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How to Get the Cheapest International Flights

Updated on July 29, 2013
Getting the cheapest international flights can be a bit of a maze
Getting the cheapest international flights can be a bit of a maze | Source

If you're planning a big overseas trip you'll probably want to know how to get the cheapest international flights for your particular itinerary.

Luckily I used to be a travel agent so I'm sharing all that I learned about cheap international flights with you here...

So where to look first?

Get a few quotes in from travel agents that specialise in cheap international flights. Like it or not, big companies have big buying power and so have contracts with airlines that often give them really good prices. Get a few quotes and see what the ball park figure is looking like. Good agents will ask for your budget or if you’ve had any other quotes yet. Don’t tell them at this point though – even if you have an idea of how much you want to spend. Let them find the best deal for you. This is their job.

Get the cheapest international flights for your round the world or multi-stop trip

If you’re planning a big, multi-stop trip of grandiose proportions but are still on a tight budget for the flights, one thing you should consider first is listing out all of the places you must see. These are the places you simply cannot miss, the places that instantly spring to mind when you think about your multi-stop trip. Then make a separate list of all those places that it would be nice to see but you're not totally dead-set on. Now do the same with dates, e.g. ‘must leave Rome on 23rd October but flexible up to a week of when I leave Sydney’. Give all this information to a reputable travel agent and get them to do you two quotes – one luxury trip you’d book if you had enough money, and one more basic one that still includes all the must-see places on your list but will invariably come in cheaper. Take their advice when they make money saving suggestions if it suits you too - most good travel agents know what they're talking about.

Find out early how flexible your international flights are

After receiving quotes it’s a good idea at this stage to find out if you have the ability to change your dates whilst you’re away. If you save money at the time of paying for your international flights but then get charged the earth to change a date later on then you’ve got to look at that as extra money you’re spending on flights. Date changes can make a serious dent on your travel fund and that money could be spent on much more exciting things. Having said that, if you’re confident you've got the best deal available and you really, really don’t think you’ll change your flights then go ahead and book the cheap ticket. It’s something you have to weigh up for yourself and your own individual trip - all I'm saying is don't neglect to think about these extras. Another good tip if you think you may need to change your flights is to ask your travel agent outright if there is an extra 'administration charge' on top of the date change fee. They don't normally volunteer this information all that readily.

Check if you can save money by booking land arrangements with your international flights

Once you've booked your flights, consider whether you are going to buy tours, campervan hire, accommodation or anything else with the same agent. If you’re thinking, ‘nah, I’ll just do that separately – it’ll be cheaper,’ then you might want to reconsider. Travel agents get deals on land product where they pay up to 20 per cent less than you do – this means there’s room for negotiation here. You could pay the price in a brochure for a tour or you could level with your agent by saying: ‘Look, if I book this tour through you with the flights today, will you give me a discount on the tour?’ That way they still make money and you save money. Everybody’s happy.

Book as early as possible

For the cheapest international flights, always book as early as possible. You can book flights up to eleven months in advance and this is when the cheapest seats are released. There may be the odd sale half way through the year if some seats are proving difficult to sell but it's unlikely and cannot be relied upon. To get the cheapest international flights, book early. Trust me.

So to recap, the most important things to remember when shopping around for the cheapest international flights are to assess your trip, use a reputable and knowledgeable travel agent, know the conditions of your ticket and lastly, book as early as you can.

Oh yes, and enjoy your big trip!


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    • worldtravelexpert profile image

      Kirsty Stuart 4 years ago from London, UK

      Thanks JSParker - I'm glad you stumbled across my Hubs too! An agent can definitely help with long-haul trips. I'll be posting some more Hubs on Europe travel soon so keep checking back :o)

    • JSParker profile image

      JSParker 4 years ago from Detroit, Michigan

      I'm glad I found you, world travelexpert. I had been debating whether to involve an agent in our travel plans and when to buy flights for our European trip this coming September or October. Helpful tips! Thanks.

    • happyexplorer profile image

      happyexplorer 6 years ago from Mostly USA, sometimes elsewhere

      Excellent tips! I enjoyed reading your hub and very practical. I agree with MPG Narratives. Downright useful information that would be travelers must read!

    • worldtravelexpert profile image

      Kirsty Stuart 7 years ago from London, UK

      Thanks MPG Narratives!

    • MPG Narratives profile image

      Marie Giunta 7 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      You hubs are a must read for any traveler thanks worldtravelexpert and welcome to hubpages. If you do need more info on hubbing visit the learning center or send me any questions and I'll help where I can. Cheers Marie, member of hubgreeters team.