One of the questions that I am asked most frequently is what are my favorite websites to find the best deals on airfare. I thought I’d put together a list of the most helpful and user-friendly websites to share with you!
The key to getting great deals on airfare is flexibility. You must be open to traveling wherever and whenever the best deal will take you. Being open to traveling anywhere is not something everyone has the luxury or desire to do. Perhaps you have a general destination in mind. For example, if you know you want to travel to Europe, the best way to find a great deal is to be flexible regarding where in Europe you will arrive, and from where in the US you will depart. Below are some of the sites we frequently use to help find the best deals on airfare:
Using skyscanner, you can search flights from the United States to a country for up to an entire year and the results will show you the cheapest flights using all possible combinations for your search. For example, I searched the US to Germany for the next year and found a flight for under $400 round trip from JFK to Berlin for 12 days. I also found flights from JFK to Bangkok for just over $700 round trip. If you have the flexibility on when and where to travel, this website can save you serious cash! And as I always say, it feels so much better to spend money on fun activities and food than it does to spend it on airfare!
Hopper is similar to skyscanner with a few differences in how you can search, thus opening up new ways to find great deals on flights. One perk is that you can search multiple airports. Let’s say you live halfway between Chicago and Indianapolis. You can add multiple cities in the “flying from” box so you can search both of your potential departure locations. If you are flexible on your destination, you can also search multiple destinations. The ability to search multiple departure points and multiple destinations may help you find just the right pairing that works best for you. This website can also search “Europe” and all of its 446 airports at one time. Additionally, you can search seasonally and for up to the next year as well as search by how long you are able to stay. Searching Chicago and Indianapolis to Europe, I was able to find a flight from Chicago to Bulgaria for just over $600 for a 10 day round trip in November. Searching New York and Washington, D.C. to Europe, I was able to find flights from Baltimore to Reykjavik, Iceland for $423 for a week in September.
This website takes advantage of hidden city ticketing, which means it is sometimes cheaper if you buy a ticket from NYC-ATL-MIA than from NYC-ATL. You can just not fly the last leg of your ticket and pocket the savings of outsmarting the airlines pricing structure. You may have read about Skiplagged in the news because it has upset United who doesn’t like consumers taking advantage of this loophole. United has actually filed a lawsuit against Skiplagged (read about it here), so get in now in case the website gets shut down! As an example of what you might find, I found a flight from La Guardia in NYC to Rome on September 9 for only $370 each way (the flight goes on to Moscow, but you just wouldn’t show up for that leg with no penalty from the airline). This is a fun site to play around with. The website also highlights great savings on the home page if you have flexibility or just want to see what kind of options are out there!
Theflightdeal is a bit different from the other websites because it does the searching for you and reports back the best flight deals out there. This may occur due to a “mistake fare” where the airline has a temporary glitch in pricing and the flight is extremely cheap. This is how we were able to find $300 roundtrip tickets to South Africa. That is what I call winning! The key for best utilizing theflightdeal is following the website and having a lot of flexibility in when you can take your trip and where you want to go. For example, we had no plans to go to South Africa in the next year, but after seeing that deal, we knew we had to jump on it because we would probably never see a low fare like that again! Theflightdeal also has articles on various miles programs and shares flight tips, so it is generally a great resource for travelers!
The most intuitive website for searching flights is naturally from the front-runner in the searching industry. This website is great for everyday use and, as expected from Google, is user-friendly without too many frills. The more you use this website, the more you will appreciate its versatility and ability to help you find the right deal for you.
These are the best sites we have found for searching airfare. It is also worth mentioning that in addition to searching airfare, you may want to track specific flight routes. If you are in a situation where you know the flight route you want, you can use a website such as yapta.com to track the price of that specific flight. This comes in handy because airlines are always changing the price of their flights and every travel “expert” has an opinion on the best time to buy. Yapta tracks the specific flight fares and will send you an email when the price drops, so you know exactly when to buy at the best time!
I hope you find this list helpful and use these websites when planning your next trip. Have you used any of these sites before? Are there any other sites that you would add to this list?