There’s been a lot of talk lately about hacking fares in order to get the best deal.  Some recommend using site “x” or site “y”, which piece one way flights together.  Other’s jumped on board with the site in the news recently which allowed users to book travel through the city they planned on arriving in. 

Many of these methods have been around for a long while, but some bargain seekers opt to run before they can crawl relying on these sites instead of reading the signs, which, in the long run, will hurt their ability to get the best deal possible.

I’ve got a few steps to how I personally find the best deal, and will be sharing them step-by-step over a few upcoming posts.

To begin:

When beginning my flight search, I always use Kayak.com.  There are three key reasons which will be highlighted over the coming posts:

  1. Ability to search to/from multiple locations
  2. Ease of hacking URL
  3. Majority lower fares than other sites

 While some may argue their site works better, much of my experience booking group, personal, and corporate travel has been using this site.

When I first begin my search I focus on what sort of travel am I undertaking.  In most cases I can search most aggressively when I am traveling alone so going forward we will operate under that assumption.

What area are you going to?

How easy is it to get to the area you wish to go to?  A few years back I was booking flights into Burma, and was running into insane prices as only a few carriers could piece together a flight from London to Mandalay or Yangoon.  I soon realised Air Asia could fly into both locations for around $25, from Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur.  This allowed me to cast a slightly larger net, as I now could fly into most any city in South East asia and recover the time lost flying Air Asia in, in hundreds of dollars.

How do you “Cast your net wide”

Instead of opting to search one airport in the to/from columns, type in three letter airport codes separated with comma’s, much like this:

image

The results you get back will search both going to and coming back from different airports.

In the example above I opt to fly out of  London, Manchester, or Birmingham; all within trains distance in the UK.  I opt to fly into San Francisco, Oakland, or San Jose, covering all of the bay area in California.  There are also two things to be aware of while searching.

  1.  Using general three letter signs for cities works best (i.e. LON instead of LGW, LHR, LTN, LCY, STN, etc)
  2. Keep in mind it may fly you from London to Oakland and then San Francisco to Manchester on return.  You may end up spending more money on train tickets, taxi’s, etc than you save searching this way.

Though a simple and obvous starting point this is where the hefty searching will come from.