Tips for booking your next flight

07 August 2015

The wise Saint Augustine said "The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page". He hit the nail right on the head, but as a 21st century citizen you'll agree that travelling can be expensive. So, we've searched the web to find some tips on how to book cheap flights. Here are some guidelines, which most agree, can help you save when booking your next flight.

Pick your travelling times wisely
Try booking your flights to depart on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Saturday. The first flight or the evening flights are usually the cheapest as well. In contrast, Monday, Thursday and Friday are the most expensive flights. When searching, also opt for flexible dates

Join a reward programme
Sign up for airlines' frequent flyer programmes. Even if you only take a flight once a year, you'll accumulate miles that will eventually come in handy and as a welcome surprise.

Shop around
If you can think of an airline, check their rates - especially when flying overseas. Locally, start your search with budget carriers like Mango or Kulula. For international flights Emirates, Qatar Airways, Etihad and Turkish Airlines are often the cheapest.

Avoid the expensive dates
Days before public holidays, around school holidays and before major local events (Cape Argus, Comrades etc.) are the most expensive due to the high demand. Interestingly enough, 25 December (Christmas Day) and 31 December are sometimes cheaper. Friday the 13th is sometimes cheaper due to superstitious believes.

Be prepared and plan ahead
There seems to be a lot of theory around this with some sources believing that booking well in advance (at least a year) means flights are cheaper. Others advise to wait at least 6 weeks before you're flying. Generally speaking, airlines seem to have a system in place where they sell their cheapest tickets first. However, the reverse is also true. If a specific flight isn't selling well they may drop their prices. However, the general consensus is that absolute last-minute bookings will cost you a bit more. So start looking for tickets as far in advanced as you possibly can and check up on the rates at least once a week. Book when you see the prices are starting to increase.

The universal 24-hour rule
After you book, check the next day to make sure that the price hasn't dropped. If it did, cancel your flight and rebook. You can also put tickets on hold for a couple of days to make sure the price doesn't drop. If it increases, you already have the cheaper ticket reserved so buy it.