How to Get Cheap Flights: The Savvy Aussie Parent’s Guide to Budget-Friendly Skies

How to Get Cheap Flights: The Savvy Aussie Parent’s Guide to Budget-Friendly Skies

Introduction

Embarking on a journey across the globe or even just a quick hop across the coast is something many of us dream of, especially if the last real break from work was quite some time ago.

Yet, for many Aussie families, the looming cost of flight tickets can sometimes dampen the excitement of the travel bug.

Finding cheap flights is not merely a matter of thrift but a necessary strategy for many families aiming to quench their wanderlust without burning a hole in their pocket. The search for the cheapest flights becomes a quest, a game of numbers and dates, where hitting the jackpot means more adventures, more memories, and more leftover funds for delicious meals, exciting excursions, and perhaps an extra souvenir or two.

A family souvenir shopping while on holidays

Being savvy about snagging those budget flights can make all the difference. It opens up a world of possibilities, allowing you to explore far-flung places with your young adventurers by your side. Whether it’s a domestic flight to the vibrant cities or a long-haul international flight to the whimsical corners of the earth, every dollar saved on flight prices is a dollar earned towards making your family’s travel dreams come true.

In this guide, we will navigate through a trove of tips and tricks to get the best flight deals, ensuring that your family’s flight experience is memorable and easy on the wallet. From diving into the world of budget airlines, exploring flight comparison sites, and decoding why flights tend to be cheaper on certain days, we’ve got a treasure chest of information that awaits. So buckle up, as we are about to take off on a journey to discover how to buy plane tickets, find cheap flights and make the most of every travel opportunity that comes your way!

As Aussie parents, we thrive on the joy of sharing the world's wonders with our children, and with a little planning and a few clever hacks, we can continue to fuel our family’s wanderlust without fretting over the flight prices. So, let’s set sail (or, rather, take flight) towards a horizon filled with adventures without letting the budget hold us back!

Setting Your Flight Budget

Girl looking out of the aeroplane window while drawing

Embarking on a journey, whether a short domestic hop or a long-haul international flight, begins with setting a realistic budget. A crucial part of this budgeting exercise involves understanding the landscape of flight prices and identifying avenues to save money. One significant way to do so is by considering budget airlines for your travel.

Budget airlines, often called low-cost carriers, have revolutionised how we fly, making air travel more accessible to families. By offering no-frills services, these airlines can significantly lower flight prices, making them an attractive option for budget-conscious travellers. Airlines such as Jetstar and Bonza are popular choices among Aussies looking for budget flights. However, the trade-off often comes in the form of less legroom, no complimentary meals or entertainment, and stricter baggage allowances.

Speaking of baggage, it's essential to account for baggage fees while budgeting for your flight. While budget airlines offer cheap fares, they tend to have stringent baggage policies. The cost of checking in luggage can sometimes turn a cheap flight ticket into a not-so-cheap one. It’s wise to check different airlines' baggage allowances and fees while comparing flight prices. Additionally, some airlines might have additional charges like seat selection fees and charges for onboard meals and snacks. Knowing these ancillary fees and budgeting for them in advance can prevent unpleasant surprises and keep your flight budget on track.

The Early Bird Catches the Fare

Now that you have a good grasp of your flight budget, let's delve into the world of booking your plane tickets. One proven strategy to snag cheap flight tickets is to book well in advance.

Why Early Booking is Smart

Airlines often initially release their tickets at a lower price point, and as the seats start filling up, the prices rise. This pattern of airline prices is especially true for flights during peak travel seasons and around school holidays. Therefore, booking your flight tickets a few months in advance can lead to substantial savings.

Now, onto the topic of the cheapest days to book airline tickets and fly. Studies have shown that there is indeed a science to the madness of fluctuating flight prices. Generally, booking your flight on a Tuesday or Wednesday can yield better deals as airlines often release their sale fares early in the week. Furthermore, flying out on a weekday, particularly Tuesday or Wednesday, can be cheaper as weekends and Fridays are usually high-demand days with higher flight prices.

Utilising flight comparison sites can provide a visual representation of how flight prices vary across different days and even times of the day. Tools like Google Flights or Skyscanner are invaluable in displaying the cheapest days to fly, aiding in your quest to find the next cheapest day of flights for your family's next adventure.

So, being an early bird in booking and choosing the less popular days to fly can help you catch the worm, or in this case, the best flight deals to make your travel dreams soar high without burning a hole in your pocket!

Flexible Travel Dates

Embarking on a quest for the cheapest flights often involves a bit of flexibility. Unlike fixed travel plans, being open to adjusting your travel dates can unveil some unexpected yet welcome flight deals.

The Perks of Being Flexible

The magic of flexible travel dates lies in the opportunity they present to snag those elusive cheap flight tickets. Airfare can fluctuate significantly from one day to the next. Sometimes, shifting your departure date by just a day or two can lead to substantial savings. This flexibility becomes particularly fruitful during peak travel times like school holidays or major events when flight prices tend to skyrocket.

The departure date plays a significant role in the flight ticket prices. For instance, flying on a weekday is often cheaper than on weekends. Moreover, flights are less expensive during off-peak hours such as early morning or late night. Tools like Google Flights or Skyscanner can help you play around with different travel dates to find the cheapest flight options. They offer a comprehensive view of how varying travel dates affect flight prices, thus enabling you to make an informed decision that suits your budget.

Keeping an eye on the calendar and being willing to adjust your travel plans slightly can unlock a treasure trove of savings, making your journey both enjoyable and economical.

Parent and child watching a plane at the airport

To Bundle or Not to Bundle?

When planning a trip, one often comes across the option of bundle deals. These packages entwine flight tickets with hotel bookings and sometimes car rentals into a single deal. But the question arises: do these bundles genuinely offer the savings they promise?

Bundle Deals: A Closer Look

Bundling can be a pathway to snagging the best flight deals, especially when travelling with family. When you book your flight, accommodation, and sometimes car rental together, many travel platforms offer a discounted price that is often cheaper than booking these elements separately.

Popular travel websites like Expedia or Wotif offer bundle deals that can significantly reduce your total travel cost. Besides, bundling is not only about saving money; it's also about saving time. With a few clicks, you can have your flight, hotel, and car rental sorted, giving you more time to plan the fun parts of your trip.

However, it's essential to do a bit of homework. Compare the bundled price against the price of booking the same flight, tickets, hotels, and car rentals separately. Sometimes, it might be cheaper to book separately, especially during sales or promotions.

So, while bundle deals can be a boon for securing great deals, a good old comparison check is wise to ensure you're genuinely bagging the best deal in town. With some research, bundling can lead to more money in your pocket for enjoying those special family outings and adventures on your trip!

Loyalty Pays Off

In the quest for affordable airfare, loyalty does indeed have its rewards. Engaging with airline loyalty programs can be a smart way to secure cheap international flights and domestic flights for your family.

Airline Loyalty Programs

Airline loyalty programs are designed to reward frequent flyers with points or miles that can be redeemed for free flights, upgrades, or other perks. By consistently flying with the same airline or airline alliance, you accumulate points that bring you closer to cheaper flights or an entirely free journey. This could translate to significant family savings, especially when planning holidays during peak travel times.

Several airlines have family pooling options, allowing families to combine their points into one account. This accelerates the points accumulation rate, helping you reach redemption thresholds faster. Airlines such as Qantas and Virgin Australia offer these pooling features, making it easier for families to work together towards earning those coveted cheap flight tickets.

Moreover, many of these programs come with added benefits like priority boarding, extra baggage allowance, and access to airport lounges, all of which can make travelling with young children a more pleasant experience.

Use Airline Credit Cards

Airline credit cards can be a traveller’s best friend. These cards offer miles or points for purchases, which can later be redeemed for flights. Additionally, many come with enticing sign-up bonuses that could cover the cost of a ticket, getting you one step closer to your dream family vacation without stretching your budget.

Family with luggage at the airport

Setting Alerts and Scouring Deals

In the modern age of digital technology, staying updated with flight prices has never been easier. Various online tools can help you monitor fare changes and grab cheap last-minute flights or the best flight deals as soon as they emerge.

Fare Alert Tools

Platforms like Google Flights and Skyscanner are your allies in the hunt for budget-friendly airfare. These flight search engines allow you to set fare alerts for specific dates and destinations. Whenever the flight prices drop, you get notified via email or app notifications, ensuring you never miss out on a golden opportunity to save.

Google Flights, for instance, provides an intuitive platform where you can track flight prices for various dates and destinations. You're setting up a vigilant watch for any flight price that drops by simply entering your preferred travel details and enabling alerts.

Skyscanner offers a similar feature, along with a “Price Alert” function that notifies you whenever there's a change in flight prices for your chosen dates and routes.

These tools are particularly useful for securing cheap last-minute flights, a boon for spontaneous travel planners. However, they're equally valuable for those planning in advance, as you can snag great deals when they are available months ahead of your travel dates.

In a world where flight prices can change in the blink of an eye, having a digital sentinel keeping a watch on fares on your behalf can be the key to unlocking fantastic flight deals and making your family travel dreams a reality without breaking the bank!

Check Social Media and Forums

Airlines often share exclusive deals with social media followers in the digital age. Travel deal forums like Reddit’s r/traveldeals or newsletters like I Know the Pilot can also be treasure troves of current flight sales and deals information. By watching these platforms, you could stumble upon a deal that makes your travel significantly more affordable.

Check for Error Fares

Every so often, airlines make pricing mistakes, leading to exceptionally cheap fares. Websites like Secret Flying and Fly4free specialise in tracking these error fares, offering an opportunity to grab a flight at the cheapest price or a fraction of the usual cost.

Family looking at holiday pictures at the airport

Alternative Airports and Routes

Exploring alternative airports and routes is akin to taking the road less travelled. It often leads to unexpected savings, paving the way for a budget-friendly journey.

Thinking Outside the Box

Use Nearby Airports

Choosing to fly into or out of nearby airports instead of your final destination can sometimes lead to cheaper fares. For instance, a flight to Melbourne Avalon might be less expensive than flying directly to Melbourne Airport. These alternative routes might add a little extra travel time, but the savings could be well worth it.

Consider Nearby Destinations

Scanning flight prices to nearby cities or countries could unveil cheaper options if your travel itinerary is flexible. Flying into a neighbouring country and then hopping onto a local budget airline or other transportation to reach your final destination might save a considerable chunk of your travel budget.

Choose Connecting Flights

Connecting flights can also be a money-saver compared to direct flights. Though it may extend your travel time, choosing a connecting flight from a less busy airport can often lead to lower flight prices.

Book Connecting Flights Separately

Booking connecting flights separately can sometimes be a money-saver. However, ensure there's ample time between connections to cover any delays. Note that if you miss your second flight due to a delay in the first, the airline may not be responsible, so plan accordingly.

Mix and Match Airlines

Exploring the option of booking one-way flights with different airlines can sometimes unearth better deals than booking a round-trip with the same airline. This tactic also extends more flexibility in terms of timing and routing, allowing you to tailor your journey to your family's needs and preferences.

Utilising flight search engines like Google Flights or Skyscanner can help you explore these alternative routes efficiently. These platforms allow you to match airlines and compare routes to find the cheapest flights. By being open to alternative airports and connecting flights, you broaden your horizons for finding those budget flight deals.

Preparing for the Flight

Now that you've snagged that budget-friendly flight deal, preparing wisely for the flight is the next step to ensure a smooth and enjoyable journey.

Baggage Strategies

Avoiding extra baggage fees begins with understanding the baggage policies of the airline you're flying with. Each airline has its rules regarding baggage allowances, and exceeding them can lead to hefty fees.

Packing smart is key. Encourage the family to pack only the essentials and consider using packing cubes to organise items compactly. If possible, aim to pack carry-on only to avoid checked baggage fees, especially on budget airlines where these fees can add up quickly.

Should you need to check bags, be sure to pay for your baggage allowance online in advance, as it's often cheaper than doing so at the airport. Additionally, consider sharing checked baggage with family members to reduce the number of bags and save on fees.

Family with a lot of luggage at the airport

Conclusion

Venturing into the skies with your family doesn’t have to come with a hefty price tag. By embracing strategies like early booking, being flexible with travel dates, exploring alternative airports and routes, and being savvy with baggage, you can find cheap flights that accommodate your budget. Whether you’re on the hunt for last-minute flight deals or booking well in advance, there are possibilities to secure budget-friendly fares.

Now armed with a quiver full of tips and tricks, you’re on your way to beginning your flight searches. Embark on the exciting quest to find the cheapest flight to whisk your family away on a memorable adventure. Every dollar saved on flights is a dollar that can be spent creating priceless memories with your loved ones. So here’s to find great flight deals and to the countless adventures that await.

Happy flying!

Kids watching a plane take off at the airport

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