The Secrets to Booking Cheap Flights

    By using the 24-hour rule and Southwest Airlines, travelers can freeze flight prices, consult with travel partners, wait for better deals, and potentially save money on flights.

    enJune 16, 2022

    About this Episode

    Travel can offer a lot of good: memory-making adventure, mind-expanding experiences, and plenty of fun and relaxation. It's not surprising then that most people say they'd like to travel more than they do. What's keeping them from fulfilling that desire? Well, one obstacle, especially these days, is that the high price of plane tickets puts flying out of reach.

    My guest today can help you surmount this obstacle so you can get away more often. His name is Scott Keyes, and he's the founder of Scott's Cheap Flights and the author of Take More Vacations: How to Search Better, Book Cheaper, and Travel the World. Today on the show, Scott shares how scoring cheap flights can help you travel more often, the advantages of taking more frequent vacations, and the psychological benefit of planning your trips well in advance. We then get into the misconceptions people have about ticket pricing. From there we turn to Scott's strategies for booking cheap flights, beginning with why he recommends adopting a "Flight First" rather than "Destination First" approach. Scott shares the "Goldilocks" time window when cheap flights are most likely to pop up, the benefits of building flexibility into your itinerary, the days that are typically cheapest to fly, and his favorite search site to look for flights. He also explains how to use the 24-hour rule and Southwest Airlines as arbitrage in getting better prices on your tickets, and how to employ what he calls the "Greek Islands Strategy" to save money when flying internationally. We end our conversation with how to take advantage of "mistake fares," and whether the high prices you're seeing this summer are here to stay.

    Connect With Scott Keyes

    🔑 Key Takeaways

    • Plan ahead, be flexible, and follow Scott's tips to save money and enjoy frequent, affordable vacations.
    • Vacations are essential for personal growth and fulfillment, and with affordable flights and simplified booking processes, everyone can experience the joy of exploring new destinations and activities.
    • Taking more affordable vacations allows for self-discovery and increased enjoyment in travel experiences, without the pressure for perfection.
    • Planning multiple trips to off-the-beaten-path places brings more happiness and fulfillment compared to popular tourist destinations, as the anticipation of a trip plays a significant role in overall enjoyment.
    • Airfare prices can vary greatly and change rapidly, so be patient when prices are high and act quickly when they are low.
    • The price of airfare is not determined by flight distance, but by a combination of factors including airport location and volatility in airfare prices.
    • By adjusting your approach to travel planning and prioritizing cheap flights, you can save money and discover hidden gems around the world. Start by looking for cheap flights from your home airport, decide on an affordable destination, and find dates that work for your schedule with the available cheap fares. Embrace the serendipity of finding unexpected, affordable trips and explore multiple locations for the price of one.
    • Flexibility and strategic planning are key to finding affordable flights; prioritize price, consider alternative airports, and utilize the Goldilocks Windows approach for better deals.
    • Being flexible with your travel plans, including considering nearby airports, can lead to significant cost savings and shorter travel times.
    • It's best to book flight tickets one to three months in advance for most flights, avoiding booking too early or too late. The misconception of cheaper fares on certain days no longer holds true, and flexibility in dates and planning in advance allows for more affordable flights.
    • It's best to book flights directly with the airline for federal protections, easy itinerary changes, and a simpler travel experience.
    • By using the 24-hour rule and Southwest Airlines, travelers can freeze flight prices, consult with travel partners, wait for better deals, and potentially save money on flights.
    • By strategically planning layovers, using the Greek island strategy, and keeping an eye out for mistake fares, travelers can score heavily discounted tickets to popular destinations.
    • Act fast to secure mistake fares and save up to 50% on flights by booking during the fall season.
    • To save money on flights, avoid peak travel seasons and book in advance during the opposite season.

    đź“ť Podcast Summary

    Discover the Secrets to Affordable Travel with Scott's Cheap Flights

    Scott's Cheap Flights offers a solution to the obstacle of high-priced plane tickets, allowing you to travel more often. Scott Keyes, the founder, specializes in finding cheap flights and shares his tips in his new book. He discusses the advantages of taking frequent vacations, emphasizing the importance of planning trips well in advance for psychological benefits. He also debunks misconceptions about ticket pricing and provides strategies for booking cheap flights. Scott recommends adopting a flight-first approach rather than focusing on the destination. He reveals the best time window for cheap flights, the benefits of itinerary flexibility, and the cheapest days to fly. By utilizing Scott's strategies and taking advantage of mistake fares, you can make travel more affordable and fulfill your desire to explore the world.

    Discover the surprising benefits of vacations and how to overcome booking stress.

    People need to take more vacations, not just for the sake of relaxation, but also for personal growth and enjoyment. Despite the desire to travel more, Americans have been taking fewer vacation days over the years. One reason for this is the stress and complexity of booking flights, which prevents people from planning their trips and leads to anxiety. By offering affordable flight options and simplifying the process, Scott Keyes aims to help people overcome these barriers and take the vacations they desire. Additionally, Keyes emphasizes that vacations are not just about relaxing on a beach, but about exploring new destinations and engaging in activities that align with individual interests and personalities. By prioritizing vacations and experiencing different travel experiences, people can enhance their enjoyment and personal fulfillment.

    Discover the secret to ultimate travel satisfaction with more vacations!

    Taking more vacations can lead to increased satisfaction with your travel experiences. By going on multiple trips, you have the opportunity to figure out what types of destinations and activities you truly enjoy. Cheap flights are a great way to enable more vacations, allowing you to explore different places without breaking the bank. Taking smaller, cheaper vacations also reduces the pressure to have a perfect experience and allows for more relaxation and flexibility. Additionally, breaking up your vacations throughout the year instead of having one big trip can prevent disappointment and provide a more positive outlook. Overall, taking more vacations and utilizing affordable travel options can enhance your enjoyment and help you discover the places that truly resonate with you.

    Why You Should Swap Paris for Lesser Known Destinations

    If you have multiple trips a year, it's worth taking a chance and exploring less popular destinations that might resonate with you personally. These off-the-beaten-path places can often provide some of the most memorable experiences. While popular tourist destinations like Paris and London may initially seem exciting, they often don't live up to the hype. Additionally, the anticipation of a trip plays a significant role in our overall happiness and enjoyment. Research shows that we experience more joy in the weeks and months leading up to a trip, as well as in the weeks and months after we return, compared to the actual trip itself. By planning trips further in advance and having multiple vacations to look forward to, we can prolong the happiness and fulfillment associated with travel.

    Discover the shocking truth about airfare prices and how they can change in a blink!

    Airfare prices are highly volatile and can fluctuate significantly from day to day. Unlike other goods, such as a gallon of milk, airfare is not static and can change in orders of magnitude within a short period. This volatility is due to unique characteristics of airfare, such as the limited seats available on each flight and the unpredictability of traveler bookings. As consumers, it is important to stop thinking of airfare as a stable commodity and instead recognize that today's expensive flight could become tomorrow's cheap flight, and vice versa. Furthermore, it is advised to be patient when fares are expensive and to act quickly when they are cheap because the prices can change rapidly.

    Why the price of airfare has nothing to do with distance.

    The price of airfare is not directly correlated to the distance of your trip. Scott Keyes explains that flying from different airports can yield the same fare despite vastly different flight distances. Many people assume that clearing their cookies or using incognito mode while searching for flights will result in lower prices, but this is a misconception. Scott tested this theory and found that the fare remained the same regardless of how many times he searched. He also explains that airlines don't monitor individual searches to jack up prices, but rather airfare prices are constantly changing due to volatility. Taking a flight-first approach, rather than a destination-first approach, can help find cheaper deals when searching for flights.

    Save money and explore new destinations by prioritizing cheap flights

    If you prioritize cheap flights and adjust your approach to travel planning, you can save a significant amount of money and discover unexpected destinations. Instead of choosing a destination first and then searching for flights, start by looking for cheap flights available from your home airport. Then, decide which of those affordable destinations interests you the most. Finally, find dates that work for your schedule with the cheap fares available. By reordering your priorities and considering cheap flights as the top priority, you can take advantage of incredible deals and have the opportunity to explore multiple locations for the price of one. Embrace the serendipity of finding unexpected, affordable trips and discover hidden gems around the world.

    Want to save money on flights? Here's a foolproof strategy!

    Being flexible and strategic in your approach to booking flights can lead to significant savings. Scott Keyes emphasizes the importance of prioritizing price when searching for flights, even before choosing a destination. However, he acknowledges that not all trips allow for such flexibility. In these cases, timing becomes crucial. Keyes recommends utilizing the Goldilocks Windows approach, where specific time frames before travel are more likely to offer cheaper flights. Additionally, he suggests considering alternative airports and checking airlines like Southwest separately for potentially better deals. By being intentional about these factors, even when faced with limited flexibility, travelers can still find ways to save money and get the best possible deals on flights.

    This family saved $10,000 on flights with this simple trick!

    Being flexible in your travel plans can save you both money and time. By keeping an eye on nearby airports, you may find significantly cheaper flights that are worth the extra drive. In one example, a family of five saved $10,000 by purchasing tickets from Chicago to Bali instead of Detroit. Despite the additional car ride, their total travel time was actually shorter compared to flights from Detroit with multiple connections and long layovers. Additionally, injecting flexibility in your travel plans can include changing the airport you fly out of or even the airport you fly into. This could involve driving a few hours or adjusting your arrival time to save money or make the trip more enjoyable. So, even if you don't have complete flexibility, finding ways to incorporate some flexibility can result in significant benefits.

    The Goldilocks Model: The Perfect Time to Buy Plane Tickets

    It is best to follow the Goldilocks model when buying flight tickets, which is booking one to three months in advance for most flights. Booking too early or too late can result in more expensive fares. Airlines are counting on business travelers to buy last-minute tickets at high prices, so waiting until the last minute is not advisable. Additionally, the misconception that booking flights on a certain day will result in cheaper fares is no longer true. Airfare is now set algorithmically and can change daily or even hourly. Generally, the cheapest days to fly are Tuesday, Wednesday, and Saturday, but there are no guarantees. It is also important to consider seasonality, as summer and holidays tend to be more expensive. Traveling during less popular times of the year can lead to finding very cheap tickets. Overall, flexibility in travel dates and planning in advance can lead to more affordable flights.

    Flight search engines don't matter - here's why booking directly does!

    While flight search engines like Expedia, Kayak, and Google Flights may have different user interfaces, the actual results are generally the same across the board. So, it's not a significant factor in finding the best fares. However, when it comes to booking your flights, it's advisable to book directly with the airline. This is because booking directly with the airline provides certain federal protections, such as the 24-hour rule that allows you to cancel your purchase and get a full cash refund within 24 hours. Additionally, booking directly with the airline makes it easier to handle any changes or issues with your itinerary, as you can deal directly with the airline rather than going through a middleman. By differentiating where you search and where you book, you can have a simpler and more convenient travel experience.

    You Won't Believe How This Simple Trick Can Save You Money on Flights!

    Using the 24-hour rule and Southwest Airlines as an arbitrage tool can help travelers save money and take advantage of cheaper flights. By booking a flight with a good fare and then canceling it within 24 hours, travelers can freeze the price and have time to decide if they want to proceed with the trip or not. This is particularly useful when you need to consult with a travel partner or wait for better deals. Additionally, using Southwest Airlines allows you to set a price ceiling, as their flights are free to cancel and the funds can be used as travel credit for future trips. By monitoring prices and canceling/re-booking, travelers can potentially save money and take cheaper trips.

    The Secret Air Travel Hack That Saves You Tons of Money

    Utilizing layovers and exploring different airline options can significantly reduce the cost of air travel. By taking advantage of the Greek island strategy, travelers can save money by booking flights to a major hub, such as Athens, and then easily continuing on to their desired destination within Europe. Additionally, being open to mistake fares can lead to incredible deals on flights. Mistake fares occur more often than people realize and are often honored by the airlines. By staying vigilant and keeping an eye out for these opportunities, travelers can score heavily discounted tickets to popular destinations. It's important to be creative and proactive in searching for cheaper alternatives, as airlines typically do not sell tickets for rival airlines.

    Don't Miss Out on This Travel Hack: How to Score Mistake Fares Before They're Gone!

    If you come across a mistake fare, it's important to act quickly and book it right away. These mistake fares can disappear within seconds once they are fixed. Additionally, if you're looking for cheaper flights, it's better to hold off on traveling during the summer and consider traveling in the fall or beyond. Prices for flights tend to be 50% lower or more during the fall season. Despite the current high prices due to pent-up travel demand and other factors, flight prices will eventually go back to normal fall levels. It's advisable to book your flights in advance to secure the cheaper fares and give yourself something to look forward to.

    The secret to finding cheap flights: book during the offseason!

    If you want to find cheap flights, it's best to avoid flying in the middle of summer when fares are most expensive. Planning well ahead is crucial to securing good deals, and a smart strategy is to book flights during the opposite season. Just like winter coats are cheapest to buy in the summer, winter holiday flights are also much cheaper when purchased during the summer. By booking Christmas and New Year's flights in advance, you can save a significant amount of money compared to waiting and booking at the same time as everyone else. So, if you're looking for affordable flights, consider booking in the offseason and take advantage of the savings.

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