Airfare is the most expensive component of a journey for the majority of travelers. While airfare prices have decreased in recent years, they can still severely dent any travel budget. Finding a cheap flight deal might make or break your trip whether you’re on a budget as a solo traveler or with family traveling abroad. After all, if the cost of your journey is prohibitive, you’re more likely to put it off. I’ve seen it happen far too often.

If you know where to look, many airlines offer amazing deals on flights every day–from mistakenly published rates to special promotions and slashed prices in order to compete with other carriers. Cheap fares exist and can help turn your travel dreams into a reality.

Do you want to know how to get the cheapest airfare possible? It’s easy – just follow these steps. Here’s what to do:

1. Be Flexible With Your Travel Dates

You can save a lot of money by being flexible with your travel dates. Airlines typically release their cheapest seats about three months in advance, so if you know where you want to go but not when, start checking prices around that time. Also, be aware of holidays and peak travel times when airfare will be at its priciest. The cost of airplane tickets change a lot depending on the time of year and holidays. For example, Christmas, New Year’s Eve, Thanksgiving, or the Fourth of July are all times when prices go up. If you’re looking to travel around Europe, August is typically a big month for traveling. Additionally, people usually want to go somewhere warm in the winter or during summer break when kids are out of school.

The most obvious reason to fly on Fridays is that you can save a lot of money by flying during the week. Furthermore, flights are frequently less expensive on Wednesdays than on weekends since most people travel on weekends and airlines raise their prices then. If you fly late at night or early in the morning, you’ll save money. Because fewer people want to go somewhere on Friday and Monday, these days are more costly.

Be observant of when you’re trying to travel- you will begin to become familiar with the trends.

2. Don’t Get Married to Your Desired Destination

In order to get the cheapest flight possible, you need to be flexible with either when you fly or where you fly. Ideally, it is best to be flexible with both, but if that’s not an option for you, choose one and be as flexible as possible. If you’re flexible when it comes to chosen destination, this will allow you to find some amazing flight deals.

If you’re looking for a cheap flight, sometimes it pays to be open-minded about your destination. If you have your heart set on going to Paris, but find a cheaper flight to Amsterdam, consider spending a few days in Amsterdam and then taking the train to Paris. Chances are it will still be cheaper than if you had booked a direct flight to Paris. The same goes for flying into smaller airports rather than major ones. It’s often cheaper to fly into an airport that’s further away from your desired destination and then take a bus or train into the city center.

3. Fly Cheaper Airlines

Everyone has heard horror stories about cheaper airlines. However, flight delays and issues tend to be inevitable at one point or another with all airlines. Cheaper airlines provide the opportunity for you to travel at a significant discount.

Some of the best airlines for finding cheap flights are Southwest Airlines, Ryanair, Wizz Air, Norwegian Air Shuttle, Breeze, and EasyJet. These airlines offer some incredible deals if you’re willing to fly with them. The team at 1-800-DISCOUNT TRAVEL has flown with all of these airlines before and have had great experiences with each one of them.

Keep in mind that when you fly with cheaper airlines, you might have to pay for additional services like baggage or seat selection. But even after adding those extras in, flying with a budget airline is still usually cheaper than flying with a major carrier.

4. Avoid Always Flying Direct

This is where doing a bit of detective work comes in. Being flexible with dates and locations, as well as the path you take, will help you obtain a cheap flight. For example, if you are flying to Mexico City from Washington D.C., it would be significantly cheaper to take a budget airline to a closer major city still in the U.S. like Dallas, Atlanta, or Houston. From there, you can purchase a ticket to your destination; and you are often saving hundreds with this method.

Find out how much it will cost to go directly to your final destination using this approach. Then, utilize your preferred flight search engine and input the continent of your intended stop to see rates for nearby airports. Look at how much it costs to get from the second airport to my primary destination (either by budget flight or train, if it’s not too far) if the difference is more than $150 USD. Keep notes while doing this; you will be surprised at the savings you could be reaping.

5. Use Points and Miles

If you’re set on traveling, the first thing you should do is sign up for a travel rewards card. Airline rewards programs are how avid travelers earn free flights and hotel stays along with plenty of other perks like flight upgrades, access to airport lounges, etc.

You should join a reward program whether you’re flying frequently or infrequently. You don’t have to do anything more than that. People earn over a million miles each year without even leaving the ground! That translates into many free flights (often in business class) for the entire family.

If you’re wise with your money and earn points and miles (travel hacking), you can go around the world for practically nothing (and frequently for free).

Let us know what your flight booking tips are!