How to Get Cheap Flights on the Internet (a sneaky trick)

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By Chantelle from Fat Mum Slim

How to get cheap flights on the internet

I’ve only just been bitten by the travel bug.

Up until about two years ago I was one of those people that was happy exploring my own backyard, with an annual road trip thrown in and a few weekends away added to the mix as well.

I guess that’s more than some people, but it wasn’t really until I ventured overseas that I realized that there is so much of this world that I want to see and explore, and some of that is in our very own backyard too, the lovely Australia.

But one thing I don’t like about traveling is paying crazy prices for flights.

I want to save money on flights so I can indulge in a cocktail or two, or a little shopping here or there. You know what I’m talking about, right?

As well as getting the travel bug in the past few years, my family and I have also made a big change from the City to the Country. It means that we’re away from family, and friends, and all the good stuff that comes from living in the City.

It also means that each year we’re spending a big part of our budget to get back down to Sydney from the Gold Coast to see the people we adore (and eat the food we just can’t get in our new home).

Depending on the time of year, and how disorganized we are, the flights can be almost affordable (around $120 per person return) to utter nonsense (around $300+ per person return).

But I’ve recently stumbled across a little secret.

It’s one of those secrets that’s almost too good to share, in case the sharing of the secret puts a stop to the good stuff. And by good stuff I mean totally INSANE flight prices.

So, if by sharing this it means that there are no more cheap prices and I have to go back to paying UTTERLY RIDICULOUS prices to fly back to my former-home, I’m sorry.

It’s also too good NOT to share. So here goes.

I found out through a friend of a friend that if you go to a foreign Expedia site to buy your flights you save money. And not just a little. Last weekend I flew to Sydney return from the Gold Coast for $65. I’ve seen them for $45 too. Crazy.

How to get cheap flights on the internet

1. Go to Expedia.co.jp (the Japanese Expedia site).

2. Yes, it’s all in Japanese. So go up to the top right corner and click English (next to the Twitter icon). Much better, right?

3. Choose your flights and dates.

4. Eeek. The prices are in Yen. That’s cool. Use a currency conversion tool to convert it into Australia dollars (or where ever you’re from). This isn’t exact, but it was almost spot on for me.

5. Choose your flights and purchase them. Some credit cards won’t work. My Visa did. I incurred a $1 fee PLUS the flight costs. I also signed up to Expedia Japan so I could get my itinerary, I suggest doing the same although you will receive an email confirmation from Jetstar Airlines and Expedia.

Please Note:

  • Buying flights this way worked for me, and I did so knowing that I was taking a risk. Of course, if you decided to do the same you would be taking your own risk too. You should make your own decisions, as anyone should when buying products and services online.
  • This is for Jetstar Airlines flights only (an Australian based airline)
  • It appears that domestic flights, within Australia, are reduced but when I researched international flights they didn’t impress me as much. You might need to do a bit of exploring in your own market to find more.
  • The price is for a starter fare only, which means no baggage – only carry-on. I don’t know if it’s possible to add baggage, so this is something you’d need to explore.
You could also utlise a similar tactic in using a VPN, which allows you to browse the internet from a country of your choice.

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129 thoughts on “How to Get Cheap Flights on the Internet (a sneaky trick)”

    1. One sneaky way airlines attempt to make the most profit is by charging different fares for people in different countries. For example, booking domestic flights from outside the country will often be more expensive than booking inside the country. Prices may change based on where the transaction is completed, or the β€œpoint-of-sale”.

      However you can beat them at their game using a VPN (Virtual Private Network) to hide your location or pretend to be somewhere else. I use HideMyAss (https://www.hidemyass.com/vpn/r20533/) VPN.

  1. P.S…always remember that to ensure you get the lowest fare by deleting cookies/history before looking up flight prices a second time on flight search engines. This is because the websites store your search data and when you come back they know you are more likely to buy than before.

      1. Singapore to KL was an Air Asia sale. Boracay we were in Manila and so bored so I started surfing the web, when in my inbox was a Tiger Airways 2 peso sale! πŸ™‚ I love free flights, Air asia had Perth to Bali a few weeks back I was so tempted, even though we are currently in Puerto Rico lol.

        1. I’m a brit now living in Taiwan and I have my mouth wide-open reading this. I can’t ever seem to find flights cheaper than a couple of hundred pounds and I basically can’t afford to go on holiday at all. It’s awful πŸ™ I can’t seem to find any of those kinds of deals…we have them all the time in England. Not to mention the glory of teletext holidays with fully-inclusive packages as low at 300 pounds. It makes me weep!

  2. Wow, thanks for the tip about cookies. I’ve wondered how the price sometimes jumps when I check a few hours later.

  3. My all time best flight bargain was $NZ1 flights from Wellington to Melbourne with Air NZ (so hardly a no frills airline either!). We had to fly the next day and return four days later, but it was worth it.

    Air NZ’s grabaseat.co.nz website quite often does $1 flights, but that was the only time I can remember the flights being international (there were $1 flights to LA, SF, Hong Kong, Sydney etc too).

  4. Not a flight tip but when we caught the train from Singapore into Malaysia it was much cheaper to buy a return ticket from Malaysia end and only use one component then from Singapore to Malaysia -single. And perfectly legal to do so.

    It also works this way on the Eurostar!!

    1. I used to work for an airline. Usually regular round trip tickets (not special fares or low cost airlines) are way cheaper than one-way ones, and you can always use only the first part. BUT if you don’t use the first part, the system will automathically delete the second. I’ve seen many passengers having to buy an expensive ticket to go back home. I’m in Europe but i’m pretty sure it works like this everywhere.
      Thank you for this tip. I’m bummed, seriously.

  5. My father and I are always comparing flight prices (he’s in the US, I live in Norway). They ALWAYS seem cheaper for him. Unfortunately it seems every time I try to book something from a foreign site, it converts it over to a Norwegian one late in the game. I’m going to have to try some different ones…

      1. Carolyn Russell

        Andrea I find you need to book them as one way flights, its a pain to book two one way flights as opposed to a return
        flight but who minds if its cheaper

  6. Did that in Europe…scored a cheaper flight Biarritz to Paris…ended wasting my savings on the baggage restrictions…be sure to read the fine print! Probably still came out ahead, but didn’t do the math.

  7. I just typed in a US continental flight into Expedia Japan and US and the US was quite a bit cheaper, like $150 compared to $210. Does this only work if you’re trying to book shorter flights in other countries or am I missing something?

    1. It seems it works best for domestic flights in Australia with jetstar but I’d say it is working in some ways for you. $60 cheaper is $60 you can spend elsewhere.

  8. Carolyn Russell

    Another tip I have discovered is to go to Jetstar.com not jetstar.com.au, and book international flights one way for some reason this is quite a bit cheaper. I does not work if you book in as a return. Then of course if you home swap you get a really cheap holiday

  9. Wow. Wish something like this existed for North America! Hoping to find a sweet sneaky deal for our flight home to North America from Europe.

    Anybody know any tricks like this for us North Americans?

  10. i’m worried about getting spam and i’m worried about giving a foreign site all of my information. i’m that these deals are too good to be true. what if the tickets are false and the information is false and we get there with all of our things and aren’t able to go?

    1. I understand your concerns Sarah, but as Chantelle said it was all legit and she had no problems. I would say you have to do whatever you feel comfortable with. If it worries you too much than I would probably stick to the booking sites you feel most comfortable with. You don’t want to stress yourself over it.

    2. I wanted to make sure before I shared this trick that I’d tried it out first. I’ve done this 4 times now, and had no issues at all.

      Travel agents say that they use this option all the time, it’s just that the Japanese market {or whichever foreign travel site you buy from} doesn’t have the peaks and troughs that our market has with school holiday prices, so we’re missing out on all those things.

      The only spam I’ve had is not really spam, but because I signed up to Expedia I do get emails all written in Japanese, but I can handle that for saving so much money – and I only get those a week after I’ve traveled.

      Of course, it’s a decision you have to be comfortable with – just like buying anything online. πŸ™‚

    1. Oh bummer. Sorry Nellene. Unfortunately it might not work every time. I think Chantelle did feel it worked better for Aussie flights. I think it works best that way because flights in Australia are always expensive as we have little competition whereas in the US you have more flight deals. And our country is bloody expensive so everything is generally more expensive

    1. Hi Lauren,
      As with any booking site flight prices depend on a lot of various factors. It may not work all the time but it’s worth trying and comparing. As Chantelle mentioned in this post it worked twice for her and we have had positive feedback from readers who saved as much as 50% from following this strategy.

      You may have to try different ways to come up with deals e.g different flight days, paths etc.
      You can sign up to our free travel tips which shares lots of information about travel https://www.ytravelblog.com/about-us-2/how-to-travel-more/ and this post as well https://www.ytravelblog.com/cheap-international-flights/

    2. Where were you flying to and from? They’ve been crazy cheap every time I’ve checked.

      They work best with Australian flights, and are much cheaper when you compare the same flight time using the Australian Jetstar site.

  11. So I looked it up on the brazil Expedia site and they have $1 and $2 US flights. However there is not a link in the top right corner to change the language to English… Are there any suggestions for this issue? I would love to take advantage of these deals if I can understand what it says haha πŸ™‚ but the only way I was able to search the flights is because the city and state names are the same in either language.

    1. Oh dear I don’t have a suggestion for that. Maybe look around the site in other places to see if there is a change to English button. I hope you can work it out

  12. I will look for it. So if I get it translated what would you say are the risks of purchasing tickets this way?

    1. Gosh, I guess worse case scenario would be you couldn’t get on the plane, but I honestly can’t see this as being a problem. If you have a ticket it shouldn’t really matter where you brought it. How are they to know you weren’t in Brazil at the time of buying it as I am sure many people do when buying internal flights in a country they are visiting.
      I guess be aware of the risks and be prepared for something to happen. I know people who have done this and nothing has happened.

  13. Found international fares to Rome between $1.50 and $3.50 on the Brazil site… how in the world does this work compared the regular site that wants $1700! Crazy πŸ™‚ really tempted to see if it works…

    1. Hey everyone, just wanted to check about the Brazil site. At first I thought that flights were 1-2 dollars, but I think it’s because the currency exchange was wrong. In Brazilian Reals they write it out like 1.200,0… which would actually be 1,200 (or about $560) and not 1.2 dollars. I hope that makes sense. Maybe there are still flights for 1-2 dollars, but I got confused by the exchange.

      1. I found the same thing, they use a decimal as a comma. So it’s not actually 1.200 reals but 1,200 for us Americans ha. Still cheaper than most other sites I’ve looked at (I looked at flights to Hawaii on the American site $2000, Japanese $2500, and Brazilian $1100.)

    1. I’m not sure. You’ll have to test it. I think it’s legal. I really can’t see why it wouldn’t. People are buying things online all the time from other countries.

  14. Does this work for US flights? I’m checking this Expedia Japan site but it’s not any cheaper. I’m wanting to find a flight from Denver to Los Angeles, or from Denver to Dublin and they’re all the same.

    1. I think it mostly works with Australian flights unfortunately. But I have heard of a couple of people finding cheap flights though. Try the Brazil site and see what you get.

  15. Elizabeth Goudie

    This is Crazy!!! We have just paid about $11,000 AUD for the family to travel to China, flights only, but using expedia it was around $2,500. Have you booked international yet? Do you think it would work? Gosh…we need to plan another trip!!!

    1. check out expedia.com.br it’s in Brazilian (haha maybe?) but the format is the same so you just type in the two cities, date and hit the yellow button. With me it was about 1/2 the price of the other sites.

  16. Looks really really great! Do you think it works for flights from Holland to Italy? Bcs, how is it possible I could buy a return ticket for only 0,25 euro cents instead of 130 euro?!

    1. I’m not sure if it will work for those cities. Give it a try and see. I am not sure why you can get such cheap prices but we’ll take it. Just make sure you convert it correctly

  17. Another way to save money on flights is to invest in a luggage scale. Airlines charge hundreds of dollars on overweight baggage fees. Easily weigh your bag at home instead of dealing with the hassle of finding out your luggage is overweight at the bag check counter.

    The Light Flight scale is light and compact. Take it along on your trip to weight your luggage after vacation purchases have been added to your bag.

    Light Flight is the best travel scale out on the market. You can purchase one here: http://lightflightscale.com

  18. I’m in the States, so I doubt that this would work for me because I really really want to travel to Australia for a really good low bargain. That way I’ll have more money to spend on food or adventurous things…

  19. That’s really funny because I’ve been living in Tokyo for 6 years and I always use the US expedia because prices are a couple $100 cheaper… I guess the trick is not to use the website of your country? That’s so counterintuitive!

    Nice idea about the cookies, will definitely do that!

    And I agree that the best way to save on LCC is definitely just to carry on!

  20. Kristelle Miller

    Im looking for Brisbane to Hamilton Island and its telling me its $1?!

    o__O Can someone check too for me?

    Travelling in November

  21. I love travel…yes i agree most of cost goes to flight…to spend each country not really a problem ..thanks sharing this

  22. Ok I just checked a flirght from Miami, FL to Vienna, Austria for my family of 4 on the Expidia Brazil website and it’s telling me it’s US$16.23 round trip for all 4 of us. is this for real???

  23. I’m looking into a trip frNorth America to Canada. The Japanese site was cheaper than the US site. So using this from now on, even though I’m a little hesitant about the foreign site.

  24. I am a owner of institute and last month I have arranged picnic trip to Thailand for our students.
    I am overwhelmed because of rates of flight. but online booking gave me a fantastic offer for flight.
    so because of them only i got a chance to arrange this wonderful trip for our students

    Dream Flights

  25. The best tip in a long time. Yet to check out if it works sitting in India!
    Also, Craig’s pointer to lose the history/cookies from the browser while attempting it a second time is such a useful one.
    Thanks! Hope to apply this in my travel life which I am planning to convert from the stable traveling sector to slow traveling in the coming year or two.

  26. It will be definitely work. But It does not mean that you buy a cheap ticket and you compromise with the quality. We should never compromise with the quality.

    1. I agree. Quality must never be compromised even if it happens to be cheap. We just have to be careful and more precise in choosing. Just because its cheap it does not mean no quality. There are loads of options to choose from to get both cheap and with excellent quality.

  27. Has anyone figured out any tips for flying in the US? I was playing around with some dates and numbers and it doesn’t seem to be any cheaper even though I only want to fly from Portland to Sacramento! Does anyone have any ideas on how to get the flights cheaper?

  28. I strongly agree with you, when we change the country of origin in larger websites we get the cheaper and local promotions for that country, the same goes to hotel, if you book with UK site the price is around GBP10 and wen you go on US sit the price is around USD 10, so you save a lot, Thanks to Internet, now world is a village and with little clever tips, you can save a lot

  29. I just checked this out, and it doesn’t work. It’s actually MORE expensive. The price turned out to be thousands of dollars more than expected. I tried it with hotel, then I tried it without hotel; still at least $2,000 more. Go to regular expedia.com.

    1. EVeryone has different results T. It’s worked for many people proving that it does work. But, it depends on many variables which is why it is not working for you

    1. Don’t say awsome! until you try. Today is august 4, 2014 and since your date to now, the world has changed a little more.

  30. Hey very nice post. I’ll definitely try this. You can also try Triphello.com. It is having flight search engine that will search a wide number of websites and you can compare them and pick the cheapest one.

  31. I couldnt find much more cheaper flights from zurich to los angeles from expedia japan and brazil, its even more expensive.

  32. I live in France, and i am going to Australia in a week, i have already got my ticket (600€ one way). And i just looked up the price to get home ( Staying a year in Oz tho!) with expedia japan, it seems to good to be true!
    I am a bit worried they wont let me on the plane thought! ( It would be a problem as i only have a year visa and would not be able to afford a last minute plane ticket. Should i do this????

  33. Do you have any great helpful tips or info to save costs when traveling from Vancouver to Perth…Australia and or New Zealand?

    This is the first time taking my family on a holiday that we’re going to fly and internationally. I would be grateful for any help!
    Thank you
    S.

  34. This post has been really helpful. Whenever i m planning to travel in US, Australia, France and New Zealand, I usually like to look around for cheap deals and mostly lowendticket.com has it. Yep!!!!
    They have dirt cheap deals. Also, there are other travel sites that have somewhat similar deals.

  35. Hallo,
    I was wondering if 499,950 yen is $4,12 or $4116,32? $4,12 is very cheap for 5 persons, so we couln’t believe it.

  36. Soumya Pratihari

    I wish such low fare tricks were applicable on Asian flights too.

    I believe the economy of the country plays a role here. Although we tend to get domestic travel offers a few times through low cost carriers, yet to see any attractive international deals from any Airline.

    Btw, must tell you that I loved your blog, Craig. Keep blogging πŸ™‚

  37. Has anyone figured out any tips for flying within Europe? I was playing around with some dates and numbers and it doesn’t seem to be any cheaper even though I only want to fly from London UK to Austria or Slovakia ! Does anyone have any ideas on how to get the flights cheaper?

    1. I’ve been trying the get a good deal on all of these website but none of them actually showed me cheap flight:(((

  38. I just did it and it worked!!! Oh my goodness, thank you so much, I’m going to college and I found a cheaper way to flight home whenever. Thank you so much! You just save me $300!

  39. It did NOT work for me. It is some U$50 or so more expensive..! I will try a couple of more times again. Interestingly enough, the cheapest flight is NOT the same in the regular Expedia and the Japan Expedia. And the cheapest lines are NEITHER the same ones..!

  40. I am literally in shock. I’m in a long distant relationship and we are both in the military. I can’t belive my eyes. You said in your blog do at your own risk. Are you still doing this? Is this trick still working today?

  41. Hi – i love your tips, great reading. Thanks πŸ™‚ It also getting very cheap to book flights to get around in Thailand. I use that nearly every time i go from the south to Bangkok. Several years ago it was crazy expensive and i always used the busses. But no more hassle with that.

    Have a nice day πŸ™‚

    Best regards,

    Dallemand

  42. thanks for sharing valuable information Wow, thanks for the tip about cookies. I’ve wondered how the price sometimes jumps when I check a few hours later.

  43. Thank you guys for this post. I booked a ticket to Singapore from U.S. and I got a pretty great deal. I am going to use this airline again for the future use.

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