The Best Tools to Find Inexpensive Flights
Finding and purchasing flights has got to be among the top of the most deterring things about traveling. For some, even looking at the price of the flight makes them think they’d rather vacation on their couch in front of a TV. And, I don’t blame them! If you are just starting to learn the ins and outs of booking a flight, I can understand why you’d want to give up. There is so much information out there that it’s difficult to know where to begin.
I mentioned in this post that we found $350 round trip flights to Sydney, Australia. Normally, flights from the U.S.A. to Australia range from $1,300 to $2,000+ round trip. That price was a steal! But it would not have been possible without our favorite flight searching tools. Today I have gathered together our favorite tools to use when searching for flights. I think it’s safe to say that in the 50+ flights that we have been on as a couple, we have used one or more of these tools to help.
Search Engine for Flights
Google Flights is the ultimate search engine for flights. You enter in your starting point and desired destination, then the dates you want to fly. You will then be given a list of any airline (except Southwest), that has flight options within your specifications. You can filter by price, number of stops, airline, and times until you find the perfect option for you. If you have flexible dates, click on the calendar where you enter in your desired travel dates. The calendar will drop down to reveal the lowest price available on each day of the calendar. We like knowing that if we were to shift our plans a day or two, we would be able to get a less expensive flight.
Another feature we love is the ability to Explore Destinations (found on the right side of the screen). With this tool, you can look at the cost of flights all over the world based on the days you want to travel. This way, if you have already created your “To Explore List”, you can pick which location is the best price, but still a stop that you would love to see.
The cost of flights are constantly fluctuating. A flight to your desired destination may be at an all time low one day, and twice as much the next. This can be a wonderful thing or terrible thing, depending on what day it is. That’s where these tools come in handy, because these sites let you know when it’s going to be your wonderful day. The downside, you need to be prepared to act fast.
The Flight Deal
If you are looking for an exciting destination at a low price, The Flight Deal has got you covered. They find a selection of low priced flights and then provide links for you to purchase the tickets. The thing we love about them is that they are very particular on what they post. Their criteria for a post worthy flight is simple, the flight must cost no more than six cents per mile. So, it’s not just a decent price, it’s a jump-on-it-now bargain!
Be prepared to act fast on these deals. While they are accurate when posted, the flights may be booked solid or change within the hour. This is how we found our flights to Australia. Within a few hours the flights had changed back to the higher price. It’s a good thing we were ready to go for it! Subscribe to daily emails for that day’s best flight deal here. You can also get notifications from them on Twitter and Facebook.
Fare Deal Alert
Similar to The Flight Deal, Fare Deal Alert is a daily flight deal notifications, also fueled by the no more than six cents per mile criteria. Most flight deals start in one of the large airports, like New York or L.A., but if you don’t live close to those, you will end up paying more than the advertised price because of an extra leg to get you to the airport with the deal. In the end you may not pay any less than normal. However, this site looks for flights that depart from airports that may not be the main hubs for air travel.
If you live in a place with a smaller airport, your chances of a great deal may have just gone up. Sign up for their free newsletter to stay in the know.
Imagine that you had an assistant who was able to watch flight prices for specific destinations. ALL day. EVERY day. They would let you know when the price dropped and help you with the booking. That is Airfare Watchdog. They will keep you posted on a drop in price, you just need let them know what you are looking for. To set this up, go to their site and on their menu find Flights, and in the sub-menu, select Set Up Alert. Guess what? You just got yourself a watchdog that will notify you of deals on flights and hotels within your criteria
The vacation packages offered by many travel companies can be ridiculously high. It may be an easier route to book your flight, hotel, and transportation in one click, but realize that you will probably only be getting a decent price on one or maybe two of those options. So then you face the dilemma, do you want to go through the hassle of booking it all yourself to find the lowest priced options for all travel essentials, or do you just pay the higher cost?
That dilemma is exactly why we love European Destinations. They offer the best of both worlds. You give them when and where you want to travel, and they will provide a rough draft itinerary for you. From there, you can go through each part of your itinerary and customize it to your liking. Don’t like the flight time they suggested? They will give you other options. Do you want to splurge one night on a five star hotel and stay the rest of the time in small inns? You can choose how to splurge and save. This site is especially valuable for multi-city trips. We used this for a backpack through Switzerland and would love to use it again the next time we head to Europe.
Last but not least, we have Travelzoo! We like to use them when we have the urge to go somewhere, but aren’t sure where that somewhere should be. Travelzoo gives you the opportunity to find deals from travel and entertainment companies world wide. Companies do have to pay to put their information on the site, but the Travelzoo maintains that they thoroughly vet offers to make sure they are the best for their consumer. It even has seasonal travel opportunities, right now being the 4th of July.