The joy of travelling to a new destination has always been accompanied by the frustration of hunting for deals and optimizing cost. The holy grail of flight hacking in travel has stayed elusive for a couple of reasons:
- Most information available online is not suited for an Indian audience
- Existing hacks normally talk about credit card or airline loyalty programs more suited for frequent flyers.
This Travel Hackers Guide is an attempt to help Indians grab those seemingly elusive and unbelievable deals. Our team of planners swear by these rules while crafting trails to pay less for the same experience. Our unique travel planning tool, Pickyourtrail is something of a hack in itself, worth exploring!
Here are 7 real life proven hacks that have worked magic for the intrepid traveller:
Flight hacking Secret #1: Stay Flexible and Nimble.
You will never get those magical deals when fixated over dates, airlines and destinations. Flights are almost 40% of your travel cost and it is wise to choose dates basis deals available rather than the other way around. Striking unbelievable flight fare is directly proportional to throwing in multiple dates.
Few proven secrets of flexible travel:
- Travel ‘shoulder season’ (Just a month before and after peak tourist months) and get amazing deals and uncrowded locations! Savings – anywhere between 30-50% on airfares!
- Tuesday/Thursday departure and arrival at most times is the cheapest day to fly. Savings – Between 10-20%!
Flight hacking Secret #2: Promo Fares Hunting
Yes, it’s true! Promo fares do exist, and believe it or not can be booked by anyone. You can land those ridiculous deals by following these steps.
- Remember Secret no 1!
- Subscribe to airline newsletters. They are the best source to know about promo fares well in advance before it is out on the website.
- Sign-up for Airline loyalty programs and save your passport details as part of your profile(will help in quick checkout during flash deals!). Some airlines even save your flight search if the payment fails, for easy rebooking. As they say- “Loyalty always pays!”
- Use a little-known tool offered by many airlines – Fare Calendar -cheapest fares every day of the month are available here.
- Ever wondered where websites get their flights data from? ITA Matrix software is the answer. Find low fares and use their calendar view for finding the best dates and deals.
Flight hacking Secret #3: Route Hacking
Ever seen Chennai – Reijkavik return fares @ Rs.45,000?! Don’t let multiple combinations to a destination confusing you. Route hacking is a skill that comes with experience. Want to know how? Drop us a line if you want our experts at Pickyourtrail to do it for you. Savings 30 – 50%.
If you love travel research -these simple guidelines will help you crack the code yourself:
- Choose your destination and visit this link for a list of LCCs flying in and out of your destination. Not all LCCs connect your city and the final destination directly. Find a common stopover destination. It will either have LCC connection or promo fares connecting your city and the final destination.
- Another proven hack to fly into a nearby low-cost hub city (1-3 hours away from your final destination). Example Pisa is a great hub to fly into for Florence. Similarly, Dusseldorf is a great hub to fly into Amsterdam.
- Learn some cool travel jargon – Single PNR open-jaw ticketing. Basically – identify sectors in your itinerary connected by a single airline; Combine them in sequence and use the multi-city option in flight search – you will be surprised to find savings of 10-20% compared to booking individual tickets.
Flight hacking Secret #4: Effective Packing
Learn the art of packing simple and getting the low-cost airline advantage.
We’ll let you in on that hack too. Savings 10 – 15%.
- LCC air ticket never mentions this but you are allowed to carry a laptop bag for free along with 7-10 kilos (depending on airlines) hand baggage. 2 bags can get you through a 10-day vacation in style – watch this to know how!
- Carry your own food for the flight (especially for LCC flights). This is very effective to avoid the expensive airport and in-flight meal which is not that great anyways!
Flight hacking Secret #5: See a Stopover city for free
Make the most of layover destinations. (Savings 10-25%)
Layovers in major hubs such as Hong Kong, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur are a double bonanza. The fares are the same if you extend your layover time by 2-5 days.
Flight hacking Secret #6: Flight Blocking (Savings 5-10%)
Block your seats and insulate your budget against flight hikes. A well-kept secret in the industry; every full cost airlines offers seat blocking anywhere between 2-5 days. They block the seats at current fares and insulate you against price increase.
Flight hacking Secret #7: Surprise Hacks!
- Travelling on special occasions like honeymoon, birthday or anniversary? Airlines such as Qatar and Emirates offer free cake in-flight (with a special message). Imagine cutting a cake 30,000 feet above the air and celebrating your special day!
- You can bid for business class tickets and save 20% guaranteed. Yes, you read it right! Airlines like Malaysian and Air India offer special programs once you book your economy class tickets. You are allowed to name your price for a business class upgrade. If it is accepted by the system, you get upgraded at your bid price. The trick is to quote as close to business class fare. High success rates are for quotes between 75% to 80% of Business class fare.
Loved the hacks?! If in the meanwhile you are planning an international vacation, do drop us a postcard and one of our route hackers will craft the perfect trail for you! Want to do it yourself – we have that option too with Pickyourtrail.