We get it. Flights are crazy expensive these days! Even when flying domestically, prices have soared in the past couple of years and don’t show any signs of slowing. But, with a little research on your end, we’ll show you how to potentially save thousands by cutting out the middleman travel agency or 3rd party website. Check out our favorite websites and tips to finding cheap flights for your next vacation!
The King Of Cheap Flights: Google Flights
Hands down, the best site and the one you want to spend the most time on is Google Flights. Google Flights search ALL the airline websites with one click and are ALWAYS cheaper than the big travel sites(Expedia, Travelocity, Priceline). Try playing around with dates, one-way or round trip, and different departure/arrival destinations. A couple-hour train ride or drive to a different airport can potentially save you thousands. It might even give you better flights with less layover time or connections, always a win!
You can set up email alerts with Google to notify you when flights drop on routes/dates that you selected. USE THIS FEATURE! Nothing like getting an email letting you know flights for your planned trip have dropped considerably! Don’t wait though! If your trip is already planned, book it quickly because flight prices fluctuate wildly, sometimes in hours or even minutes!
SkyScanner: Another Great Cheap Flights Website
Another site I like to use if I’m not having much luck with Google Flights is SkyScanner. This website finds deals that even Google can’t sometimes(I’m not sure how) so it’s always a good idea to check them out! SkyScanner has worked the best for me on international flights but don’t forget to check domestic too. I always check the two before booking any flights, just to be sure I’m getting the lowest price.
While Google Flights is still king, SkyScanner is a close second when looking for those amazing flight deals. The site has saved me thousands in the past on last minute flights! Bookmark it and check them before doing the final checkout on any flight purchase.
SkipLagged: Riskiest Option But Sometimes The Cheapest
Our last website for finding flights is a bit different and not for the inexperienced traveler. SkipLagged uses something called “hidden city ticketing” to find cheap flights by considering flights with layover destinations in your desired city.
For example, you want to go to Charlotte, NC from Portland, OR but all the flights are crazy expensive. You hop on SkipLagged and see they have a flight, Portland to Atlanta with a layover in Charlotte. You book that flight, but instead of flying to the final destination of Atlanta, you simply walk out of the airport at your Charlotte layover. Now, to make this work you CANNOT check in any bags when you check in for the flight. If you are getting off in Charlotte, you can’t have your checked bags going to Atlanta! So only bring a small carry-on/book bag and hope that they don’t start checking in all carry-one at the gate. It’s rare, but on full flights it can happen.
SkipLagged is a great resource if all other options above have been exhausted, as sometimes the flights are way cheaper than the competitors. But the catch is the whole baggage situation! That’s why we suggest only experienced travelers or people traveling with no/very little baggage use it. However, for short domestic flights, I have found this website works wonders!
The Most Important Thing To Do Before Booking Your Cheap Flight!
After you find your cheap flight, whichever website you decide to use, we highly recommend trying to book it DIRECTLY through the airline’s website, if possible. The reason we do this is the airlines offer better options when booking through them directly rather than a 3rd party website. Whether it be seat selection, cancellation/refunds, or even date changes, the airline will always be more flexible if you booked with them directly!
You can also earn better rewards when booking through the website directly as many airlines offer better rewards to their direct customers. One of the most common questions I get when calling an airline’s customer service is “Did you book it through us?”. Trust me, they are much more helpful if you did and your options are usually better, whatever your reason for calling.
Cheap Flights Are Out There!
It’s true! If you check the above sites religiously and you’re not too close to your planned departure date, you can almost always find a great deal! It just takes some diligence, craftiness, and the willingness to spend some time searching. Don’t forget the Google Flight email alerts either, they do all the work for you and send you the alerts when the flights are cheap. Does it get any better than that?
Anyways, thanks for reading! What are your go-to websites/methods for finding cheap flights? Let us know in the comments below, as we are always looking for new ways to save money on flying too! Thanks for reading and check out some of our other blog posts if you have some time!