription anytime.

Book your flights early: It is a good idea and pays off. For domestic flights, start hunting for good fare about 6 weeks in advance and for international flights, as early as 20 weeks. There are several options: travel agencies, airlines, flight search engines, and also aggregators. Luckily, all are just a click away. Compare airfare and fare rules and save more with the most competitive fare.

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Be a smart consumer: Understand the untold or hidden things of the fare rules. If your travel plan is tentative, it’s always good to opt for a flexible fare. It comes at a bit higher value but it’s worth shelling out extra to safeguard the rest of the money. Remember, the promotional fares are always restricted ones and in case of any travel date change, you may find it difficult to get a new ticket. In the majority of the cases, customers lose their whole fare money.

Be flexible: Being flexible with your airline, travel date, time, day of the week, flight duration, and airport (departure, arrival, and connection) is the best way to get cheap flight tickets. If you are traveling on special occasions like New Year, 4th of July, Christmas, etc., the flexibility may help you save big. However, a trade-off between the airfare and accommodation rental should also be kept in mind. For example, if you arrive at your destination by evening, you have no choice but to take refuge in a hotel. You might have saved on the flight but what if that saved money goes into hotel rental? You could have avoided the expense with a morning arrival.

Avoid peak season: High Vs Shoulder Vs Low Vs Worst – the fares vary by season as the demand changes. Reading the London Seasons, you can see a visit to the destination between June and August (summer) is going to be more expensive than that between September and October. Though by climate, December through February is not so comfortable, festivals and New Year celebrations keep London occupied and so are the airlines and travel agencies.

Choose under-rated destination: Bangkok, London, Paris, and Dubai, Vs Nafplio (Greece), Bruges (Belgium), Liverpool (England), Malaga (Spain). Top Vs Under-rated – the difference in airfare is obvious. If visiting some special places or attractions is not on your card, planning a vacation to a less-popular destination is a good idea to keep a cap on your travel expense. You do not just save in terms of airfare but also on accommodation, food, and other experiences.

Save with the right payment option: Sometimes, you can bag discounts by paying for your tickets with a specific payment card. There are also ways to redeem the reward and earn reward points on your flight shopping. At times, you may not get benefits on the fare, but you may earn free check-in baggage. Capitalize the opportunity, if there is an option to do so and you have the relevant payment card. Managing multiple cards seems to be an annoying experience but it can be helpful at times by contributing to your savings.

Fly from or arrive at a less popular airport: If there are multiple departure or arrival airport options, have a comparative analysis of the fare with the flights available with different departure-arrival pairs of airports. It works. However, take into consideration the ground transport time and expenses too.

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