Everyone wants to find the cheap flights, right? You scour the internet for hours, waiting to unearth that hidden gem that no one else finds. Usually, though, this isn’t exactly how it goes. You end up disappointed and frustrated.
How come you can’t find those incredible deals that you see everyone talking about online?
But, what if you can? What if all you had to do was make a few adjustments to your flight search process and you could save hundreds of dollars?
Well, luckily, you can! By following the advice below, you’ll be well on your way to jetting off with more money in your pocket to spend on experiences in your destination.
Compare travel websites & apps
There are loads of websites out there that claim to help you find the cheap flights. Kayak, Expedia, Google Flights, and more all make this claim.
However, there are some that fly under the radar (pun intended). Here are some of the websites and apps I regularly use to find the flights that will save me a buck.
This is the area where people are going to miss out on the deals. It seems so redundant to check so many websites for the same flights. Can they be that different?
Well, yes, actually. None of these websites/apps are perfect. And checking each of them is going to yield you great results.
Usually, I will start with Google Flights to get a baseline. I will then progress to Skyscanner, Momondo, Kiwi, and the Hopper app (in that order) and compare.
If I’m not looking to fly to any place in particular and I’m just looking to go on a trip to a region, I’ll start with Secret Flying (they also have an app). You want to act fast with Secret Flying as the flights can go quick, and they’ll occasionally have “error fares”, or fares that were posted by accident.
If you can snag these, you can save BIG. However, the airlines will cancel the tickets from time to time instead of honoring them, so you want to be flexible here.
Join an Email List
People can be stingy with their email, and I understand why. You’re constantly bombarded by spam and unwanted messages.
However, having the cheap flights delivered straight to your inbox is going to be a pivotal way to get great deals. If you’re flexible enough, this is a big area to save.
You will want to check your email often as the flights will go quick or only be available for a short time. So booking fast is crucial here.
Scott’s Cheap Flights will be a great resource here. They offer free flight alerts delivered straight to your email. You can select a home airport to get deals from. You can select up to five airports to track and receive discounts from—domestic and international.
They also offer premium and elite options, which will give you more options and flights to work with.
Keep in mind that Scott’s Cheap Flights will be best for flights that are departing from the United States.
Secret Flying offers its own email service. However, it won’t offer a premium plan. Simply sign up, select where you want your flights to depart, and you’re finished! You’ll be receiving deals in no time.
Unlike Scott’s Cheap Flights, Secret Flying focuses on worldwide deals, not just ones from the US.
The Flight Deal is another fantastic deal website that’s similar to Secret Flying. Where they will differ from Secret Flying is that they don’t allow you to select departure countries.
AirfaireWatchdog is owned and operated by TripAdvisor, so it’s always nice to know that one of the largest travel websites in the world is backing this website.
Like Secret Flying, you can set a home airport and departure airports that you would like to watch. You can set the frequency that you would like to receive the alerts as well.
What is unique about AirfareWatchdog, though, is that you can watch a particular route. So, if you’re looking to fly from New York to Rome, you can watch that specific route and be alerted any time a deal arises.
This is a fantastic feature if you know the precise route you’re looking to fly.
Lesser-known than Scott’s Cheap Flights, Dollar Flight Club is going to operate similarly. You sign up for free—although they offer a premium option—select your home airport, then start receiving deals!
With the premium option, you can access more features like more flight deals, adding more home airports, partner perks, and more.
Fly with budget carriers
It’s easy to fly the big carriers and enjoy the comfortability that comes with it. Yet, that comfortability comes at a cost to your wallet. If you want to find the cheap flights, you have to be willing to sacrifice some of that comfortability.
Budget carriers reduce (or eliminate) the services offered, reduce the legroom, and generally make the flight as inconvenient as possible. But that’s going to be where you save your money!
North American Budget Carriers
- Southwest Airlines
- Frontier Airlines
- JetBlue Airways
- Spirit Airlines
- Allegiant Air
- Alaska Air
- United Airlines
- American Airlines
- Flair Airlines
- Air Canada Rouge
Asian Budget Carriers
- Jeju Air
- Nok Air
- VietJet Air
- HongKong Express
- Cebu Pacific Air
- Lion Air
- Spring Airlines
- Pegasus Airlines
- Air India Express
- T’Way Air
European Budget Carriers
South American Budget Carriers
African Budget Carriers
Look for linking flights
It’s easy to look up a flight somewhere and not pay attention to the connecting flights. A flight goes from New York to Zurich, then Zurich to Singapore. This convenient package puts it all into one, and it gets expensive.
But what if you book a one-way ticket from New York to Zurich yourself?
From there, you can look up flights from Zurich to Singapore. You can occasionally save a significant chunk of money by adopting this method.
The all-in-one package is more convenient, but, as we know, convenience is going to come at a cost. And that cost could be potential savings.
For example, looking for a one-way flight from John F. Kennedy Airport (JFK) in New York City to Istanbul Airport (IST) in Istanbul, Turkey, at the time of writing costs between $369 to $449.
Yet, you could book a one-way ticket from JFK to Leonardo Da Vinci Airport (FCO) in Rome, Italy, for $215.
This includes a layover in Madrid for almost four hours. This would be an overnight flight, and you would arrive in Rome the next day.
Spend the evening in Rome, and you can fly out to Sabiha Gokcen Airport (SAW) in Istanbul for $60.
Add these two up, and you’re saving over $100 simply by arriving a day later. And you get to spend the day before in Rome. So you visit two cities instead of one, and you have an extra $100+ in your pocket for more activities.
That could even be an extra night or two in Istanbul!
Check multiple airports
When checking out your ideal destination, you may come to find that flying there is just too expensive. Let’s use JFK again for another example.
You want to visit Barcelona, but the price of $227 for a flight is a bit out of your budget. You really wanted to do a tapas tour, which is already putting you close to your budget.
But, wait. Flying into Madrid is only $121. That’s a difference of just over $100! Then the flight from Madrid to Barcelona is only $23. That still saves you $70, enough for a tapas tour and a ticket to the FC Barcelona match.
Hell, there’s also the option of taking the bus, which will only run you $11. Sure, it takes more time, but you also get to see parts of Spain that you would have just flown over otherwise.
By checking multiple airports in a country and being open to more modes of transport, you’re saving yourself money that you can spend on experiences. Which, after all, is the reason we travel anyways, right?
There are also lesser-known airports that you can find some good deals on.
Let’s take the closest airport to my area, Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT). However, there’s the lesser-known Arnold Palmer Regional Airport (LBE) in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, which sits just outside Pittsburgh.
By keeping an eye on this airport, you could fly into the same city but save money on your fare.
Flexibility is your best friend as a traveler. Obviously, this is difficult if you’re pinned to fixed dates. However, if you look far enough in advance before putting in for vacation time at work, then you can find some good deals just by adjusting your dates slightly.
When looking for flights, one of my favorite tools is the Google Flights Explore tab, if I don’t have anywhere in particular in mind.
Just select your departing airport, set a date or a time, and let Google do the work for you. It’ll narrow down what deals are the cheapest and to where.
Have a specific country or region in mind? Just zoom in toward it, and it’ll filter through the results to bring you the best deals.
Pair this with the tip above about finding linking airports or checking different airports within a country, and you can save some serious cash to get to your dream destinations.
This is my go-to method whenever I’m looking to travel and have no destination in mind.
With a bit of searching and patience, you can find that dream flight price you’ve always wanted. After looking at Google Flights, most people will give up and settle for a more expensive option when the deal of a lifetime was hiding just beneath the surface.
Websites and apps are popping up daily to help travelers find cheap flights. It all comes down to the effort you’re willing to put in to find them.
And once you’ve snagged that deal, you will want to start planning where you’re going to stay and what you’re going to do.
Now that’ you’ve unlocked the secrets to cheap flights, maybe you want to head somewhere now? Maybe Koh Yao Yai in Thailand?
Disclosure: Please note that some of the links above are affiliate links. At no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you make a purchase. If you have any questions about the companies, please don’t hesitate to contact me.
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