Home General Travel Tips Our Secrets to Finding Cheap Flights – Real Tips for Real Travel Savings

Our Secrets to Finding Cheap Flights – Real Tips for Real Travel Savings

written by familyadhd

This Post May Contain Affiliate Links

Tips for Finding Cheap Flights

How We Find Cheap Tickets for a Family of Four

*We’re letting you in on some of our tips here, but we’ve been working for months to create comprehensive courses to help families (and individuals) reach their travel goals faster. Our first one will be launching soon!*

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Hands-down one of the top questions we’re regularly asked both online and in “real” life is how we can afford to travel so much with a family of four.

Here’s the thing, we aren’t independently wealthy and we don’t have an excess of money. In fact, when our kids were much smaller we were counting every last penny between all of the specialists, therapies and testing our kiddos had to undergo!

While things may be a bit different now, our kids are no longer in need of nearly as much medical attention, we are still an average family budgeting to live in an expensive country with the goal of traveling as frequently and as extensively as possible.

 

What’s our real secret?

The secret is … we work hard to travel! But not just at our jobs, we work hard to make travel possible for our family within the limits of our income and expenses.

The truth is, a lot goes into enabling us to travel as much as we do (it’s a lot of work to do so), but we thought it was time we dedicate some time to sharing our real tips for saving on travel–especially when traveling with multiple people. Let’s be serious, saving $100 on a flight for one person is great, but saving hundreds on each family memeber is often the difference between going and not going. That savings can be used towards your budget for your hotel, food, etc. It really makes a difference!

One of the top ways we make frequent travel possible for our family is to spend a decent amount of time hunting for cheap flights. As soon as you have to purchase flights for not just you and your partner but for multiple kids, travel begins to feel less possible. But it doesn’t have to!  We’re about to share our secrets and the tools we use to find cheap airfare for the first time and they’re real tips that anyone can use if they’re willing to spend some extra time to save substantial money on airfare.

I’m not going to lie to you, unless you’re very lucky it generally takes a decent amount of work to score cheap flights, but if traveling is a priority to you (or you simply have a bucket list destination you want to take the family to) I think it’s worth it! At the end of this article I’m going to walk you through a real-life scenario utilizing all of these tips so you can see how I implement them.

The Proof is in the Pudding … or Flight Confirmation

Just about anyone can save a little money on airfare if they put a few minutes into searching, but saving a substantial amount is a totally different game. I’ve spent years researching and looking for ways to make travel more cost-effective for us and while there’s always more to learn, I’ve got some effective tips to help you start saving now.

Want proof? Using our tips, I recently booked roundtrip flights to Indonesia for our family for $552.36 per person from the East Coast. Trips from the East Coast to Indonesia often average around $900-$1400 per person. That’s a huge savings!

This wasn’t a one-time thing, we’ve saved on almost every flight we’ve taken for a while now and we want to share how we do this with you!

How to Find Cheap Flights

This is screenshot of our actual flight confirmation email!

If you hadn’t already guessed, I’m (Doria/mom) the travel coordinator in our family. Generally, organization and spending long periods of dedicated time to something that isn’t hyper-engaging isn’t a strong suit of ADHD, so while Patrick and the boys love to travel with me, the planning falls to me!

Tip 1: Flexible Dates

One of the top ways we’ve managed to get such great airfare deals over the years is that we’ve kept our dates flexible. Sometimes you can save a substantial amount by traveling in a different month or even extending a trip by a day or two. The more flexible you are with your dates, the better!

Tip 2: Flexible Airports

Yes, it may seem a little inconvenient to depart from an airport or fly into an airport that’s a little out of the way, but we’ve saved hundreds (sometimes around 50%) by flying into or out of airports that were a little out of the way. When traveling domestically, it’s sometimes smaller international or regional airports with regular routes between two destinations that have the best rates.

Tip 3: Compare Booking Separate Flights vs. Continuous Flights

This is not always the most convenient option, but it can be the cheapest. Sometimes it’s cheaper to take advantage of cheap flights to a destination somewhat near where you want to go and then book a separate flight between that destination and where you ultimately want to end up.

Tip 4: Set an Ideal Airfare Budget Goal

Do a little research and see what airfares are averaging for the route(s) you plan to take. Then, set a goal for what you’d like to actually pay for that route. Be realistic in the sense that aside from finding airline mistake fares, you’re not going to be able to fly from the East Coast to Australia for $100 (wouldn’t that be nice?). Generally, I’ll calculate the average cost for a trip to wherever we’re going (airfare, hotel, food, activities, etc.), look at the average cost of airfare to that destination and then set a goal for an airfare budget based on what I’d ideally and realistically be willing to pay to make the trip easier on our wallets (and in some cases, possible).

The more research you do, the more realistic your airfare budget goal will likely be. If airfares between two destinations (for example, Orlando and Boston) regularly go on sale for deep discounts you’ll have an idea of what you can shoot for fairly quickly. For less traveled airfare routes you’ll likely have to do some extra digging.

Tip 5: Set Money Aside for Your Cheap Tickets Ahead of Time

However you plan to pay, set aside the funds as soon as you’re serious about booking those cheap flights. We prefer to set cash aside, pay with a card through which we earn airfare points or rewards, then pay it off immediately after. That way our flights are paid for and we’re not paying it off after our trip (enabling us to book more travel), but we’ve also earned some points towards a future trip (more on this in a later post).

In an ideal situation, not long after really dedicating yourself to finding those cheap tickets you’ll find something that works for you. The last thing you want is to find cheap flights that hit your goal budget only to have to pass them up because you don’t have the money to book them. I keep an eye on flights daily to stay aware of what different routes are averaging, but I don’t dedicate all of my Type-A, hyper-analytical energy to really scrutinizing flights unless I know for sure I’m ready to book. I’ve stumbled across some great deals over the last few years while just poking around that hurt my heart to have to pass by–don’t intentionally do it to yourself if you can avoid it!

If you have the money set aside ahead of time, you’ll be ready to book the second you come across something that looks as close as possible to your ideal flights. That’s the best possible position to be in!

Tip 6: Track Flights Using Google Flights and Airfare Watchdog

While using Google Flights and Airfare Watchdog both have limits on how you can track flights, they’re both great ways to watch trends in airfare between two areas.

There are four major differences between tracking flights through Google Flights and through Airfare Watchdog (as of the time of t:

  1. Airfare Watchdog does not make you commit to specific dates, it simply watches flights between two destinations in a general sense and periodically updates you when they change.
  2. Airfare Watchdog does make you choose specific airports (you can’t choose all airports in a city like New York or Tokyo)
  3. Google Flights requires you to choose dates, which can really limit your tracking (remember tip #1?) however…
  4. Google Flights consistently seems to find cheaper airfare from a broader range of airlines

On the one hand, you can keep track of airfare trends in a general sense with Airfare Watchdog (do they seem to be on the way up or down?), then use Google Flights to keep track of more specific flights once you have a better idea of what direction things are headed.

Tracking flights does not take place of my daily searches once I’m dedicated to booking flights somewhere specific. It just gives me an idea of what to expect and occasionally alerts me to whether or not I need to adjust my goal airfare budget, dates, etc.

Tip 7: Research Peak & Off-Season Travel Months

If you don’t have your heart completely set on visiting a specific destination during a certain time, do some research on when an area hits peak season and when it’s off-season. While you can occasionally hit some good promotions for peak-season, you’ll generally do much better in terms of airfare and (especially) hotels during off-season. In my experience, the sweet-spot is often hitting the very end of off-season or the very end of peak season. The weather is often not bad (weather frequently dictates peak and off-season) and any businesses that close during off-season are generally open (this only really applies to super seasonal destinations).

For example, February/very beginning of March and September/October are often great times to visit Walt Disney World from our experience.

If you do your research and find out when a specific destination hits off-season you can often start there in your search for cheap airfares. Sometimes cheap flights are random (flash sales, promotions, etc.), so it’s good to keep an eye on flights in other months as well, but it can be a great jumping-off point.

Happy Flying!

That’s it, guys! That’s essentially how I search for flights when we’re looking for cheap flights to specific places. I know it seems a bit tedious, but finding those cheap flights really does require some dedication in most cases.

Hopefully this has been helpful. Please feel free to comment below with any questions or tag us on Instagram with your questions. If you end up scoring cheap flights using our tips definitely let us know! One of our major goals has always been to encourage and help families get out there and travel more.

Safe flights and happy exploring!

How to find cheap flights

All that work is worth it to travel with these guys!

 

Now that you know how we find our cheap flights, where would your family like to visit first?

Stay tuned for future posts on how to save on hotels, (amazing) food, car rentals and more!

Note: This post may contain affiliate links, which assist us in maintaining our blog and allow us to keep creating quality content for you guys! Thanks for your support.

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34 comments

Cris of Kiss My Tulle March 9, 2017 at 5:56 pm

This was insanely helpful! I have been doing several of your suggestions already when it comes to booking flights for my family’s trips back home to visit my family in Alaska. But you definitely touched on some stuff that I’ve never tried or heard of. Thank you so much!!!

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familyadhd March 9, 2017 at 7:34 pm

Yay! I hope it makes flying home to see your family a little easier and more frequent (if you want it to be lol)! 😉

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Kimberly March 10, 2017 at 6:29 am

These are such fantastic tips to save! We haven’t flown since 2015 and when we plan on going anywhere next, we are going to be taking our son so costs will be much more! We are looking for ways to cut costs as much as possible. These are so helpful. Thank you so much!

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familyadhd March 10, 2017 at 10:34 am

Oh yay! Yes, as soon as you start paying for seats for the kiddos it can add up fast! I hope these tips really do help, if you can save a substantial amount it can really offset the fact you’re paying for multiple tickets now 🙂

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Alli Smith March 10, 2017 at 7:22 am

This is so helpful and I love how you covered all the bases. I do use some of these tips. Wish I had seen this before I booked our vacation flights last week. I know I paid too much and waited too long. I usually book our vacation in January and I tend to get better deals when I take my time and search instead of waiting until the plane only has a few seats left on the flight I need.

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familyadhd March 10, 2017 at 10:35 am

Aw darn! You know, sometimes it just is what is and it’ll still be an amazing trip regardless 🙂 Next time I hope you’re able to save yourself some extra $$$ though!

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Jeanette March 10, 2017 at 8:40 am

Oh my goodness this post has got so much awesome information about travel! We travel a lot and I pride myself on getting cheap flights but I think you do way better than I do. I can’t wait to try out some of these tips.

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familyadhd March 10, 2017 at 10:36 am

That’s so awesome to hear! I really do hope some of these tips help, it sounds like you’re a seasoned traveler so hopefully if you can save a little more you can travel EVEN MORE! 😉

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Eileen March 10, 2017 at 9:32 am

Those were a LOT of great tips on saving on airfare. No wonder you were able to save so much! I love Google flights and have been using it myself, but I’ll need to try some of these other tips to help me save more!

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familyadhd March 10, 2017 at 10:37 am

Thank you! Yes, Google Flights is the business! I hope these help you save even more on your next trip 🙂

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Eloise March 10, 2017 at 1:44 pm

that’s a lot of info, thanks for the tips to flying as a family and enjoying a vacation altogether without going broke! I appreciate your in depth advice and I’ll be using it soon so I can take my kids places and show them the world : )

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familyadhd March 10, 2017 at 6:26 pm

I hope you you find these helpful! If you have any questions don’t hesitate to ask 😉

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Pam Wattenbarger March 10, 2017 at 2:52 pm

These are great tips for finding cheap flights for families. Airfare can be so expensive, especially for more than one person.

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familyadhd March 10, 2017 at 6:26 pm

So true! Once you’re buying for more than 2 people it can feel overwhelming, so I hope you find these helpful 🙂

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My Teen Guide March 11, 2017 at 12:32 am

Wow! I never thought that before. That’s an awesome tips I’ve heard. Glad you shared it.

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familyadhd March 11, 2017 at 10:08 am

Oh good! I hope it helps 🙂

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Annemarie LeBlanc March 11, 2017 at 2:51 am

Thank you for this in-depth post on how to save money for airfare. We do travel a lot as a family and we are always looking for deals on airfare. I’m going to look into some of the websites you mentioned in this post and see if we can snatch a deal or two.

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familyadhd March 11, 2017 at 10:09 am

That’s awesome! All the sites I mentioned are ones I use every time we book flights and they’ve helped us immensely 🙂

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Ali March 11, 2017 at 6:55 am

These are great tips! My kids are finally old enough to take a relaxing vacation on an airplane. I’m definitely going to put these ideas to good use and find some cheap flights!

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familyadhd March 11, 2017 at 10:10 am

Yay! I hope you find some awesome deals 😉

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Cynthia Nicoletti March 11, 2017 at 12:46 pm

I am always looking for ways to save but never know where to start. Thank you for all your information. This will help me the next time I am planning a trip.

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familyadhd March 14, 2017 at 1:34 pm

Awesome! I’m so glad and if you ever have any questions feel free to comment here!

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Dawn McAlexander March 11, 2017 at 7:54 pm

You have really done your homework on this. I am a novice when it comes to air travel, but I have wondered if keeping y dates open would help me save money on tickets. Thanks for explaining that it would.

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familyadhd March 14, 2017 at 1:35 pm

Oh good! Yes, the more flexible the better 😉 Though certain days are notorious for being better/worse to fly on price-wise (though that gets thrown out the window when airlines have sales). If you ever have any questions feel free to comment here and we’ll try to help if we can!

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Amanda March 11, 2017 at 11:07 pm

These are all such great and DETAILED tips. We are trying to make summer vacation plans and keep getting hung up on the price of flights. Will definitely be using your great research!

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familyadhd March 14, 2017 at 1:36 pm

Oh good! Yes, flights can be SO inhibitive when it comes to traveling (especially when you’re traveling with more than 1 person). If you have any questions feel free to leave them here 🙂

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Angelic Sinova March 12, 2017 at 6:41 pm

These are such fantastic tips for saving money while finding flights! I’ve been traveling almost non-stop for the past two years and I’ve bene able to do so by traveling during off seasons and having flexible travel dates.

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familyadhd March 14, 2017 at 1:37 pm

That’s fabulous!!! It really does help to travel during off-season and stay as flexible as possible 🙂

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Chubskulit Rose March 13, 2017 at 3:45 pm

Seeing your passports reminds me to continue looking for my husband”s passport. It sometime got lost during our move and we were looking for it today. Thanks g= for the tips.

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familyadhd March 14, 2017 at 1:37 pm

Hahaha oh no! Well good luck and you’re welcome 😉

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rika March 14, 2017 at 10:40 pm

I am bookmarking this info! Thanks so much for sharing! I am a big traveler and would love to save $$$ on next trip.

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familyadhd March 16, 2017 at 11:06 am

That’s awesome! I hope it helps with your next flight 🙂

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Amanda Love March 16, 2017 at 1:52 am

This is really awesome! I usually sign up on sites that offer cheap flight tickets and update me when there are discounts and sales. Researching definitely helps big time! This would make a lovely guide for families!

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familyadhd March 16, 2017 at 11:07 am

Thank you! Yes, sometimes you can get the heads-up on some great flight prices that way!

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