1. Don’t use US-based search engines exclusively to book flights
US-based search engines, like all search engines, have blind spots — they miss budget, foreign, and smaller regional airlines. To get a better picture of who flies where and for what price, be sure to search multiple airfare websites. Two of the best are momondo.com and Skyscanner.com
2. Buy two one-ways on different airlines
When flying domestically, it can often be cheaper to mix-and-match airlines or buy two one-way flights instead of a single round-trip ticket on the same airline. Look for one-way deals on Airfarewatchdog.com or TheFlightDeal.com and use the American Express travel site to combine one-way flights on airlines.
3. Fly off-peak hours and days
And that’s not just flying between 5-7am or after 8pm, but also on days when people don’t traditionally travel. Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays are typically the best days for cheaper fares.
4. Clear your browser’s cookies before buying a flight (I apologize for not including this sign video)
According to Min-Jee Hwang of Wiser, a firm that analyzes pricing strategies, airlines use browser cookies to help track your flight search; it’s called “dynamic pricing,” and it means that prices change based on demand and conditions. While no airline has ever fessed up to doing this, best to play it safe and clear your search history and your cookies before each flight search. Or better still, use an incognito window
5. Don’t book your flight too early
The best time to book an international flight is four to six months before you fly, as that’s when the airlines have a better idea of how quickly (or slowly) a flight will start selling out — and they raise or lower fares accordingly. For domestic tickets, it’s between one to two months.