Last updated on September 16th, 2023 at 09:27 am

If your Google search brought you to this guide on how to book a flight for beginners, you’re probably new to the whole planning-a-trip concept. First of all, welcome to the fascinating world of travel! Secondly, we’re here to walk you through the entire process of booking a flight like a pro.

After all these years of roaming the world, travelling has become second nature to us. So much so that we sometimes forget how stressful the various aspects of travel can be for newbies. Especially when it comes to booking flights, things can get very stressful; intimidating, even. But fear not. In this guide on how to book a flight for beginners, we’re covering everything you need to know to book your next plane trip.

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How To Book a Flight For Beginners: A Thorough Guide

Booking flights online for the very first time – or even the first ten times – might sound like a very stressful affair. We’ve been there and we know. But we’re here to break down this procedure for you and take it one step at a time.

Before we start, we want to clarify that this is not just a budget-oriented guide. You’ll find plenty of those online. However, learning how to book a flight for beginners isn’t just about saving money and we can’t stress that enough. Therefore, we’re going to focus on three main factors that should be considered when booking flights: sustainability, comfort and budget. In that order.

This image shows the view of snow-capped mountains from the airplane.
Flying over snow-capped mountains feels like entering a dream

Sustainability

Over the last few decades, the number of flights worldwide has drastically increased, rendering travel a lot easier than it used to be in the past. Moreover, the emergence of low-cost airlines made air travel – a privilege once reserved for a select few – accessible to everyone. As a result, more and more aeroplanes fill the skies these days, causing great damage to the environment as they go.

Climate change is a reality and sustainability seems the only solution to help slow down its devastating effects. Therefore, sustainability is a factor that we have to keep in mind when booking flights.

The best way to fly responsibly is to choose direct flights when possible. Taking one flight instead of two to get from point A to point B, helps reduce your carbon footprint.

That said, when it comes to long-haul flights, flying direct isn’t always an option. For example, if you’re flying from the United States to Europe or if you’re planning a multi-city itinerary within Europe, you probably can’t avoid connecting flights.

In that case, making a short trip out of your transit destination is the most sustainable way to go. Ticking off yet another destination on your bucket list means that not only will that connecting flight be worthwhile, but you will also have helped the local economy of the destination you’re visiting.

A typical example is the city of Bergamo in Italy. Most people fly in or out of the city’s airport only to explore Milan and Lombardy without spending time in the quaint city of Bergamo itself. Even if it’s just one day at any given destination, it still makes a huge difference compared to transit flights.

If you want to find out several easy ways to be more responsible travellers, have a look at this guide.

This image shows a take-off from Madeira Airport.
Madeira Airport is the best for plane spotting

Comfort

Another important factor to keep in mind when booking your flight tickets is comfort. We know how tempting it is to book a $10 flight with a low-cost airline. And it makes perfect sense if your flight is going to last just a couple of hours or if you’re only away for a weekend or so and don’t need to carry more than your small backpack. But what about long-haul flights or if you plan a multi-day trip?

Choosing a low-cost airline for a long-haul flight means that you’ll have to put up with the limited legroom for hours and hours on end. Moreover, a low-cost long-haul flight can also affect your budget. That’s because you’ll have to pay extra for food, drinks, seat selection and other add-ons.

Similarly, for multi-day trips, it’s best to avoid low-cost airlines. Full-service carriers usually allow you one personal item and one carry-on on board, maximising your luggage allowance, and by extension, your comfort. However, low-cost airlines only allow one item per person. It’s utterly stressful to try and fit everything in it unless you decide to pay extra for a second bag.

In our opinion, sacrificing comfort by choosing a low-cost airline should be avoided. After so many hours at the airport and the exhausting control checks before boarding, the only thing you want is the best flight experience only a full-service carrier can offer.

Another factor to consider is the time of flying. Many travellers prefer early morning flights so they have the whole day to explore their destination. The truth is that we used to think this way, too. However, every time we booked an early flight, we’d sleep for just a couple of hours before the flight, ending up barely functional upon arrival at our destination.

After this plan failed multiple times for us, we changed our strategy and started choosing evening flights instead. This way we have all the time we need to get prepared without frantically running around the house. Most importantly, we arrive at the airport without stress.

Once at our destination, we just take a stroll in search of a heartwarming dinner. After a good night’s sleep, we are fresh and ready to explore the following day.

This image shows Katerina getting off the airplane holding a carry-on luggage.
Katerina happily arriving at her destination after a flight with a full-service airline

Budget

As we mentioned above, budget isn’t the main focus of this guide. That said, budget is an important factor that can’t be overlooked when learning how to book a flight online. Now that you know how to prioritise sustainability and comfort when choosing flights, let’s have a look at how you can also save on flights.

Unfortunately, flight prices resemble stock markets these days. A $20 ticket can turn into a $100 one in the blink of an eye. This is why you should not overthink about booking a flight. When you find a good deal, run and grab those tickets before they’re gone. Actually, this is just one of many other tips we’ve listed in this guide on how to save money to travel more.

But let’s go back to how to book a flight for beginners. Here’s a list of tips to save money on flight tickets and avoid overpriced flights:

  • Research credit cards with travel rewards. Get your hands on an airline credit card – with or without an annual fee – to collect airline miles that you can then exchange for tickets. Flying for free at its best.
  • Unless you’re travelling for a month or so, avoid checked bags. Checked baggage means extra money, extra weight and it’s really uncomfortable. Imagine having to carry a huge suitcase around Rome’s narrow cobbled and crowded alleys for instance. For a week-long or even 15-day trip, you will be fine with a fare that includes a personal item and a carry-on suitcase. You can find a good wash-and-fold service everywhere after all!
  • Try to be flexible and consider checking other dates or even nearby airports. For example, if you want to visit Vienna and the prices are soaring, you can also check for cheap flights to the nearby Bratislava airport.
  • Book your airline tickets well in advance. Usually, flight tickets are cheaper if you buy them four months – or more – before your departure date. Needless to say – or repeat to be more accurate – that if you find a good deal that fits your dates and destination, don’t delay. Remember, buying flights is like a stock market.
  • For all the above reasons, use a flight aggregator website. A flight aggregator does all the searches for you and provides you with all the information you need to save money and time.
This image shows the view of Qatar from the airplane.
Qatar from above on our way to Sri Lanka

Flight Aggregator Website Guide

If you ask anyone what’s the first thing they do before booking a flight, the answer will most probably be a quick search on a flight aggregator website. A flight aggregator finds all the travel deals and offers available online and displays them in one place.

Also, flight aggregator websites allow you to set up price alerts. This way, you don’t miss any good deals that come up for the destination you are interested in.

Among the most known flight aggregators are Skyscanner, Kiwi, Google Flights, and many others. You can read more about aggregators here. Our flight-booking routine so far has involved making a first search on one of those aggregators to check the price range for the destination we’re travelling to and then booking directly on the airline websites.

The reason we don’t usually book flights via those aggregator sites is very simple. They almost always fail to give the right information, they don’t have filters that are actually helpful for travellers and, overall, they don’t give a clear picture of the available flights. However, a new flight aggregator, WayAway, has caught our attention. Here’s why.

This image shows the new Istanbul airport inside.
The new airport in Istanbul is very impressive

WayAway, a New Flight Aggregator

With its fantastic cashback offers, WayAway, a new flight aggregator made for travellers by travellers, stands out. Moreover, WayAway is a flight aggregator with a straightforward interface that offers a great user experience. But let’s have a closer look at how WayAway works.

How To Use WayAway

Once you visit the WayAway website, start by filling in the departure city and the destination you want to fly to. Immediately, a map and a few informative guides and highlights of the destination appear on the screen for your inspiration.

Next up, if you have specific dates, fill in the departure and return dates. However, if all you want is to check for some good deals in the next few months from the search date, the best way is to scroll a bit down to the price chart. There, you can see in green the dates when flight prices are the lowest. You can choose either one way or round-trip from the chart.

This is a screenshot from WayAway that shows the price chart for a New York - Rome flight. Checking flight aggregator websites is the first step when learning how to book a flight for beginners.
Browsing through WayAway is one of the best ways to search for flights.
Photo Credit: Screenshot from the WayAway website

Once you click on your date of choice, the first results showing up are the recommended ones. They can be tagged as cheapest, cheapest with a convenient layover, fastest or similar, depending on the flight results.

In our opinion, the way results are displayed on the WayAway website is really helpful to the traveller. If you’re not happy with the results, right above them, you can find nearby dates to choose from and try a new search.

This is a screenshot from WayAway that shows price results after a search for New York - Rome flights.
Our initial search was for April 14 – 26, but then we decided to click the April 16 – 23 search box that showed a price of $581.
Photo Credit: Screenshot from the WayAway website

Keep in mind that the price you see in the search boxes is usually the starting price of any given flight. As we mentioned above, these prices can and do fluctuate rise all the time. Therefore, it can be frustrating when the prices shown in the search boxes are different than the ones you expect to see in the results.

This is a screenshot from WayAway that shows price results after a search for New York - Rome flights.
Once we clicked the April 16 – 23 search box, the price changed to $752 for the same dates.
Photo Credit: Screenshot from the WayAway website

Even though this price discrepancy can be annoying, the WayAway website does give you an idea of when a price is going up, though. Furthermore, you can also create a price alert for your desired destination and WayAway will let you know when it’s the best time to buy your flight tickets.

This is a screenshot from WayAway that shows a price chart after a search for New York - Rome flights.
From these charts, it’s easy to see when prices are expected to go up.
Photo Credit: Screenshot from the WayAway website

Sometimes there’s no discrepancy and you’ll end up with the exact price you saw in the search boxes. Moreover, you can also stumble upon the occasional unicorn, a lower price for your dates.

This is a screenshot from WayAway that shows price results after a search for New York - Rome flights.
While the chart above showed that the starting price for October 3 to 13 was $629, once we clicked on that date, we were welcomed with the significantly lower price of $522.
Photo Credit: Screenshot from the WayAway website

If you ask us, the most helpful WayAway feature is its filter sidebar. Some of the filters there are pure gold. For instance, the baggage filter is very useful as it gives you an idea of the actual price you’ll pay if you need to carry more than the personal item most low-cost airlines include in their basic fare.

Another filter we liked was the flights operated by a single airline filter. This can be extremely useful when it comes to booking connecting flights. The last thing you want is to have to change airports and/or airline companies and this filter makes sure you don’t.

Furthermore, we liked the alliances filter. The latter is useful for those – like us – collecting flight miles as it helps you pick a flight with the optimal airline for mileage accrual. There’s also the payment method filter, which gives the option for payment with PayPal for some flights.

Book your flights with WayAway here!

This is a screenshot from WayAway that shows the price for a New York - Rome flight.
After setting all the relevant filters and making your selection from the results page, WayAway sums up all the details about the chosen flights, including baggage information.
Photo Credit: Screenshot from the WayAway website
How To Get Cashback With Flights

What makes WayAway stand out from other flight aggregators is the WayAway Plus Membership. As a member of WayAway Plus, you can gain cashback of up to 5% when you buy flight tickets. Besides your travel tickets, you can get cashback on other travel services, too. Some examples are 10% off Booking.com, 8% off GetYourGuide and many more.

The WayAway Plus Membership might not be for you if you’re not a frequent flyer or you travel solo. However, frequent flyers, groups of over three people or families can get a very decent amount of cashback to their PayPal account. The important thing to remember here is that you get cash, not credit or miles.

What’s more, another fantastic benefit of purchasing a membership is the 24/7 support from the WayAway travel experts. You can ask them anything from how to get to your hotel to restaurant recommendations any time of the day. And that’s priceless.

You can buy your WayAway Plus Membership with a 10% discount here.

This image shows the facade of Prague airport.
Always happy to arrive in Prague, one of our favourite cities in Europe
Our Final Thoughts About WayAway

To sum up, what we like about WayAway is its straightforward and user-friendly interface, the super helpful filters on the sidebar and, of course, the cashback service along with the 24/7 support that comes with the WayAway Plus Membership.

For all this, it’s the first aggregator website that we can actually use to book our flights rather than simply check prices, as we did with other flight aggregators so far.

If there’s one thing we don’t like about WayAway, it’s the price discrepancy between the search boxes and the results. However, this issue isn’t unique to WayAway but is something all flight aggregator websites have in common. Most probably, this is a problem that WayAway and the other aggregators can’t address on their own as it’s a result of the ever-changing ticket prices set by airlines.

Buying Flight Tickets Online: The First Step Towards Your Dream Travels

Booking flights can be a daunting task. However, keeping in mind all the factors at play – such as sustainability and comfort – rather than just grabbing the cheapest fare possible while, at the same time, making a budget-conscious choice that won’t break the bank is your ticket to a stress-free flight-booking experience.

We hope that after reading this guide on how to book a flight for beginners you now feel more confident when sitting in front of your laptop – credit card in hand – to book your next trip and that all your stress is replaced by the thrill of visiting a new destination. Because, at the end of the day, what matters is the places we visit, the people we meet and the cultures we become acquainted with.

WORDS & IMAGES: Katerina
EDITING: Maria

Disclosure: This article about how to book a flight for beginners was sponsored by WayAway, but all opinions are our own, as always.

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