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.
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.
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?