Considering airfare is one of the most - if not the most - expensive part of any trip abroad, finding the right flight can be just as important as finding the right destination.
We've all experienced the tiresome, lengthy searching that comes with booking a vacation, and with countless search engines and constantly fluctuating prices, the approach to frugal flight booking can be, let's face it, totally and completely overwhelming. So how do you book the cheapest flight possible in the easiest way possible? Take it from someone who's been travelling the world for five years: It's simple. And once you get the hang of it, you'll be booking all of your long-haul flights this way.
Before we get to the good stuff, the first tip that I always tell future flyers is to find the cheapest date. Many theories exist around booking specifically on a Tuesday to save money, and while this can be true, it's not always consistent. Most of the time it is cheaper to leave on a weekday, so try looking at a departure date between Monday and Friday first. You can do this by hopping on Skyscanner, selecting "one-way" (even if you're flying round trip, just to determine the cheapest day to fly out), and then - if you're flexible with your dates - selecting "whole month" or "cheapest month" to easily see which date has the best price.
Once you have your date down, figure out where your stopovers are and book them yourself - separately. If you're flying from somewhere that involves a connection, like Canada to Australia, which typically involves a stop in LA or Vancouver, it's almost always cheaper to book these two legs separately on your own. So instead of booking Toronto-Vancouver-Sydney together in one swift click, book Toronto-Vancouver and then Vancouver-Sydney individually. Just remember to leave enough time between connecting flights.
Earlier this year, I booked with a budget airline from Bali to London and then London to Toronto and saved over $300. I've also managed to save $400 flying one-way from Sydney to Manila, Philippines and then booking another one-way onto Toronto.
It might sound like hard work, but the research is often worth the savings. And you can even create a thrifty one, two or three-day (or more!) stopover in another country. It's less exhausting than a 6-hour layover in an airport and much more exciting. I managed to stay for one week in London and four days in Manila thanks to the savings I made!
If extensive research isn't your thing, you'll need the help of a specialized search engine like AirWander. All you have to do is put in your origin, final destination and the number of days you want to stopover. The website will then return a list of places you can visit on your stopover, often at a cheaper price than a regular flight.
Just look at some of the options below:
There are plenty of other tricks you can use along with this, like not waiting to buy, checking to see if your flight is cheaper in other currencies and searching in "incognito" or "private browser" mode. But if you're looking to get the absolute cheapest price on your long-haul flight, always, always, always look to buy your connecting flights separately. It will save you hundreds, and you'll be thankful when you're spending it on a scuba dive, a trek through the mountains, or a few dozen cocktails on the beach.