Round-trip flights are generally cheaper than their one-way alternatives. But how do you take that further and book the cheapest round-trip plane tickets possible?
Finding ways to save money on cheap round-trip tickets can sometimes feel complex. The algorithms and other pricing strategies airlines use mean that tickets can sometimes change prices from one day to the next.
For most trips, whether traveling internationally or domestically, flights will be your most significant expense. But there are cheap round-trip flights out there to take advantage of if you’re looking in the right places.
With this in mind, here are five simple ways to book cheap round-trip flights to anywhere. Next time you’re planning a vacation, try these out!
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Easy Ways to Book Cheap Round Trip Flights to Anywhere
1. Use Cheap Flight Alerts
Sites like Going (Formerly Scott’s Cheap Flights), Thrifty Traveler, Airfarewatchdog, and Dollar Flight Club will help you find the cheapest deals. They’re great resources that help you act quickly on potentially fleeting savings.
The catch is that you’ll likely have to follow the deal, which may mean choosing an unexpected destination or being flexible with your travel dates. When you sign up for Going.com, you get a host of options sent to your inbox. If you see a deal you like, head to the airline directly and book a flight!
Using Dollar Flight Club or Thrifty Traveler is a pretty similar process. With Dollar Flight Club, you can sign up for the app to receive dollar-saving alerts on your mobile. Similarly, with Thrifty Traveler, you can enjoy instant email alerts on hot airfare deals, some even as far into the future as a year away.
It’s also worth noting that whether you sign up for Going, Thrifty Traveler, or Dollar Flight Club, there’s an option to go premium, and premium memberships often pay for themselves in just one deal. Premium benefits include, but are not limited to:
- Alerts on mistake pricing.
- A priority spot in the queue for receiving deals.
- The ability to personalize deals for your own travel plans and wishes.
2. Use Flight Search Engines
If you’ve got a good idea of where and when you intend to travel, setting an airfare alert may help you get the best flight price. Search engines like Skyscanner, Kayak, Google Flights, or Hopper can save you time, money, and hassle.
All you have to do is input your intended travel dates and destination and then sift through the search results. The search results available to you will list airlines all in one convenient spot. This makes it easy to filter through and find the best deals for your travel requirements.
I’m a big fan of taking to Skyscanner before I book any flights to gauge my flight options. You can search flights for set destination points or use the ‘explore everywhere’ option.
The ‘explore everywhere’ option is great if you’re not set on where you’re going. It will present you with a list of destination options with flight pricing for your dates so you can pick the cheapest one for your vacation!
Otherwise, Skyscanner lets you see monthly calendar views on flight routes. So, say you want to book a round trip from Los Angeles to New York. You would input destination points and travel dates as normal, then click ‘search whole month’ to view detailed information on pricing for each day of travel.
See Related: Best Skyscanner Alternatives to Book Travel
3. Credit Card Rewards
Credit card rewards can be a great way of securing cheap round-trip flight tickets. Most credit card companies will make it easy enough to earn points through everyday spending. So, without changing your daily habits, you can rack up points for travel-related benefits later.
Rewards can bring many benefits, like free (or reduced-cost) flights, lounge access, or seat upgrades. Keep an eye out for the deals that will help your points stretch the furthest, as not all deals are created equal.
Points are also a useful asset to help lessen the cost of unforeseen travel requirements. I saved just shy of $400 not so long ago on an unavoidable last-minute flight. So, if you’re booking last-minute flights for a round-trip vacation, it helps to have points at hand for more affordable flight options.
Chase Sapphire Preferred is an excellent option to consider when looking at credit card rewards. With Chase Sapphire Preferred, you get a 25% boost in points value if you book things like flight tickets or car rentals on their online portal.
See Related: Best Travel Credit Cards with No Annual Fee
4. Stay Flexible
Staying flexible on your travel plans is one of the best ways to get the best deals for the cheapest round-trip flights.
Flight routes with a longer layover rather than a short stopover between connecting flights could save you hundreds of dollars. Moreover, looking into traveling in the low season vs. in the high will significantly impact flight deals.
Also worth staying flexible on is how much luggage you take on holiday with you. If you opt to pack light and only take carry-on baggage, you avoid paying checked luggage fees. At your destination, seek the nearest local laundry service and clean as needed.
Lastly, be flexible on when you travel, if possible. Being flexible, even by just a day or two, can lead to significant savings on round-trip airline tickets.
See Related: Ways to Luggage-Free Travel (Yes, It’s Possible)
5. Consider Skiplagging
While airlines aren’t too keen on the practice, skip-lagging is a way to travel savvy and save money on cheap airfare. Skiplagging is when you book a multi-stop flight but don’t intend to complete the whole journey. So, instead of traveling through to your final destination, you disembark at the connecting city.
Using sites like Skiplagged can make delving into the realm of skiplagging a simple process. It’s an incredibly user-friendly website that will let you book directly to many destinations. The most significant benefit of booking round-trip plane tickets this way is the considerable savings you can enjoy.
But this tactic comes with drawbacks. Airlines aren’t keen on skiplagging, and many don’t allow it, as they lose out on profits. You might face costly consequences, a ban from the airline, or a loss in any frequent flyer miles you’ve gained.
This tactic should be used as the last resort to getting cheap round-trip plane tickets as it often works better with one-way flights. The airline will almost always notice you didn’t travel to your final destination and cancel your return ticket as a consequence!
See Related: Skiplagged Review: Is It Safe and Legit?
The Bottom Line
There are numerous ways to secure the cheapest round-trip airfare. Flight deals are available to suit all travel requirements and preferences. So, regardless of where and when you’re going away, it’s worth considering the options to find the cheapest flights for your trip.
Search engines can collate flight costs from multiple airlines to compare the best flight deals or vacation packages. Most credit card companies have reward points programs to help reduce overall travel costs.
Moreover, there are many things you can do yourself to reduce the costs of booking round-trip airfares. Be flexible in the airlines you choose and gravitate more towards budget airlines. Or, open yourself up to more destinations to get the best price on a more spontaneous trip.
This list of easy ways to book cheap round-trip flights is not exhaustive. But using the advice noted here could save you money on flights that could be better spent on the vacation itself!
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Lisa Ward is a travel writer based in Jersey. She loves hiking and adventure travel, and has hiked to Everest Base Camp and Machu Picchu, as well as through Patagonia and up several volcanoes across the world. Lisa cycled down Death Road in Bolivia, went canyoneering in Costa Rica, climbed canopies in Honduras. That school trip to Honduras sparked Lisa’s interest in the underwater world. She has since undergone basic training in biological research concerning marine conservation, most notably that of coral reefs, and is a PADI qualified Rescue Diver with a specialty in underwater photography. So far, she has dived in Jersey, Honduras, Indonesia, and the Great Barrier Reef.
After gaining her law degree and falling into the world of finance, Lisa gained a qualification in digital marketing before deciding to take the leap into writing full time. Lisa is also a trained English Language tutor with a TEFL qualification and specialty qualifications in teaching online and 1-1. Other interests include playing the clarinet, which Lisa played in orchestras from the age of 10 to 19, martial arts (black belt in karate), and quite literally anything outdoors.