8 Money-Saving Expert Tips From A Cheap Flight-Booking Pro

PHoto: Getty Images.
We all deserve a vacation every once and a while, but sometimes simply catching a quick glimpse of plane ticket prices can be enough to make us snap our laptops shut. According to Scott Keyes, founder of Scott's Cheap Flights — a service that sends cheap airline ticket alerts to users — we don't have to waste our vacation days in the name of saving money. There are plenty of ways for travelers to find affordable rates on flights to dream destinations.
Some of Keyes' best tips for booking cheap flights draw on pieces of age-old air travel advice, while others we've never heard before. His tricks involve both embracing common sense when searching for flight deals and going against it. Take a look ahead to read them all, then decide which ones could work for you. Time to finally use those vacation days to their fullest potential.
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illustrated by Bella DiMarzio.
Book ASAP

"Flight prices tend to spike in the last few weeks before departure, so don't wait until the last minute to book. [For fall early trips,] booking by mid-August will likely be hundreds of dollars cheaper than waiting until late August or early September."
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illustrated by Bella DiMarzio.
Last-Minute Bargains No Longer Exist

"For years, airlines would slash prices on last-minute flights in order to fill unsold seats. After all, once the plane door closes, any unsold seat is lost revenue. But about 20 years ago, they started to realize that most of the people booking last-minute flights weren't vacation travelers, but business travelers. Business travelers don't care what the fare is since the company pays anyway, so nowadays airlines tend to jack up the price in the weeks leading up to departure rather than slash the price."
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Illustrated By Bella Dimarzio.
Remember 24-Hour Cancellation

"There's a little-known but important trick travelers can use if they find an exceptionally good fare: the 24-hour rule. Federal regulation requires that airlines give consumers a 24-hour grace period after booking to cancel their flights without any penalty. (After that grace period airlines typically charge $150 or more to cancel an itinerary.) So if you find a great fare but aren't 100% sure you'll want it, you can lock in the price by booking and then decide in the next 24 hours if you want to keep it or not."

"There are a couple important caveats for the 24-hour rule: you have to book directly with the airline rather than an online travel agency, and it can't be for travel in the next 7 days."
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illustrated by Bella DiMarzio.
Where To Search

"Google Flights. Though relatively new, it's quickly become the fastest and most powerful flight meta-search engine available."
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illustrated by Bella DiMarzio.
Invert Your Search Process

"If you’re like most people, this is how you approach getting a flight: Step 1, pick where you want to go. Step 2, pick your dates. Step 3, see what prices are available. By making price the third priority, it’s no surprise that it results in expensive flights. Instead, if you want to get cheap flights, make it your top priority. Step 1, see where the cheapest flights are. Step 2, of the cheap options, choose where you want to go. Step 3, pick one of the available cheap dates to your destination."
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illustrated by Bella DiMarzio.
Be Flexible

"Whenever possible, be flexible with where and when you travel. If you’ve picked out your destination, picked out your dates, and don’t have any flexibility with either, 95% of what you can do to bring down the cost of airfare is already out the window. Sometimes minor adjustments are all that’s needed. For instance, flights departing on a Friday might cost $600 roundtrip, while flights departing on a Saturday might drop to $400 roundtrip. Or flights out of JFK are expensive for a particular route but flights out of LGA are cheap. Sometimes flights to Paris are cheaper than flights to Rome, and sometimes they aren’t. The more flexibility you have, the better your odds for finding a cheap flight."
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illustrated by Bella DiMarzio.
Check Southwest & Skiplagged

"Especially if you're traveling domestically, be sure to search Southwest.com separately because Southwest flights don’t show up on any flight search engines. You can also find some cheap hidden fares on Skiplagged, but be sure to read up there on the basics of hidden city ticketing so you know what’s involved."
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illustrated by Bella DiMarzio.
Don't Bother Clearing Your Cookies

"Despite popular opinion, it doesn't do a damn thing to lower flight prices."
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