Lonely Planet Writer

Don’t make these mistakes when booking flights

Most avid travellers are always on the hunt for a great deal on a flight, but it can be hard to figure out just how to get one. Luckily, Hopper, an airfare prediction app, has debunked a number of myths when it comes to getting the best deal.

The secret to getting a good deal on a flight. Image by Westend61/Getty Images

According to Hopper, it’s a myth that non-stop flights are always more expensive than those with stopovers. While on average you save about 5% by taking a flight with one stop, Hopper says that there are more and more cheap non-stop flights available now. This happens for about one in every three searches. If you’re wondering how to avail of these cheaper non-stop flights, they tend to be found in places where low-cost airlines are driving down the prices of competitors.

You could be on a dream holiday soon. Image by ©Colin Anderson/Getty Images

Many travellers also tend to think that staying over a weekend makes a trip more expensive. But according to Hopper, except for flights to the Caribbean, all other spots are cheaper when a Saturday night is part of your stay when travelling from the US. It’s the most significant when heading to Europe, where it’s about 40% cheaper if your trip will include a Saturday night. If you’re staying closer to home and flying domestically, or to Canada, Mexico or Central America, the savings will only be about 3%.

Woman reading on the beach during sunset in Indonesia. Image by ©AleksandarGeorgiev/Getty Images

While most of us have been hit in the pocket by booking a flight too late, it turns out that you can also lose out by booking too early. While a flight may be on sale 11 months before it leaves, airlines set conservative prices at the start, and the actual deals won’t begin until about 150 days before the flight.

Though it may be inconvenient, Hopper found that shopping at unpredictable times does yield more deals. Skyscanner also recently reported that 5 am brings the best time for savings, so perhaps it’s worth waking up early to get a good deal.