Your cheat sheet to the best airfares

Did you know the cheapest time to book a flight online is 1am?

Always wanted to know insider tips to help you always get the best flight deals? Here’s some insider travel tips that will help save you money.

It’s the great conundrum. You know there will be people on your flight who paid much less for their ticket than you did but how did they do it? Kayak analysed over a billion flights and came up with some general rules to follow to pay less. In all cases, the cheapest hour of the day to book is to set your alarm for 1am. It is up to 67 per cent cheaper than the most expensive hour. With a little know-how you can save and enjoy more time doing what you love.

Travel -airplane -seatsDid you know? The cheapest day on average to fly to Brisbane is Friday

How to save the most on interstate destinations

City Best day(s) to fly Book ahead by Potentially save
Sydney Tuesday 3 months 77%
Perth Tuesday 3 months 75%
Brisbane Friday 2 months 27%
Gold Coast depart Sunday, return Friday 2 months 67%
Hobart Thursday 5 months 45%
Cairns Sunday 3 months 61%
Adelaide Sunday 1 month 69%
Canberra Tuesday 3 months 50%
Hamilton Island Saturday 8 months 26%
Melbourne Thursday 2 months



How to save the most on the top 10 overseas destinations

City Best day(s) to fly Book ahead by Potentially save
Los Angeles depart Monday, return Sunday 6 months 44%
London depart Friday, return Wednesday 2 months 43%
Tokyo depart Tuesday, return Sunday 8 months 66%
Denpasar depart Thursday, return Wednesday 3 months 31%
Singapore depart Sunday, return Thursday 2 months 68%
Honolulu depart Tuesday, return Wednesday 5 months 69%
Bangkok Friday 6 months 53%
New Delhi Sunday 3 months 34%
Auckland Tuesday 5 months 43%
Hong Kong depart Friday, return Wednesday 6 months 36%

This survey largely reinforces the standard travel advice that the cheapest fares sell first, then the next cheapest and so on until only the most expensive seats are left.

Busy -airport -wyza -com -auAvoid travelling during peak business times 6.30am-9.30am & 4pm-7pm (Photo: 1000 Words/Shutterstock)

These days, airlines have very sophisticated seating and pricing processes in place to ensure that most flights are largely filled. However, if a flight hasn’t sold out there may be some last minute deals available for the brave or tardy.

However, there are some other clever tricks from Choice who assessed nine comparison websites and discovered a wide divergence in terms of fares and fees.

For domestic flights, it seems you might be better off seeing what’s on offer on the comparison sites then booking directly on the airline site. For international flights, the comparison sites offered more competitive fares than the airlines’ own sites. Booking fees may be higher but that may be overcome by the fare savings.

In all cases, Choice suggests that you need to be careful about pre-ticked opt-out extras. Untick them all and only re-tick the ones you regard as essential. Other suggestions are to avoid travelling during the peak (business) travel times of 6.30am-9.30am and 4pm-7pm. And pay through BPay to avoid substantial surcharges.

There is one remarkably devious tip that may be the most valuable. Clear the cookies from your computer before booking your flights; “so the airline or booking site can't track your searches”.This matches what many of us have long suspected. Flights do miraculously become more expensive just as you are about to finally book.

It also supports what a travel software developer told me. Programs are being developed to identify the moment when you are about to book and either offer you a special deal or raise the offered fare at that time. We will all have to be remarkably diligent with our cookie deletions to avoid it!

What are your best tips for saving money while travelling? Tell us below. 

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