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Guide-to-Travel-Hacking

How to Book Cheap Flights Using Fare Alerts

Booking a cheap flight can be challenging. Airfares change every day and even hour by hour. Being ready to book when your flight reaches a low point is very important for getting the cheapest flight. But how do you know when you should book your flight?

How to Set-up Flight Alerts to Book Cheap Flights

Setting up a fare alert is simple and can be done in a few clicks on many booking sites. Let me show you how I do it using Kayak in a matter of minutes. This method will deliver you the cheapest airfare to your inbox daily (or weekly) instead of checking fares every single day leading up to your departure date.

The key is to get started early. You usually don’t want to book an international flight too early. Booking a few months before your departure date is usually a bad idea. Of course there are fare sales that may pop up but for the average flight somewhere around 6 weeks before departure is a good time to book your international flight.

Step 1

Kayak Fare Alerts

Kayak Fare Alerts

Set-up your fare alerts a few weeks before the six week window. A study by Kayak actually showed international flights hit their lowest points 34 days before the departure date and domestic flights hit their low point 21 days before departure. I like to start looking a little before that simply because it is an average and airfares can go up and down suddenly.

To learn more about when to book your flights see: How to Hack a Flight

Kayak Fare Alerts

Kayak Fare Alerts

Now that you have signed into Kayak and set-up your fare alert you can select the frequency and types of results you want. I would ask for a daily update if you are near your departure date and ask for lowest price if your travel dates are flexible.

Use Price Trends to Decide When to Buy a Flight

Many people don’t buy a flight because they may not know it is at an all time low. Or they may buy an overpriced flight because they don’t know the average cost of the flight they are planning to buy. Using Price Trends by Kayak you will get a better idea of what the fare usually goes for. Using the graph will help determine when is a good time to buy and when is a bad time to buy.

Kayak recommends if you should buy based on the history of the flight. Of course it is not 100% accurate but it is a helpful indicator so use this to your advantage.

Kayak Price Trends

Kayak Price Trends

When to Purchase Your Flight

Nobody wants to purchase a flight only to see it drop in price the next day. This can happen but you simply need to be confident you are making the best decision while weighing all the information you have researched.

The time to buy is right if:

  • You have set up fare alerts
  • You have been regularly checking fares
  • You have used multiple flight search engines for reference
  • You have compared the current fare to past fares

I like to set-up alerts with Kayak but that doesn’t mean you have to book through their site. Always be sure to check multiple sites once you are ready to book. You never know if a flight is slightly cheaper through the airlines actual site or one of Kayak’s competitors. Use Kayak or similar fare alert sites as a guide and reference point.

One last important step is to read my guide to Hacking a Flight.

Fare alerts are wonderful but if you truly want to find the best fare learning to hack a flight without points or miles will save you a lot of money.