Australia markets closed

6 tips for saving money on your next flight abroad

Backpacker checks flight board. Source: Getty

Flights abroad can break the bank, especially if they’re during the peak months of European summer, which can be anywhere between May and August.

But, while it feels like that island getaway you’ve been dreaming of is simply too pricey, there are ways to save you time, stress and most importantly, heaps of cash when you’re booking your next flight.

1. Are you flexible?

If you’re going alone, or your travel buddy is flexible with time, one of the easiest ways to save money on your flight abroad is to play around with different departure dates.

For example, Skyscanner shows a one-stop Emirates return flight to Athens on 6 July with Emirates will set you back a cool $2,634.

Qatar Airways only varies slightly, with a one-way flight to Athens costing $1,047, and $1,818 to return.

But, if you rescheduled to head off a little earlier, flying out on 1 June this year (and returning four weeks later) will only set you back $1,891 in total.

That’s a whopping $700 in savings for just for changing your date, and the bonus?

Your flights is four weeks closer.

2. Your destination matters

Internal flights in Europe are dirt cheap, so you could find a good way to save a little more cash on your overseas dash is to switch up your destinations.

For example, flying to Amsterdam on 1 June (and out four weeks later) can cost you just $1,335 return with China Southern, which is $556 cheaper than a flight into Athens on the same date.

But, if Athens is still your ultimate destination, an internal flight from Amsterdam to Athens with Aegean Airlines is not only a quick three hour flight, but will also cost you just $175.

That means your total is still $381 less than a one-stop flight to Athens, and you’re only three hours late to the (toga) party.

3. Explore “hidden cities”

If you hadn’t heard of hidden cities, and your first thought was the Lost City of Atlantis, you’re not alone.

But a far cry from a magical underwater realm, hidden city flights (or point beyond flights) are flights that connect in a city you want to go, and they’re often a lot cheaper than directly flying to it.

It’s heavily opposed by airlines as it can deprive full-leg travelers of seats they need, or delay the travel plans of others, but if you’re keen to do it anyway, Skiplagged is a website that can show you the best hidden city deals.

According to travel news site, Travel and Leisure, while you’ll be saving on flights, you’ll be spending on travel necessities when you arrive at your destination, because hidden city flying prevents you from checking in any luggage (as your ditching the flight mid-way).

4. Book with the best

There are countless search engines out there to book your flights, and they all have slightly inflated costs to account for airline cuts.

They all fluctuate, so it pays to keep tabs on all of them so you know when the best deals are out.

Budget travel site, Thrifty Nomads rates Skyscanner at the top of its list, followed by Momondo and AirFare Watchdog.

While they all have their peaks and pits, no site gets it 100 per cent right, so it’s best that travellers try a combination of search engines to ensure they’re getting the best deals.

5. Turn on incognito mode

Internet cookies aren’t as sweet as the edible kind.

They’re messages that web servers pass to your web browser when you visit Internet sites, and they get stored in your browser so that when you request another page from the server, it sends the cookie back to them.

So, what does this mean for you?

Well, based on the cookies in your browser, flight prices will increase when a particular route is repeatedly searched, which scares you into booking flights quickly before prices get even higher.

The solution is to simply hit incognito mode (or private browsing) on your computer or phone, which opens a new browser where your information is not tracked.

This means all your cookies will be reset each time you re-open an incognito window, and you can browse with a clean slate.

6. Fly for free with airline points

The best price is always free, and believe it or not, there’s actually a way to do it.

Most credit cards these days earn you frequent flyer points, and some even for you stacks of points just for signing up.

Finder.com.au reported Virgin Australia’s Velocity Flyer Card can earn you 75,000 ($129) when you spend $1,500 per month.

A Westpac American Express card can earn you 120,000 Qantas points if you spend $3,000 within the first 90 days from card approval, and can get you up to 2 points per dollar spent.

According to Australian Business Traveler, with that amount of points, you’d be able to snag a return economy class ticket from Australia’s east coast to London or New York, or if you’re a big spender anyway, upgrade 24 times to business class.

So, while technically you still have to spend to receive, your flights are on the house.

What are you waiting for?

Make your money work with Yahoo Finance’s daily newsletter. Sign up here and stay on top of the latest money, property and tech news.