How To Book The Cheapest Flight

Booking the cheapest flight can feel like a game of roulette. Should you book last minute or 8 months in advance? Is there a specific day and time when flights are optimally priced? Travelstart has the answers you need to get the most air mileage for your money.

1. Consider flying at off-peak times

If you can’t book far in advance consider a new strategy – go against the crowd and select midweek domestic flights when possible. Tuesday and Wednesday are considered to be the best days. Saturdays midday, afternoon and evening are generally cheaper as are major holidays such as the 25 December. Dates like Friday the 13th have cheaper fares. Lunchtime flights are generally unpopular as are the very early flights (except on busy commuter routes). It’s all about having a maverick strategy. If you are planning a weekend away try to avoid public holidays and book on the Thursday returning on the Tuesday.

2. Being flexible saves you money

Flexible ticket travelstart

Choose the flexible ticket option when booking flights and get a free-date change should you need to change your flight- this excludes fare and tax increases but means you won’t be stuck without a flight in a pinch and gives you greater freedom.

If you’re not in an enormous hurry consider a short layover. Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Doha and Istanbul are popular stop-overs.

Layovers don’t have to be boring and can actually be an added bonus on a holiday:

3. Narrow things down with Flapp


Frequent flyer for business? Use the Flapp app to hone in on the Johannesburg – Cape Town commute. The app provides an easy way to view all domestic flights on this route for the next 7 days and find cheap fares at the last minute which fit your schedule. Find out more here.

4. Watch out for add-ons

If you’re just heading out for the weekend keep your budget down by unchecking the added baggage fee that some airlines charge. Flysafair operates on the original low-cost airline model (as used by carriers such as Ryanair in Europe).

Carry-ons are your new best friend. Have a look at our pro-packing tips for more inspiration:

5. When to shop

According to Tuesday at 10am in South Africa (3pm Eastern Time) is the best time to shop for flights.

It must be said that flight booking is not a precise science but a careful balancing act of fuel price fluctuations, inflation and demand and supply.

For greater insight into the domestic flight industry price fluctuations read:

6. Stay informed

sign up to Travelstart

Follow your travel booking site on social media and sign up for the newsletter to hear about sales first. Often airlines will drop sales in the middle of the night so it pays to follow us to be informed in real time. Sign up to our newsletter to the right of this post to be informed first on all the best specials and sales.

7. So when is the best time to book for domestic flights?

Between 2 and a half months and 30 days is considered to be optimal though look out for flight specials in our newsletter as domestic airlines do drop their prices closer to the time. Tip: August is a cheap month to book local fares.

8. When is the best time to book for International flights?

Industry insiders say between 5 and a half months and 1 and a half months in advance is optimal for International flights. Picking departure dates from Sunday to Thursday and return dates on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday is generally cheaper.

9. Mixing and matching can get you the cheapest deals

Flying on two different airlines may get you a better deal. Use a comprehensive flight booking engine such as Travelstart (the largest online travel booking agency in Africa) to find the cheapest flights. When you search for flights with Travelstart, you’ll get results from all the major international airlines and low-cost domestic carriers, clearly displayed in one table with the lowest prices first of course – so that you can compare costs with ease and find that perfect ticket for you.

Though booking a cheap flight is not an exact science, using your smarts and the most comprehensive online booking platform in Africa makes for a successful combination. Travelstart seeks to find you the cheapest flights possible and make payment swift and easy minimising anxiety over increasing flight prices.

Our Readers Comments

  1. Would like to know if jou can book flights to Heathrow say for july now and pay it off mothly as we are pentionars with kids in Lindon and a grandchild on the way.

    • Hi Elize,

      Thanks for getting in touch.

      Yes we do offer this on our website where one is able to purchase a ticket and when filling in their card details they need to select: “Budget Credit Card” and then select your preference under “select installment method” if they want to pay it over 3 months, 6 months or 12 months.

  2. Not a comment I want you to look for a booking to New York leaving 30th September 2016 and return 10th October 2016 a group of 6 people.

    • Hi Jefferine,

      thanks for getting in touch.

      Flight prices depend on dates of travel as well as the exact routing (where you need to depart from)

      You welcome to search for flight prices directly on our website by clicking on: here you are able to view all the different
      airlines that operate a specific route to ensure that you choose the cheapest possible option.

      Should you wish to get assistance in making this reservation, we have a team of Travel Experts that would love to help.
      You can contact Travelbar by calling 021 468 4300 (Monday – Friday) or by sending an email to with all details exact dates, routing and number of passengers and they will get back to you with 2 working days.

  3. Thanks I flying to Greece in may and have picked

    Up some useful tips

    • Hi Linda,

      Thanks for the great feedback 🙂

      Glad to hear you found some useful tips.

      Enjoy your holiday in Greece 🙂

  4. Well, its impressive article, Its useful to all, thanks for this sharing for us and it’s an interesting article, I got the best information and best service from your blog, I am very glad to wish and sure its very helps.

  5. Exactly That’s the issue when to book flight rates are very rare to drop. I book in advance avoiding future problems. Gonna try mentioned tricks saving money and time this way.

  6. Nice information….thanks for putting your article here!

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