Flights can be one of the most expensive parts of a vacation. Cheap flights give you more flexibility in your budget and will mean you can spend more on nicer accommodations or extra activities. Frequent flyers who travel a lot have, thanks to experience, found a lot of ways to get the best deals. Here are a few of the methods that seasoned travelers use to find hot deals.

Use Flight Finder Websites

Websites like Skyscanner can check hundreds of flights on a particular date on hundreds of different booking websites and show you the cheapest one. The most useful thing about these websites is that you can see how much cheaper a flight could be if you left a few days later or earlier. While flying out on a Wednesday might not seem like much of a difference to flying on a Friday, sometimes you can save hundreds just by waiting a few extra days.

Additionally, a key feature of these sites is that they can find connecting flights that are much, much cheaper than flying direct. A direct flight between San Francisco and Sydney can be twice as expensive as one that stops off in Singapore, and flight finder websites can help you find these cheap flights.

Join Frequent Flyer Programs

The biggest problem with using flight finder websites is that a lot of the time you'll use a lot of different airlines. If you need a cheap flight once every few years that's perfect, but if you're flying in-and-out of one place the best thing you can do is enroll in a frequent flyer program.

These programs usually work by giving you free or discounted flights after reaching a certain amount of "air miles". Air miles are gained every time you fly with a particular airline, and once you reach a certain number, like 30,000, you can qualify for freebies. Even if in the short term flying with one airline is a little more costly you can save big time on international long-haul flights. And as a nice little bonus, if you like luxury these programs can also count towards getting upgrades to business class or free stays in 5 star hotels.

Talk to a Travel Agent

Nobody uses travel agents any more, right? People assume that, thanks to the internet, you can hunt down the cheapest possible flights themselves. Surely there's no need for discount-hungry consumers to involve some salesperson in a mall store any more? Wrong.

Travel agents use special software like Amadeus or Sabre, which are far more complex than a Google search can ever be. They also have partnerships with airlines and tour companies which can cut into costs when booking a flight. While it pays off to do your own research a professional travel agent can actually save you a lot of money on flights as well as getting you discounts on luggage or accommodation.

Sign Up to Newsletters and Price Alerts for Cheap Flights

Sometimes it pays to go last minute. If flights are under-booked airlines can slash the prices as departure approaches. if this happens, they'll send out an email alert to subscribers — you can get some real hidden gems this way. This obviously will require you to be much more spontaneous in your travel plans, but getting a 2-hour flight for just $30 is absolutely worth it. You should definitely consider opting in to a budget airline's email alerts if you want to get any last minute deals as they happen.

Booking a Flight Out of Season

If you're a frequent flyer it shouldn't really matter if you're travelling in the off season. There is far less demand outside of traditional vacation times — typically the school holidays in the summer and Christmas in the winter. Some tropical destinations are just as warm in the winter as they are in the summer, and ski towns in the autumn look gorgeous! These places will also be less crowded and you won't have to book accommodation way in advance. And, most importantly for your purposes, booking a flight can be as much as 50% cheaper in the off season as they are in peak months!

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