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Booking flights is easily one of the least fun parts of planning a holiday.
It's expensive, tedious and it's tough to know if you're getting a good deal - or if you're being massively ripped off.
But luckily, there are a growing number of tricks savvy travellers are using which are almost guaranteed to make booking a flight cheaper and easier.
Here are some of the best.
1. THE HIDDEN CITY HACK
My partner and I discovered this one by accident recently. While planning a trip to South America, we noticed that flights from Sydney to Santiago, Chile were quite expensive, while flights from Sydney to Sao Paulo, Brazil (with a stopover in Santiago) were much cheaper.
In a light bulb moment, we wondered what would happen if we simply didn't board our flight from Santiago to Sao Paulo - and the answer is nothing, because it's actually a little-known but long-established traveller's trick known as the Hidden City hack.
If you are planning on using this hack though, do it sparingly - it's not illegal, but it is frowned upon by airlines.
Extra tip: make sure your bags get off the plane with you, and note that any further flights on the same booking will be cancelled by the airline as soon as you're a no-show.
2. BUY A FLEXI FARE
These days, some airlines won't let you board your flight without proof of an onward flight. That's fine when all you are doing is flying into a country and then flying out again at the end of your trip, but what about those of us who haven't booked our next flight yet, or people planning to travel between countries overland or via ferries?
Enter the Flexi Fare hack. Many airlines have developed a flexible, fully-refundable ticket option which lets you reserve an onward flight under your name. You can then cancel it whenever you want, free of charge - but make sure you check the terms and conditions carefully.
3. USE HACKER FARES
The term "hacker fares" means purchasing two or more separate one-way flights from different airlines to complete your journey, instead of buying one roundtrip from the same company - which is sometimes much more expensive.
If that sounds like too much hard work, check out a website like Kayak.com. They'll track down the hacker fares for you, in the same time it takes for you to do a normal flight search.
4. TRAVEL ON THE RIGHT DAYS
Flights on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays are often cheaper because they may mean travellers are wasting precious annual leave. If you're willing and able to travel midweek, you can save serious coin as it's in the airline's best interest to drop fares to fill seats during off-peak periods.
5. BOOK FROM A FAKE LOCATION
The cost of the same flight can vary depending on what country you are booking from - so using a fake "point of sale" can be a smart option. You can do this easily by using an airline's local site, or by faking your IP address to make it look like you are a local resident of another country.
These easy hacks will help you outsmart the airlines and save you a wad of cash - which can then be spent on cocktails and souvenir shopping once you arrive.
Alexis Carey was travelling the world for a year with her fiance. You can follow her travels on Instagram @the_gap_year
This story was first published on nzherald.co.nz on 8 May, 2016