Flying Light, Flying Right

My first overseas trip was many years ago, and Tokyo was my destination. That cool spring breeze that touched my skin when I landed ensured me that that would not be my last trip abroad. That first trip happened to be during Songkran holidays when the ticket prices skyrocketed and we couldn’t get the tickets to come home on Sunday before starting work on Monday. Years later, and after a great deal of traveling on an airplane, I have learned some tips and tricks to book good and reasonably priced air tickets during a long holiday.

1. Check often
Timing is everything. Book at least a month or more in advance (planning for Songkran? Book now!). The price gets higher closer to the departure date. Air ticket prices change all the time, sometimes several times a week. When I browse the different websites, the price tends to be higher on weekends, and cheaper on slow days like Monday or Wednesday especially at night time. The possible cheapest day to book a flight is Monday and the most expensive day to book is Saturday. You should also try browsing for the air tickets at different times of the day and different days of the week. You may be surprised to find out how dramatically the price can change from one day to another.

2. Go technical
Ticket-booking websites usually depend on a good technology to help them control the price when catering products to different types of customers. The cookies stored in your browser can make the flight prices increase if a particular route is repeatedly searched. Therefore, you should always clear your cookies every time you do a search so that the old search history, including prices and routes, is deleted. This helps make the price stable each time you search.

To do so, go to the setting tab of your browser, open the history tab and clear all the cookies or clear search history. Even more simply, you can also use the “Incognito” mode (you can search for instructions on how to set up this mode in different browsers or devices). This allows you to be “no one” when searching for an air ticket. And every time you enter this mode anew, all the cookies are already cleared for you, thus saving your time.

I have also talked with an IT expert and he said the price could go up or down depending on the device you are using, too. To explain, if you’re using a MacBook, the price may be higher than when you’re using a Dell PC. So, you may want to book the ticket via a proxy server. Besides, location can determine the price of your ticket as well. For example, if you book a flight from a home country of that airline, the price can be a bit cheaper.

3. Pick the right date and destination
If you pick the specific popular dates to fly to your dream destination on a long holiday, please be aware that the air tickets can be pricey. However, you can also save some money by flying to the destination one day earlier or flying back home one day later against those popular dates. I have opted for this solution a few times.

Choosing where to go also matters. Try booking to a lesser-popular destination during a specific time of the year to avoid the crowds and to make the most of your fund.

4. Don’t fall for inexpensive traps
Most flights shown in the top results of the search are the cheapest, but a lot of times there are many reasons behind it. Usually, these are flights managed by budget airlines and/or flights with at least one layover or even red-eye flights.

There is nothing wrong with flying on these flights if you are flying to destinations that are not too far away or if you have a few extra days for stopovers or connecting flights. Make sure you travel light, because they will charge baggage fees.

5. Go an extra mile
It doesn’t hurt to try different ticketing websites and do some research on the price and airline options before buying. Every time you fly, try comparing the prices offered by at least two agencies. I am a frequent user of This is because I like to add multi-cities as my destinations just like some other websites, such as Expedia or Skyscanner.

However, allows you to pick different flight classes for the same itinerary since I like to fly economy for a short haul flight and premium economy on a long haul flight. It also shows you the possible dates that the price can be the cheapest, and sometimes it will even mix and match different flights offered by different airlines in order to give you the best deal possible.

If my itinerary is simple, I tend to use Google Flight. This website is very userfriendly and the different prices will be shown right there under different dates of your travel. Google Flight will, however, takes you directly to the airline’s websites in order to book with the airline.

As much as I am thrilled to set foot on a new destination each time, I am even more excited if I can save some money from booking a good deal. Try the tips above. It may be a good time for you to go to the ticketing websites now and start researching some good destinations for your upcoming Songkran holidays.

Born and raised in Bangkok, J. Pakchuen studied English and translation at Chulalongkorn University. Currently, she lives in Washington, D.C. where she works as a translator, interpreter, writer, and tour guide.