Book your Flight

Booking your

When I am booking a flight, I am constantly juggling three factors: Time, Cost, and Comfort.
I usually want to get to my destination quickly, BUT a longer route and layover may provide a cost benefit and a new adventure. Here are some of my tips and process to find the best flight for my trip:

Start your search early:

The “book on a Tuesday” rumor has long been proven untrue, but airline algorithms are a fact. Airlines build complex models looking a supply and demand to get the maximum dollar per person while filling their planes to get the maximum dollars overall to run a profitable business. These data factors include historical records, % currently filled on all their planes including your route and a variety of complex other factors. Basically, you are not going to game their algorithm. What you can do is plan ahead, research & watch pricing and be ready to pull the trigger. Airline pricing is reported to be at the lowest 6-8 weeks before your flight. For peak season flights, this window is about 3-4 months. These time windows are generally when the demand essentially picks up vs supply of already sold tickets and pricing will go up. Makes sense!

Research your route:

I use a variety of search engines to start to gauge flight options. Google.com/Flights is my fast go-to option. I also look at Momondo and SkyScanner. Skyscanner’s everywhere option can also inspire some layover and long layover options.

Be flexible with your travel dates:

While "Book on a Tuesday" is a myth, I do find lower prices on Tuesdays, Wednesday and Saturdays. Business flyers usually fly out Monday and back Thursday PM or Friday. Leisure flyers fly out Friday and back Sunday. Holidays also drive up travel. If you can alter your schedule, you will not only avoid the crowds but also see lower prices.

Look at non-direct flights and layovers:

For flights less than 3-4 hours, I try to fly direct. The hassle and time lost in layovers never really works out in time lost on the trip. For longer flights, layovers can be a nice respite to grab a good dinner or to plan a longer adventure. If you take care of yourself on your travel day, your first vacation day will not be such a wreck.

Overnight layovers:

The more experience I gain traveling, the more I value my sleep. Overnight layovers are sometimes an option to lessen the wear and tear of traveling. Flights with overnight layovers are usually substantially less making up for the cost of a hotel and even dinner. This option also works well to fly into a major hub city ie London, Paris, Miami, Los Angeles. I then can enjoy a night and part of a day in that city, then head to the airport and fly to the smaller city. NOTE: If you book the flights separately (as opposed to two connecting flights on one airline booking with a designated layover), the airline will not adjust your second flight if there is a problem with the first. So make sure that layover is substantial if booking separate flights or carry travel insurance.

Day Layovers

I also look at long day layovers where I fly into a city early in the AM. You can store bags and go and explore the city for the day and then catch your evening flight. I have done this independently in Oslo and had a wonderful day exploring. Some city airports, including Singapore, Seoul, Taiwan, Qatar, Istanbul, Salt Lake City Airport, and Tokyo, now offer tours as a free service.

You might also consider an even longer layover when flying overseas to Iceland via WowAir and Icelandic Air. Both airlines allow up to a 7 day layover but only for round trip tickets. If you are lucky enough to get a full day layover in Iceland, the Blue Lagoon if a quick drive from the airport!

Clear cookies & Anonymous Search

Are they tracking you? Probably! I check pricing in an anonymous browser with cookies cleared to get the best price for my chosen flight.

Single Seat searching

Pricing on airlines often works in bracket. The first 50 seats at $200, the next at $240 etc. If you search for 2 people and you are #50 and #51 - the tickets will show for $480 as you will both go into the $240 ticket bracket as opposed to one at $200 and one at $240. Search individually and one ticket will be more expensive as the pricing will cross the tier after the first purchase, but you can save some money this way. After purchasing the tickets, I just go online and select seats next to each other. If separated… well I am usually engrossed in a book or sleeping.

Luggage Weight

If I am checking a bag, I look at the ticket brackets with this in mind. Many airlines now have an “Economy” class with no luggage but the next tier up includes a checked bag. You will have to compare add-on luggage vs included ticket luggage to find the better deal. The higher tier tickets that include luggage may also have other perks that add to the comfort of your trip with extra legroom or business class.

Budget carriers

Buyer beware - I have had my fair share of woes with budget airlines including being nickel and dimed for everything ie printing tickets, luggage weight, and cancelled flights that were rescheduled days later and often to another city. The experience will also be bare bones with additional costs for inflight drinks/meals and older planes. Budget airlines also are often scheduled out of regional airports that are farther away increasing your taxi budget and time it takes to get there.

I still do use budget carriers for short hops especially in Europe in Asia as the direct flight option to some smaller cities still make it worth it… barely. Make sure to research the cost of luggage, location and all other rules including printing tickets to avoid costs that would far exceed a non-budget airline.

Priority Pass

Lastly, take your travel experience up a notch with the Priority Pass. This pass has paid for itself for me what feels like 100x over. The access to a quiet lounge, drinks (primarily water), food, and wifi has made my travel experiences so much smoother.

Taking care of yourself on your travel day with nutritious food, hydration and rest will enhance your vacation.

Disclaimer: Some of the links on this website are affiliate links. I receive a commission, at no extra cost to you, which contributes to maintaining this website as a travel resource. Please know that all companies are ones that I do use and have had great experiences with in my travels, or I would not include them on Blue Sky Traveler.