Gap Year

5 Easy Ways to Book Last-Minute Cheap Flights

From switching up your search method to being flexible about your departure date, check out the strategies for booking last-minute cheap flights!

A woman stands in front of a window looking at a tarmac.

After deciding on a destination to fulfill your wanderlust, the next step you’ll need to take is booking your flight abroad. Although having your travels confirmed in the form of a flight ticket is exciting, the pre-departure stage can be both overwhelming and expensive. Luckily, there are a number of strategies you can use to minimize costs when planning your next adventure abroad.

1. Use flight comparison websites

When considering which flight you're going to take, you’re also considering which airline you’ll fly with. However, there are so many airlines to choose from. Some are budget-friendly whereas others offer luxury at a higher cost, so it can be tricky to navigate if you don’t know which airlines offer the cheapest flights.

Using a flight comparison website can give you a comprehensive overview of flight prices on a single platform. Instead of visiting each airline’s website individually, you can use websites or metasearch engines such as Google Flights, Expedia, or Skyscanner in order to see which airlines offer cheap flights.

You might think that going directly with an airline would be cheaper because it cuts out the middleman. However, going with a third-party website can actually be the cheaper option.

2. Consider other airports

A man looks at a flight board in an airport.

Although the major international airport near you may seem like the obvious choice, don’t restrict your options by disregarding other nearby airports. You may find that other smaller airports offer greater deals.

To search for flight costs from other airports, you can use platforms such as Google Flights or Skyscanner. These websites will allow you to include not only flights from major airports but also from multiple airports nearby. If you are considering venturing to a different airport, you should also consider the transportation costs to see if the price difference is worth traveling further for.

Read more: 10 Useful International Travel Tips for First Time Travelers

3. Keep dates flexible and strategize your timing

Keeping your dates flexible is another way to find success when booking last-minute cheap flights. By allowing yourself to fly on any number of days throughout the week, you’re opening up greater potential for snagging deals.

Typically, flights on weekends are more expensive than those during the week. This is because these flights are more convenient options for those who work full-time. That creates a higher demand, thus increasing the price.

You’ll find lower prices during the week on days such as Tuesdays and Wednesdays, especially when it comes to flying internationally. While there may not be a deal-breaking difference between flying on a Tuesday or a Sunday, any money saved can be put toward fun activities and delicious meals during your trip.

If you're using websites like Google Flights, Skyscanner, or Flights Finder you can look for the cheapest days to fly across the whole month in order to compare prices with ease.

4. Subscribe to flight deals and set price alerts

Emails flooding your inbox can be annoying, especially when they’re irrelevant. But, when you’re on the hunt for last-minute flight deals, newsletters and flight deal emails from travel websites and companies can help you find a gem among stones. Instead of spending the time and effort seeking out the best cheap flight deals, they come to you!

Subscribing to email alerts from flight and travel websites like Going can give you insight into:

  • The latest flight deals
  • Promotions for accommodation, tours, activities, and more
  • The top things to do in each country
  • Airports that are offering cheaper flight tickets

In addition to subscribing to flight deals and newsletters, setting price alerts can help you keep track of flights on your ideal dates and from different airports. If you’re not yet set on a date or airport, you can track different flights across the week and from different places to see which ones are fluctuating in price.

5. Take the longer route

A man works on a laptop in an airport.

Typically, flight journeys that have more connections are cheaper than direct flights. While you may think that more flights equals higher costs, it can be the case that flights with multiple connections will save you plenty of money.

Additionally, you can strike great deals by booking a multi-city flight with an airline. Multi-city flights are still counted as one single journey, but they include 2 stops along the way, and these often come with great deals such as discounted accommodation, tours, and more!

This all depends on whether you are willing to spend a little more time and do a little more maneuvering to save those extra bucks. While some people may associate longer journeys with inconvenience, there are some benefits to having connections or longer layovers.

  • Complete remote work 💻: Longer layovers are not always bad, especially if you’re a digital nomad. If money is on your mind and you’re trying to be frugal, you can earn some of the money back while you’re traveling and break even.
  • Sightsee in a different country 📍: Extra-long layovers can give you the chance to see an entirely new country. When you have a layover of around 6 hours or more, you can use this time to wander around the new destination if you have a transit visa (or don’t need a visa at all). Although you’ll be there briefly, you can add it to the list of countries you’ve visited!
  • Break up the monotony 🎭: A long layover can break up the monotony of sitting on a flight and it can give you a chance to refresh yourself and stretch your legs. If your connecting flight is at a renowned airport, such as Changi in Singapore, for example, you could even waltz into the cinema and the shopping mall during your free time!

Read more: How to Travel Like a Pro: Airport Tips & Tricks for Stress-Free Travel


Use these strategies to find last-minute cheap flights!

Finding the right plane ticket doesn’t have to be stressful. In fact, it should be exciting. While at times it can be difficult to commit to a particular date and a specific airline, there are a number of ways in which you can narrow down your choices and find the most cost-effective option for you.

Whether you subscribe to newsletters, set price alerts, or grant yourself the flexibility to travel across the whole month, there are always a range of strategies for booking last-minute cheap flights.