When I Wander Travel inspiration so you can wander too.
southwest sunset

Take Off Without Breaking the Bank: Insider Tips to Find Cheap Flights

Finding Cheap Flights

By now, I’m sure you’ve heard of Scott’s Cheap Flights where you can pay for an annual subscription to be alerted to the best flight deals throughout the year.  Did you know that Scott recently released an Ultimate Guide to Finding Cheap Flights in 2022?  We use some of the same tips to get amazing prices.

Most people I have discussed travel with do the same thing, they pick the dates based on when they are off or would like to be off without checking to see if those are actually good dates for where they want to go.

finding cheap flights

Keep in mind that some links are paid affiliate links. When you buy through these links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.  Any opinions expressed are not impacted by this.

Top 5 Things You Should Do to Find Cheap Flights to Anywhere

  1. To get the best deal, you either pick the date or you pick the place.

If you pick the date – go to Google Flights or Momondo (my 2 favorites) and see where you can go and how much it will cost.

If you pick the place – go find out when are the best dates to travel for the best deals, you can even choose by length of stay.  Play with the tools!

If you pick the dates and the place, well, you’re going wherever your budget allows at the time of your booking. Learn more about how to use Google Flights.

Find great last-minute deals on flights Flight Guru!
  1. Travel on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, or Saturdays. (Check the other days too because sometimes you win but start with these.)
  2. Avoid peak travel times – Summer & Holidays. Everyone else is on vacation, too. You’re better off planning a family vacation in late August rather than early August.  You’d be surprised how much the crowds thin out by then.
  3. If you see an amazing deal, book it! It will be gone if you “think it over till tomorrow”.  Use the 24-hour cancel policy if necessary, it’s free if traveling to or from the United States.
  4. Use the fare alerts on Kayak, Google Flights, or SkyScanner to let you know when your dream trip price has dropped.

What About Budget Airlines?

So, you’ve heard horror stories about Spirit, Frontier, Allegiant, Sun Country, and more.  But, you saw a really low price that is tempting and now you’re wondering is it worth it?  Well, that depends.

Budget Airlines minimize their costs and pass on savings to customers.  By cashing in on a low priced airfare, you are probably giving up things like larger seatroom, free drinks and snacks, free carry-on, change fees and other restrictions that could add up quickly as additional costs. Choosing the best budget airlines can be tricky as it could depend on what airlines are most accessible to your home airport.  There are as many complaints about airlines as there are decisions to make when choosing one.

Personally, I love all planes that get me where I’m going, the extras are just that – extras!  Get me there for the best price and I’m very happy.  Here’s how I navigate budget airfares with a large family traveling while considering the most frequent complaints:

  • You may have to split up the purchase to get the lowest price on a few tickets if tickets for the entire party are not available at the lower fare.  When we traveled as 7 people going from Orlando to San Francisco on Frontier, only 5 tickets could be purchased at the lowest price.  
  • To increase the chance of getting seats assigned together, check-in online or on the app exactly at 24 hours before departure.  It has always worked like a charm and we have never been split up with seats all over the plane.  Most people either don’t know or forget.
  • Booked a budget airline that only allows a free personal bag?  Carefully measure your bags to fit that measurement and then use packing cubes plus the rolled method.  You can fit a week’s clothing in a backpack when done properly – I promise!  Add one checked bag, use that for toiletries, shoes, and overflow. Now, you don’t have to worry about pulling out the toiletry bag either.
  • Proper budget packing means you need 3 things: packing cubes, a luggage scale, and a backpack that fits under the seat.  You don’t want to be surprised at the bag check that your bag is 2 lbs heavier and now costs $40+ more or go digging through all of your belongings looking to lighten the load.

finding cheap flights,frontier status,cheap flights to anywhere,momondo cheap flights,best budget airlines,best days to fly,amex platinum travel credit,find cheap flights
  • Bring an empty, refillable water bottle and fill it up after you go through TSA at the airport. Now, you won’t be thirsty nor will you need to buy drinks on your flight.  You could also pack a packet of Crystal Light to make your water more interesting.
  • Expect the unexpected when traveling by purchasing insurance and using credit cards that have travel protections.  A little help goes a long way in dealing with unexpected issues.

Best Places to Go on Cheap Flights in 2022

Due to the abundance of hubs and low cost carriers, you’ll be able to find great fares going to these destinations.  With good timing and a little research, you should be able to have a great time finding off-the-beaten path places to explore even in the busiest locations.

Ultimate Hack in Booking Budget Airfares

Are you ready for this one?  Here it is.  December 2021, Frontier offered a status match to several hotels and airlines loyalty programs for $50.  If you had Hilton Diamond, then you could get matched to Frontier’s Elite 50K. This would provide the following benefits:  

  • Carry-on
  • Seat Assignment
  • Family Pooling
  • Priority Boarding
  • Waived Redemption Fees
  • Last Seat Availability
  • Stretch Seating
  • Family Seating (great for us families traveling together!!!)
  • 50% off Discount Den membership
  • 1.25X mileage multiplier

Then, if you got approved, you might’ve even received an offer for $200 to upgrade to the Elite 100K status which would also provide:

  • FREE Discount Den membership
  • 1.5X multiplier
  • Checked bags
  • Family Status (the Works bundle when booking)

Was it worth it? I think so! Here’s my case study:

Family of 5 traveling from Orlando to Las Vegas

5 tickets purchased for $219 during a sale on nonstop flights.

  • Took 2 checked bags, 5 carry-ons, booster seat, plus personal items including backpacks with laptops and tablets. Paid $0 extra. Yes, $0.  
  • All seats together, within the first 3 rows (stretch seating).
  • Priority Boarding group 1.

I checked the discount den on 5 tickets to Chicago for April and it was under $150 at the time.  Definitely worth it!

The status match offer has ended but go ahead and register so you’ll be the first to know the next time it opens up again.  

And if you have the Amex Platinum, guess what? Those fees count towards the $200 airline credit if you have chosen your airline as Frontier before purchase.  Learn more about Amex Platinum benefits to help with your travels.

The big question now is, where to wander next?

error: Content is protected !!