In addition to finding new ships using Signal Stations (Orange Beacons) to find Transmission Towers to find crashed ships, it's a good idea to stock up on repair goods (carbon, iron, plutonium, thalium mostly) and upgrade several times in series. When you switch ships, several of the components onboard are usually broken, including the pulse engine and launch thrusters, which are needed to take off. Loading up on these components and switching frequently is far more efficient than occasionally switching ships. This is especially true if you don't repair ship components you don't actually need.
Another trick you can use, when you find a ship that isn't better, switch to that ship anyway, decompose all of it's components, then switch back to your ship. Doing this will generally keep you in high end components for fixing the ships you do keep. (And will generally grant you stacked components that you can use to stack things like cloth and plates)
One rumor I've heard is that depth into the galaxy (closer to the center = better) results in a better chance of you finding a +1 ship.
Finally, consider bulking up your personal inventory first, as it makes moving inventory around significantly easier.