How to Fly for Free | How to Find Cheap Flights
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Last year, I flew from New York to Milan for $65. The year before, I flew to Belgium for under $150.

Airfares may be going up, but only for people willing to pay full price. I wrote How To Find Cheap Flights for the rest of us. This book is an easy-to-use step-by-step guide to finding cheap airfare. It’s a quick, easy read compiling all the tips and tricks I use to:

  • Find mistake fares
  • Avoid fees
  • Decide which flight search engine to use
  • Save money on nearly every flight

Table of Contents

Introduction

Section 1: Basic Tips

1) Flexibility Is King
2) Where To Search
3) When To Buy
4) Avoiding Fees

Section 2: Advanced Tips

5) Mistake Fares
6) Throwaway Ticketing
7) Alternate Location Ticketing

Section 3: Putting It All Together

8) Start To Finish Walkthrough

Sample Chapter (Introduction)

 I was supposed to be at a friend’s poker game 20 minutes earlier, but instead I was at home, furiously navigating a Norwegian airline’s website. When I finally made it to the game, an hour late, I profusely apologized for my tardiness. “Sorry for being late, guys. I was busy booking $65 flights to Europe.”

Of course it was a thinly-veiled humble-brag. But how could I not? Roundtrip flights direct from New York to Milan usually cost $700. I’d paid $130 — equal at the time to 802 Norwegian krone — including all taxes and fees.

NYC-Milan 65 dollars

In some ways, I got lucky finding this fare. I didn’t do anything to set the absurdly low price. I hadn’t been searching for months for cheap flights to Milan. Frankly, Milan wasn’t even on my radar as a destination.

But in other ways, I used a number of tips and tricks to help create my own luck. I knew where to look for these types of “mistake” fares. I knew that, for reasons I explain in Chapter 7, the deal only worked when purchasing in a foreign currency, hence the above screenshot pricing in Norwegian krone rather than dollars. I knew how flexibility with times, dates, and locations would help me get the cheapest flight possible. And I knew to act fast. (I pulled the trigger on this ticket less than 15 minutes before the deal disappeared.)

I was swamped with questions and requests after friends heard about my $65 jaunt to Europe. “How did you find that flight?” “Can you find others?” “Will you let me know the next a deal like this pops up?”

Rather than trying to remember each individual who wanted to be alerted next time there was a big mistake fare, I started an email list to let anyone interested know simultaneously. (You can sign up here if you like.) Mistake fares like this one to Milan, though, are rare and spontaneous. I wanted to start helping people save money on other flights as well.

I recently spoke with a high-level individual in the travel industry about what flight prices look like from her end. She did not have good news for flyers. “The margins on tickets are thinner than ever,” she said. With good deals harder and harder to come by, a strategic approach to finding cheap flights is worth its weight in gold.

That’s why I wrote How To Find Cheap Flights: Tips The Airlines Don’t Want You To Know: to give people the same tips I’ve used for years to save money on airfare.

Chapters 1 through 4 deal with basic strategies that anyone buying flights should consider. Chapter 1 focuses on how being flexible with your dates and airports can pay big dividends. Chapter 2 looks at the question I get asked most frequently: “what search engine do you think is best for finding cheap flights?” Chapter 3 examines when you should pull the trigger on a purchase, while Chapter 4 gives tips on how to avoid some of the most common fees that travelers encounter.

Chapters 5 through 7 tackle more advanced strategies. Chapter 5 is all about mistake fares and how to find them. Chapter 6 explains the concept of throwaway ticketing and how it can save you money, especially on domestic flights. Chapter 7 unfolds one of my favorite cheap-fare tricks: alternate location ticketing.

Finally, Chapter 8 gives a step-by-step rundown of how I would approach booking a sample trip between New York City and Cancun.

These tips have helped me travel 300,000 miles, spanning five continents and some 30 countries, in the past five years. I’m a wanderlust, but I’m not made of money. Travel is too expensive for regular people if they’re paying full price.

Of course, in order to get a good deal, you need to know what tickets usually cost for the flight you want. After all, if you know nothing about cars and come across one being sold for $10,000, you still need to know what it usually goes for to determine if you’re a savant or a sucker.

You can either study the route for a while and determine what the price ought to be, or just shoot me an email and I’ll do my best to let you know if you’re getting a good deal. I’m even happy to take a look at an itinerary you’re thinking of buying, and if I find you a better price you’re happy with, we can split the savings.

In any case, by all means feel free to reach out to me with any questions and good luck in your flight purchases.

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