How To Book The Cheapest Flights
There is so much information on the internet about the perfect times and sites to use in order to get the best deal on flights, that it can become overwhelming. Buying an airline ticket shouldn’t be a chore! It should be an exciting step on your next adventure. Sadly more often than not it becomes one of the more stressful parts of planning a trip, what with airlines and sites tracking your every move and raising prices when they smell a sale. Some people will tell you to buy on Tuesdays after 4 pm others will tell you should travel on a Tuesday at the crack of dawn.
While some of that may be true, it is generally cheaper to fly out on the first flight of the day or late at night and Sunday is usually the most expensive day to travel while mid week is the cheapest, they aren’t necessarily helpful for the average traveler. Instead of telling you to stand on your head and jump backward three times I’m listing out my favorite tools to make sure I get the best deal on airline tickets.
First always make sure you are in incognito mode while looking up flights. If you can use a VPN that’s even better! This way websites can’t track your searches and therefore can’t raise those rates! I’m a big fan of VPNs in general for any time I’m online and you can get some for free or for a very small cost. Also don't forget to clear those cookies!
Second check Google flights. This is a great tool to use if you want to see what prices are like during a certain time of year. Sometimes I’ll just select dates and see what the best deal is globally. You can use exact dates or estimates, you can even check by month! This also lets you see if there is a nearby airport you can fly into or out of that might be less. ‘Cause seriously who doesn’t love to save some money? Google Flights also offers packaged deals that you can book. Once you find the flight you like it works much like other travel sites by letting you click on the corresponding link. It’s a great jumping off point for any traveler.
My most used search engine is Skyscanner, I use it for every flight. They are really good about showing discount airlines as well as the main national and international carriers, that some of the other search engines don’t. It’s so easy to do general searches as well as nearby airports and change dates to see when you can get the best deal. Like Google Flights, you can search specific designations or general prices by date. Once you find a flight you want Skyscanner will give you a link to click on in order to book the ticket.
I will warn you that sometimes when I have clicked on a link the price shown on Skyscanner changes once on the booking site. The other thing to remember is that you should double check any third party sites you book from. While I have never had an issue with booking through any of the sites offered by Skyscanner it is important to double check any site you’ve never heard of, if you’re going to enter your credit card information.
The next search engine I use is Momondo. This one is a little newer to me, I’ve only known about it for about a year. Momondo works like Skyscanner in terms of search options, offering an easy to see price calendar as well as clear filters for selecting nearby airports, airlines and time options. I also like that you can select premium economy (extra legroom) as a search option which a lot of sites don’t offer. One key feature that I really like about Momondo is that they have an option to select what city you have a layover in. I personally like to build in overnight or 24 hour layovers in cities to help throw in a mini trip.
A new site that has recently come to my attention is Kiwi.com. I haven't used it personally but the deals on it are unreal! Much like the other search engines you can select specific or general dates, locations or search by deals. You are also able to search multiple airports in one search, which is helpful. It will give you alternative nearby airports that offer better deals as well so that you can see if using a different airport could save you big bucks. I looked up a flight from SFO (San Francisco International) to Rome, Italy, which came out to around $420, but Kiwi also showed me that if I flew out of Oakland I'd save myself around $200. If anyone has used this one let me know! I'd love to hear if you have.
One last thing to do before you book (I know it's a lot) is to actually check the airline's website directly. Sometimes they can offer special deals that the search engines can't. To make yourself more comfortable with these sites I suggest playing around with them before your ready to book. I check random destinations and dates every once in a while to see what prices are like and that gives me an idea of what to expect later on.
I hope this helps you feel a little more confident when booking your next flight. Let me know in the comments below if you have a favorite tool you use when booking flights.