Yrene lives in the Okanagan, British Columbia, Canada, and is the founder of BackcountryCanadaTravel.com. She was born in Switzerland, lived and worked on different continents and has travelled the world. Yes, that's me, an Entrepreneur, wilderness nut and animal lover who prefers off-the-beaten-track places. I write about things I love. Mostely.
How to find the best airfare deal for Canada
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Most of our trip planning starts with the tiresome, repeated search for the cheapest flight and best airfare deal to our travel destination. Flight travel still adds up to one of the largest expenses for a trip to Canada, or anywhere else in the world of travel.
Still, there are amazing flight deals out there to be discovered if you know how to search for them.
There are no magic bullets in finding a cheap flight. What may work one day might not work the next. Despite of it all, there are a few things you should know to find the best airfare deals available. Booking a flight and trying to follow all the advice and tips offered on the Internet could be overwhelming if this is not something you do all the time.
Keep your searches private
Based on cookies in your browser, flight prices do increase when you search a particular route several times. It is important to always search in incognito or in private browsing mode to look for the cheapest airfare deal. Search engines and booking sites store your previous search history so that they know what they offered you the last time.
You don’t know how to open an incognito window in your web browser? Check out “How to go incognito in all web browsers” to find out how.
Even as a frequent traveller, I must confess that I’m always a bit nervous before I decide on a flight deal I find during my online search and before I push the “Book Now” button. To get a refund on a booked cheap flight is often not possible. Therefore it is important to do your research beforehand.
Consider before you “Book Now”.
- Travel dates and times – Check the travel dates and travel times. Cheap flights sometimes leave early or late in the day and getting to the airport could cause a problem.
- Baggage – many budget airlines charge extra for baggage and have limited weight rules. If this is the case, find out whether you can pay extra for additional luggage and what it will cost. Booking additional baggage online is almost always cheaper than at the airport. Flying with different airlines could add substantial costs to your ticket. Your cheap ticket could suddenly be not cheap anymore.
- Airlines – do you feel comfortable flying with the particular airline? Do you trust the company?
- Flight connections – do you have enough time between connecting flights? Is the connecting flight leaving from the same airport? You probably don’t want to arrive at London Heathrow with a connecting flight leaving from Gatwick airport which could turn into an expensive, time-consuming hassle.
- Re-check baggage– it happens frequently that you have to collect your luggage, go through customs and check-in again before boarding your next flight with a different airline.
Tight connections between flights
Not having lots of time between connecting flights always makes me nervous. This is not the case when I book with kiwi.com, which I did for my last big trip between Canada and Europe. kiwi.com offer their own guarantee on making connecting flights, even when it’s not with the same partner airlines. Should you miss a flight, you are fully covered. At this point, I don’t know of another company who offers this additional service. Not only did I find an amazing deal with kiwi.com, but I also was more relaxed during the trip knowing about the guarantee.
Long Layovers at airports
Long layovers at airports are not fun; I’ve been stuck at airports many times. Overnight stays in hotels add to your travel costs and don’t give you much time to see anything. Airport hotels are not cheap and spending the night on an airport chair is not at all comfortable. A four-hour layover is about as much as I can tolerate. More than that you end up dragging your luggage around the airport before check-in opens up in the morning. Still, if the ticket price amounts to the deal of the year, I can put up with an eight-hour layover at London’s Gatwick, as I did during my last trip.
One-way Air Fares
Take advantage of one-way flights if you are flexible and not time bound.
I was always under the impression that one-way flights were out of the question because of heavy surcharges put on by the airlines. It is true that some one-way tickets can cost 80 % or even the same as a return ticket, but don’t let this fool you. If you have lots of time available for your trip and you’re flexible about return dates and other destinations, looking for a one-way flight deal is a great idea. Kiwi.com is a good place to search; they offer cheap deals flying with Westjet between Canada and London England and connect with Easy Jet to other European destinations.
Mix and Match Airlines
Usually, you get the best deal on flights when you mix and match different airlines to get you to your destination. Most of the times, booking websites use the same airlines whenever possible. Of course, flying long distance with the same airline can make the trip less stressful, You can read how to travel stressfree with Air Canada.
Find the cheapest place to fly to
Whether you know where you’re going in Canada or you’re flexible and just want to find the cheapest possible city to fly into, kiwi.com is the perfect tool to find a deal and save some dollars. Navigate onto their site and enter your departure city and select a date range to fly. Fill in the city of choice or just Canada and it will allow you to see the most cost-effective place you can fly to.
Kiwi.com will mix and match airlines, including budget airlines and will find you the cheapest route. This can make a huge price difference, especially for long-haul flights.
My favourite Airline Booking Sites
There are many flight comparison websites available and trying out a few you will figure out which ones give you the best results and are the most user-friendly. Booking websites search for cheap airfares for you and save you lots of time. Sign up to receive alerts for when the price drops.
- Google flights – this is a fast search engine and displays months worth of fares. Choosing the calendar based view shows you a simple calendar view with the cheapest fare over the next 12 month. Google Flight also offers multiple airport search for the cheapest fare between up to seven origin and 7 destination airports.
- kiwi.com – my top choice lately for booking flights. The booking engine combines all airlines to create routes that are cheaper than booking with just one airline.
- CheapFlights – this is a flight search engine and travel deals website (managed by KAJAK). It finds great deals and compares prices from suppliers, including major airlines.
- VAYAMA – is an online travel agency with a new way to search and book international flights. Check out the interactive map tool and access a wide selection of airlines, routes and fares.
More tips to consider
- Being flexible with travel dates, travel times and airport destinations will save you heaps of money. Flights with multiple stops and layovers can also save you travel dollars.
- Don’t always fly direct
- You can’t predict prices and the best day to book a flight may be today.
- To get a cheap flight you need to book a date when no one else wants to fly.
- Changing the departure and/arrival Airports might save you money.
- Always visit the airlines’ websites to see if there are any cheaper deals. In order to encourage consumers to book directly with them, airlines often have cheaper prices listed on their website. Booking directly with an Airline is the easiest way.
- Always read the small print when you book a cheap flight.
How do you go about finding cheap airfare? Please leave a comment below.
- How to find cheap Canadian flights
- How to travel stress-free with Air Canada
- How to travel light with carry-on only and save money
- Travel Guides Destination Canada