We all love to complain about airlines and their never-ending efforts to find new, clever, and incredibly annoying ways to squeeze every penny out of travelers. But when it comes to soothing your travel rage, revenge is sweeter than anger.
You know they’re using every tool out there to maximize their profits. So, of course, you should arm yourself with every tech hack possible to fight back and potentially save yourself a ton of money. Plus, how great does it feel to get a great deal and beat the airlines at their own game? Happy shopping!
1. Google Flights is your best friend.
As Suzy Strutner points out on The Huffington Post, when it comes to saving money on flights, Google Flights is your best friend. In an enormously helpful article, Strutner lays out all the ways the site can help you get a deal, including its “best bang for your buck feature” that figures out the best deal not only based on price but also on flight duration, and notifications when prices will probably jump via your phone.
2. A niche site for every issue.
Kayak and Google Flights might be the usual go-to choices for the savvy traveler, but there are a ton of other tech tools you should be aware of that can help with a head-spinning variety of particular travel issues.
- Hopper notifies you of price drops.
- Got no time but $49? FlightFox will do the work of finding cheap airfare for you.
- Yapta tracks your flight details and lets you know if the price drops after you purchase. If the decrease is large enough, it can be worth paying the penalty to change your ticket.
- Budget airlines don’t appear on all comparison sites, but WhichBudget will tell you which ones fly where.
- Not sure where you want to go? Skyscanner shows you the best deals currently on offer for a particular country or even the whole world.
- Use Points.com to trade, buy, or redeem points.
- Airfarewatchdog employs actual humans to handpick a smaller number of truly awesome deals.
3. Clear your cookies.
Clever airlines use every crumb of data they can get to decide how much money they can charge you, including whether you’ve visited travel booking sites previously. Deprive them of that info by clearing the cookies on your browser and you’re likely to see a lower price.
Setting your browser to incognito or private browsing mode before you start searching works too.
4. Fudge your location.
What other information do airlines use to set fares? Your location. Tickets are sometimes cheaper in countries with a lower cost of living, a fact you can use to your advantage, Erica Ho of Map Happy tells Thrillist.
“It’s as simple as using the airline’s regional website (or masking your IP address to make it look like you live there) to buy your ticket in the foreign currency. So, let’s say you wanted to fly from Atlanta to Johannesburg, South Africa. All you’d do is log onto South African Air’s local site (.za, NOT .com) — or use a VPN to get a South African IP address — select the ATL-JNB flight you want, and buy it in Rand — preferably using a credit card that doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees,” explains the site.
5. Pretend you’re going solo.
According to lifestyle site MyDomaine, “many airlines hike up prices when you’re buying several seats at once.” Therefore, “even if you’re booking for the entire family, be sure to do a separate search for the flights set to one person first.”