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Find cheap flights always seems like the biggest barrier to traveling more, especially when traveling overseas. But it doesn’t have to be. If you are willing to be diligent and spent a little bit of time using these tools and strategies you are guaranteed to find some sweet, sweet flight deals for your next getaway!
Here are my top 5 tips for finding cheap flights and how I utilize each tip.
If you haven’t already heard of this before, this is going to be a game changer. Scott’s Cheap Flights is a service that tracks errors or glitches in airlines pricing and emails you right away about these flight deals. Because their error fees often sell out fast or the airlines correct the mistake, you generally only have about 1-2 days to act on the deal but there are deals sent out almost every day so you can keep an eye out for places you’d be interested in. You can also pay for the premium version so that you can set up which to and from countries that you want alerts from. You also get the flight deals a few hours before the normal email list gets them! (We are not affiliated with Scotts Cheap Flights in any way and do not get anything if you sign up. We genuinely just like using this tool!)
Google and pixels track your cookies aka everything that you search for or purchase online. This is the reason why you get Facebook ads for Adidas sneaker 1 day after searching for a new pair of Adidas shoes. Google and pixels also track your habits and what flights youre looking at, so when you go back to search for that same flight again, it knows that is something you were looking for and thus the prices may raise because there is a demand.
My favorite website is Google Flights. Yes I know it’s one of the simplest and most obvious options but it is truly my favorite!
It is the first place I go to look up flights in order to see the pricing of different airline companies. It also has two great features where you can see a calendar to compare the same flight on different days. Or you can choose a flight to “Anywhere” or an entire continent and view a map of the prices to each of the cities on the map. This is especially helpful for executing Tip #5!
My two other favorites sites are Momondo and Skyscanner. These are good, reliable “middle-men” that compare different airlines. Once you are ready to purchase, I recommend clicking on the flight and booking with the airline directly, as you can often get a little cheaper price and it is also easier to deal with the airlines instead of the middle man if there are any issues with your flights.
Skiplagged is an awesome tool, more so for shorter or domestic trips. You are able to enter the beginning and end destinations and the site finds you the cheapest route by utilizing layovers. (Yes, this is all legal)
However, the one caveat is that you can only bring a carry-on or else your bag will end up in the real end destination rather than the layover stop that you are getting off at.
This is my favorite strategy but it does require the most work. I start by picking multiple cities near my real beginning destination and multiple cities near my end destination and finding the cheapest combination of flights by starting with the biggest/longest flight.
For example, if I am trying to fly from Dallas, USA to Bangkok, Thailand, I start by searching from all major US cities and all major cities in Southeast and East Asia. Let’s say I find a super cheap flight from Chicago, USA to Hanoi, Vietnam. I would then check and record prices to get from Dallas to Chicago and on the back end form Hanoi to Bangkok. Often times those small flights can be found pretty cheap ahead of time and can save you hundreds of dollars on limited your search with only your exact beginning and end destination cities.
Now, there are a few warnings about using this method. You run the risk of missing connecting flights and not being reimbursed since the flights are not booked together or with the same airlines so make sure to plan enough time during your layovers for immigration, re-checking bags and finding new gates, especially if you are using this tip for international travel.
Cheapair has a great chart (see below) for best times to book flights ahead of time. Although I don’t use this chart religiously, it can’t hurt to use as a guideline)
Along with the best times to book flights ahead of time, I will go ahead and debunk the myth that there are certain times of the day and days of the week that best to book flights in general. I have literally tested this and it showed no difference.
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