Whether you are a digital nomad just starting out or you’ve been in the game for a while, don’t let airline costs scare you off from exploring the world. After all, visiting new places while keeping your day job is one of the best parts of being a digital nomad. We’re here to share some tips on finding cheap flights from where to look and budget hacks for your next flight.
1. Compare Search Engines
There are tons of booking sites out there and you may find a flight on multiple ones with differing costs. You may be wondering why flight costs vary on different airline search engines, basically, it depends on how much the price has been inflated for a commission.
The key to finding cheap flight tickets is to look at several search engines and make comparisons. There’s a lot to choose from and some have prices that are consistently higher than others.
Here are a few search engines worth looking at:
- Skyscanner searches major and budget airlines as well as English and non-English sites.
- Google Flights allows you to easily compare flight dates and destinations.
- Momondo features most airlines and often shows cheaper flights than other sites do.
- Hopper uses data-driven tools to predict when flights will be cheapest and help you find flight and hotel deals.
Searching specific airline sites can also be useful and sometimes that’s the most affordable option. As we mentioned, there are so many places to find flights so it’s always good to be open. Do your research for the best opportunities for cheap flight tickets!
Read More: If you’re looking for remote work income, check out our freelancer’s guide to finding writing jobs.
2. Be Flexible With Dates and Destinations
We know this isn’t always an option, but flexibility is key when it comes to cheap flights! Certain dates and destinations are going to cost more than others.
If it’s a popular time for travellers to visit a certain place then prices will inevitably be higher. Think supply and demand! Many sites like those listed above allow you to set your location for departure and select ‘the world’ or something similar as your destination. This shows you flights all over. If this sounds scary or if you have certain places in mind, just know that spots off the beaten track are some of the best!
Many search engines allow you to select ‘flexible dates’ as a filter and this will allow you to compare prices across the month.
Try not to book flights last minutes as they only get more expensive towards your date of departure. Booking a month ahead, though not always possible, makes a world of difference!
3. Get Cheap Flights Newsletters
When life gets busy, it can be hard to scour the internet for affordable flights. However, signing up for newsletters is great because you will get emails when cheap flight tickets are available right to your inbox.
You can sign up for specific airline newsletters, which is good for those you have miles with. Some airlines offer bonuses on miles. You can also receive information on deals from websites like secretflying.com which finds cheap flight tickets from any airline.
We also love Scott’s Cheap Flights which is a great website and free weekly newsletter that sends the best flight deals from your designated airports straight to your inbox. Most deals are 40-90% off normal prices and they focus on reputable airlines. They also have a premium newsletter with advance deals, special flight pricing errors, secret and premium deals, as well as discounted peak season flights.
This option may not help if you’re looking for a specific itinerary, but it can let you see what great deals are available. You never know what you can make work if it means going somewhere new at an impressive price!
4. Be Okay With Layovers
In life, sometimes convenience comes with a cost. This goes for flights, too. Direct flights mean less time spent travelling and we can be at our destination sooner rather than later. However, the price tag is typically higher on direct flights and lower for flights with a layover.
I’ve learned that layovers really aren’t that bad for a couple of reasons. Some people think it’s cheating, but stopping in a random city means I can add another location to my list of places I’ve been. It can also be nice to get off the plane and change up the scenery in a new airport especially if it’s a long travel day. And, you never know how cool a new airport might be or what tasty food it has to offer!
Sometimes, you can even spend a day in a new city and have a well-earned break in-between flights. Some airlines, in countries that are typically layover stops, even cater to tourists who are briefly stopping over and offer free tours of the city with pick-up and drop off at the airport and even free hotel stays.
Airline Free Stopover Deals:
- Iceland Air offers layovers in Iceland at no extra cost.
- Singapore Airlines offer amazing discounted layover packages which include hotel, transport, sim card, and attraction tickets from $35 and up.
- Emirates organize your entire layover in Dubai for you with exclusive rates and 24-hour hotel check-ins
- Turkish Airlines offer free 3.5 – 9 hour tours of Istanbul with pick-up and drop-off (note you need to be laying over for a minimum of six hours to account for check-in). Just sign up at international Arrivals.
Airports that offer a similar free tour system include: Seoul South Korea, Taipei Taiwan, Tokyo Japan, Doha Qatar, and Singapore to name a few. Basically, if you have a layover planned make sure to check you’re not missing out on a freebie!
- Air Canada offer anyone staying over for six hours or more offer a night in Montreal, Vancouver, or Toronto with no extra airfare and, sometimes, a free hotel. Doing this on a round-trip means you could see two major Canadian cities for free!
- Qatar Air offer a free night in a hotel if you choose to layover in Doha
5. Fly With Budget Airlines
When you’re trying to save some cash, budget airlines can be your best friend! Budget airlines are usually ‘no frills’, but they really aren’t all that bad. When booking with a budget airline, you may have less legroom and you may have to pay for extra luggage. However, the upside is that the flying experience usually isn’t bad at all and the money you save can be used once you get to your destination.
Special Tip: Sometimes budget airlines have fees for things that traditional airlines don’t such as luggage and in-flight food and drink. Read the fine print before booking and make sure you’re getting the value you’re looking for.
6. Book With Multiple Airlines
Many times when you are searching for flights, you’re only shown routes with one specific airline. If you’re taking a long flight that comes with layovers, it can be worth it to take the time to look at multiple airlines. By doing this, you can customize your flight route to ensure the best price. Sites like kiwi.com will actually do the work for you and find flight routes that may use multiple airlines for more affordable trips.
Tips for booking with multiple airlines:
It’s a great way to save money but if it says ‘self-transfer‘, while booking, make sure you have enough time in-between flights to go pick up your luggage and check-in again. Usually, the airlines will deal with this for you and there’s no fuss.
Note you will also have two different boarding passes, one for each flight so look after your second boarding pass!
If your first flight is delayed, in our experience, the pilot will usually be able to catch up during the flight and the connecting flight will almost always wait for everyone to arrive so don’t panic.
7. Build Up Points and Miles
If you plan to travel more than once or dream of becoming an avid traveller, using points and miles is an excellent way to fly without breaking the bank. There are two ways to do this:
- Use a credit card with rewards. Some credit cards that are also known as travel credit cards offer rewards that can be used towards flights. This will depend on where you are from and if you are a credit card user. If you aren’t, don’t worry because there’s another option for rewards!
- An ideal option for all is frequent flyer miles. These are miles that you build up over time when travelling with the same airline. This isn’t to say that you can only fly with one airline. It simply means that after you take so many flights with an airline, you essentially earn rewards that you can use towards future flights. Some great frequent flyer programs group a large number of airlines under one umbrella (such as Air France-KLM Flying Blue or Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer) you can earn points for flying with any of the major airlines listed.
The opportunity to explore the world is truly one of the best parts of remote work. You can spend your days off exploring stunning architecture in Tbilisi or checking out the nightlife in Zagreb. Making our way to cool, new places doesn’t have to cost everything we have! One great thing about traveling these days is that there are truly so many ways to find cheap flight tickets.
For more on saving money, read about budgeting tips for freelancers and digital nomads.