Flight at dusk single planeYou can take to the skies with very little money. That is, if you find a ticket at the right price. Many people assume that air travel is expensive, and it can be. However, finding an overseas round-trip ticket normally priced at $2000 for $1000 or lower is not unreasonable. Finding a trip with a $1000 price tag for a mere $500 can also be done.

People traveling on the cheap usually fly for very little money. Often, they live more cheaply traveling abroad than they would at home, and that’s including the cost of the destination. How are they doing this?

For one thing, they’re experts at locating the cheapest fares online. To get the best deal on plane tickets, never book directly through an airline. Use two, or three, or even twelve price-amalgamating sites to find a great deal on tickets. Kayak, Travelocity, Cheaptickets and Skyscanner are all great resources with great user-interfaces.

Keep in mind; there are dozens, if not hundreds of these sites. Most of these sites are not travel agencies themselves. Once you decide to book, you’ll be transferred to the travel agency holding the flight.

Shop around, and keep several tabs open while you’re searching. Many sites will feature the same flights, but some will feature cheap flights unknown to the rest. For the best deals, browse several sites before booking.

Be as flexible as possible with your dates and times. Are you prepared to be at the airport at an inconvenient time? If so, you could save hundreds on your plane ticket. Can you afford to leave a few days earlier or later than you intended? Oftentimes, you can save hundreds by planning your travel schedule around the cheapest flights.

Choose flights with layovers. Flying direct, as a general rule, is always more expensive. Besides, layovers can be fun. You often get to spend the day in a city you’ve never been to before, and then scurry back to the airport for your connecting flight. If you’re flying to travel and have a bit of a backpacker’s spirit, this is the best option for saving on plane tickets.

Most travel advice tells people to book months in advance to save money on tickets. This is a good idea. However, even if you’re flying out next week, you can still use these methods to find a good deal on your tickets. Oftentimes, people cancel at the last minute, leaving inexpensive seats open that the airline must scramble to fill.

If you’re traveling just to travel and don’t have a specific destination in mind, use Skyscanner’s “Everywhere” destination to see the cheapest destinations from your departure airport. This lets you easily compared cheap rates to any and all destinations. Say you were thinking of going to France for $650, but see a ticket to Norway for just $300; you can change your plans if the price is right.

The key is to shop around and be flexible. If you’re not on a pressing schedule or have a specific destination in mind, you have plenty of flexibility that will save you hundreds of dollars and probably garner you an extra adventure in a layover city. Shop around and keep your dates open until the right price shows up.

A Few Tips and Warnings:

Before you book a great deal, do a quick background check on the airline’s safety rating. For budget traveling, service and comfort isn’t so important, but you’d like for the plane not to crash. Check out the safety history and airline reputation.

Also review date changes and cancellation fees. You can sometimes score great deals, but be locked into a non-cancellation contract. Only book the flight if the cancellation fee is modest and affordable. Life happens, and it’s better not to pay for it.

Also keep in mind cost of traveling in your destination. The ticket might be inexpensive, but the daily expenses might be quite high. If you plan on traveling cheap, make sure you consider all of these costs.