Unless you’re traveling locally, airfare is often the biggest expense in your travel budget, so finding the cheapest flights can help you not only travel cheaper but also more often. I am all for traveling as often as possible!
Before we dig into these 3 cheap flight resources, a little caveat: I am not against using credit card points to travel hack. I have just started dipping my toes into travel hacking and using credit card points, and they are fantastic! But credit card hacking is also a bit overwhelming, and it may not be for everybody. I wanted to share these quick and easy resources that I have found if you’re not quite ready to go all out with credit card points.
Airfare Watchdog is a fantastic search tool that finds the best prices across airlines. But while most people use these kinds of sites to plan out a vacation they already have scheduled (for example, going to Puerto Rico during the second week of February), there are 2 fantastic features that I love to utilize with Airfare Watchdog.
- Looking for the best deals from a particular city. This is great when you don’t know where you want to go and have a bit of flexibility with the timing of your trip. For example, at the time of this writing, I found that I could fly round-trip from Philadelphia to Atlanta for $74, or from Philadelphia to Orlando for $123. You can also quickly search for prices from nearby airports.
- Signing up for Fare Alerts. I know, it’s another thing in your inbox. But I have found this to be an excellent (and lazy man’s) way to research and monitor the prices of flights to places I know I’d like to travel. This is perfect when you really don’t have specific plans but have a few destinations in mind. For example, in the past I have flown from Philadelphia to Guatemala City for about $450 round trip. I now have that route in my fare alerts and receive emails about the best prices, so I know that a decent price is $300-$350, a good price is under $300, and a fantastic price is under $275. I don’t even have to open the emails—I can see the price in the subject line and quickly delete.
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The Flight Deal
The Flight Deal is an excellent site that does a lot of searching for you and only posts the best airfare deals they find each day. This is another place I check when I’m not sure where I’d like to go but want to daydream a bit. You can follow them on Twitter or just check their website every so often.
If you’re looking to book something soon and don’t want to miss out, I recommend checking daily because the deals they post are often gone the same day or within a couple of days. They take a lot of the guesswork out of finding cheap airfare because they have some fancy calculations that tell them how great of a price something is (how many cents per mile). The only downside is that it only covers major cities, so if you don’t live close to a major airport like Miami, New York, Boston, or Los Angeles, you might not find it as useful.
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Google Flights is my new favorite flight search engine for finding cheap airfare when I’m planning a specific trip. It’s Google—of course it’s good. Here’s what I like about it:
- It’s simple and clean—I don’t get a bunch of pop-ups asking which sites I want to search.
- The calendar drop-down shows the prices. This makes my life so much easier because I don’t have to keep searching various dates, or find the box that says “flexible dates” and page through the calendar. It’s a normal calendar, and it has prices on it. Easy.
- You can save a particular flight, and see how the price is changing over time.
- Did I mention that the calendar function is dreamy?
I’m sure there are a ton of amazing tools out there, but it’s great to have a few simple ones to start with. I’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment below if you’re on a desktop, or send me a tweet or Facebook message.
Have you ever used these tools? What would you add to the list?