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8 ways to avoid expensive airfares


Planning to travel this year? You might find that prices aren't as cheap as they used to be. Thankfully there are ways you can still hop on a plane for a cheap break in Australia.

Here's 8 ways to get cheaper flights

  1. Travel less touristic routes
  2. Travel off-peak
  3. Set up price alerts
  4. Be flexible with flight times
  5. Fly without luggage
  6. Consider using your points
  7. Consider book now, pay later options
  8. Sign up to emails

1. Travel less touristic routes

Popular routes including Gold Coast to Melbourne, Gold Coast to Sydney and Cairns to Brisbane have all seen massive price hikes lately.

On the flipside, there are more "off-the-beaten-track" routes that have had minimal to no price changes.

For example, Coffs Harbour to Sydney has had no change in cost. Book your flight during a sale and you can pay as little as $109 each way on Qantas.

Other routes that have been hit with minimal increases are:

  • Perth to Learmonth – 4% increase
  • Canberra to Melbourne – 5% increase
  • Sydney to Coffs Harbour – 5% increase
  • Canberra to Gold Coast – 8% increase

2. Travel off-peak

Throughout July, different states and territories have their school holiday break.

Even though it is winter, this still tends to drive prices up a bit – particularly to sunny spots such as Queensland and snow resorts in NSW and Victoria.

Waiting until after the kids have returned to school can shave hundreds off your holiday bill.

For example, looking at fares from the Gold Coast to Melbourne, a return flight from 12–14 August is $172 on Jetstar.

To put this into perspective, return fares in the first 2 weeks of July were around $295.

3. Set up price alerts

If you have a destination in mind but the price is too high, set up a price alert to be notified whenever the fare changes.

Booking sites such as KAYAK and Skyscanner offer this while airlines, including Jetstar, Qantas and Virgin, will often send you reminder emails about past searches.

Sometimes they even update you when the airfare drops.

This way you can swoop in when the price is right.

4. Be flexible with flight times

Weekend flights from Friday to Sunday are often the more expensive and most in demand.

If you can fly out on a weekday (Tuesday is often the cheapest) that can really help to keep costs down.

5. Fly without luggage

Opting to fly without checked luggage can cut big bucks off the price of your flight.

If you can travel with a 7kg bag on your back, Jetstar can get you in the air for $22 during a great sale.

Virgin Australia also offers Lite, seat-only fares, which can save you $60+ on a return flight.

6. Consider using your points

Been building up your points lately? While reward seats are limited, the amount of points required to redeem them is fairly fixed.

This means they won't fluctuate (too much), even around peak periods. However, due to their limited nature, you do need to book fast to get them.

7. Consider book now, pay later options

See a fare that you like but are waiting for payday? A handful of airlines offer buy now pay later (BNPL) options, so you can snatch it up before the price hike and pay it off over time.

For example, Qantas and Virgin Australia let you pay using Zip Money.

Just remember, while BNPL offers interest free periods, if you don't pay them off on time (typically 3 months) you could wind up paying interest. There are also account management fees, establishment fees and late fees to consider.

8. Sign up to emails

Despite the price rise, airlines are still having sales.

A great way to be first in line to that cheap seat is by signing up to the airline's newsletter.

You can also keep on top of the latest sales by signing up for Finder's travel deals email below.

Why flights are more expensive

Increased demand, staff shortages and fuel prices have all helped to drive up the cost of flights. Over the past 2 months alone (from May to July 2022), booking site KAYAK has seen airfares across the nation increase an average of 24%.

Of the available domestic routes, flights from the Gold Coast to Melbourne have been affected the most, up by an eyewatering 96%.

Flights from the Gold Coast to Sydney aren't too far behind, increasing by 91%.

Ready to fly? Check out the latest flight sales here.

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