Airfares remain stubbornly expensive.
But according to comparison website Finder travel expert Angus Kidman, there are still cheap airfares out there.
"They're not quite as common and they're not quite as cheap, but you can still get them if you're prepared to be a bit patient and a bit flexible," he says.
Here are some of the best ways to nab some bargains:
Book ahead: This is the number one rule for bagging cheap flights. Airlines typically release airfares about 350 days in advance. The sooner you book, the cheaper they'll be.
Travel off-peak: If you can travel outside school holidays or are happy to travel to Europe in spring or autumn rather than mid-summer, you're more likely to find reasonably priced return flights.
"Timing matters," says Skyscanner travel trends and destination expert Jarrod Kris. "We know that if you book for the last week of January instead of the first week of the school holidays in December, you can save 30-40 per cent."
Fly midweek: Tuesdays and Wednesdays tend to be the least busy days and when you'll find the best deals.
Be open to new places: "If you're not set on a particular destination and are open to less expensive options, that can help," Kidman says.
Mix it up: While returns used to be cheaper than buying two separate flights, that's generally not the case any more, with most flights sold as separate components.
If you're not wedded to one airline and are happy to fly out with one carrier and back with another, or you blend different airlines for long-haul travel, you can bring down your price.
Compare sites: Many people are unsure whether to buy direct from the airline or use search engines or third-party sites like Skyscanner, Expedia, Kayak, Cheapflights or Google Flights.
A Choice spokesperson says these sites can offer great fares but can cost more in the long run.
"We generally recommend booking directly through the airline. If something goes wrong, you'll want to deal directly with the airline, otherwise you'll be navigating two sets of terms and conditions.
"Airlines usually charge fees for cancellations and changes, but booking sites will often hit you with an extra set of fees of their own."
If you've found the cheapest price on a third-party site but would rather book direct, Choice suggests asking the airline to match or beat it.
Stop more than once: If you're in no hurry and are happy to make multiple stops in less-known airports, you can certainly save some cash, and this is where aggregators that search multiple airlines can be really valuable.
But if you've booked with different airlines via a third party and you miss one flight, the connecting flights still stand, Kidman warns.
He says one way to minimise this risk is stretching out the journey, which could actually make it more fun. "You get to see other cities on the way and you're giving yourself more space if things go wrong."
Fly to smaller airports: Airports apply taxes to flights that use them; major airports charge higher taxes. If you don't mind the commute, use Avalon for Melbourne and Gold Coast for Brisbane.
Europe is full of sister airports outside major cities that offer cheaper deals and if there's a decent shuttle bus, it's not that much of a hassle in the end.
Fly domestic first: You don't have to fly out of your nearest airport. A positioning flight to another domestic airport that offers cheaper international fares can sometimes help.
Melbourne, Darwin and Perth are 24-hour airports that can offer cheaper flights in the small hours, for example.
But sometimes our secondary international airports offer the best deals.
"The cheapest flights to the US go out of Brisbane because those flights don't fill up at the same speed as the Sydney and Melbourne ones," Kidman says.
Look for sales: There are often sales on specific routes, though unlikely in peak periods. The best way to find them is to subscribe to airline newsletters.
Virgin and Jetstar send out an email with discounts every week; Qantas less often. Some booking sites and airline sites offer price alerts, so they'll email you if the price on your route goes up or down.
Use loyalty programs: Frequent flyer programs are free to join and you can gain points as you do your grocery shopping.
Beware of hidden costs: Budget fares get you on a plane with seven kilograms of hand luggage; they don't get you a decent seat or a meal.
Red-eye flights might be cheaper but you may spend those savings on an Uber to the airport if there's no public transport running.
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