Let’s be real here; airfare is often one of the most expensive aspects of travel. In my experience, it accounts for about one-third of our total spend on any given international trip. Here are the three sites that I use to find the best possible deals on airfare.
Kayak and Google Flights
Kayak is the one I’ve used most often, but for our upcoming Baltic Sea cruise, I’m giving Google Flights a try. Both allow you to set up email alerts which tell you when the price of a flight you’re interested in goes up or down.
If you’ve got some flexibility, use the +/- feature; you’d be surprised how much the price of a ticket can change between a Thursday or Friday flight, for example. It could be a difference of $100 or more.
I also quite like Kayak’s “advice” feature, which is based on analytics of price variance.
If you’re feeling ambitious, test out a couple of different departure cities and see how that alters the price of your flight.
This is a recent tip that I learned. We booked a trip through Travelzoo, and the flights all originated out of Boston. I was shocked to see how much lower the prices were flying out of Boston versus what we pay to fly out of Detroit. Flights originating out of airports on the eastern seaboard overall seem to be cheaper than flying out of the Midwest—it’s pretty inexpensive to fly out of New York or New Jersey, too, I’ve found.
Take a look at the comparisons below: Detroit to Copenhagen ($1,040 roundtrip) versus New York to Copenhagen ($511 roundtrip). Even with having to book a separate flight from Detroit to NYC ($192 roundtrip), it’s still far and away the cheaper option, coming in at $703 per ticket. For two people, that’s $600 in your pocket, and you can do a lot with $600!
Now, I realize that this may seem like a hassle—flying out of somewhere other than your home base. I completely understand. If money is no object to you and you’d rather save time (wouldn’t that be nice?), then by all means, fly out of the nearest airport! But for those of us looking to travel as cheaply as possible, this is a great option to keep in mind.
If you have even more flexibility, consider using a website or app like Skyscanner.
If it doesn’t matter to you what month you travel in, try putting in the “to” and “from” cities, and select their “cheapest month” option.
According to this Boston-Lisbon search I did, April is the cheapest month to fly. Skyscanner provides you with a calendar of the month and it lists one-way ticket prices each way.
The other feature about Skyscanner that I think is super-cool, especially if you’re trying to be spontaneous of genuinely don’t have a destination in mind but you just want to go somewhere is that you don’t need to put in a destination in order to search their site.
Skyscanner will literally scan all available flights from your airport at the cheapest price possible. We could fly from Detroit to Iceland, direct, potentially for less than $200 each way in October 2018 if we wanted to. How cool is that?!
These are just three of the many, many sites out there that aim at finding the most affordable airfare. There’s also cheapoair.com, Expedia, Travelocity, and Hopper, just to name a few. These are just the ones I’ve played around with the most.
What’s your favorite site to use for finding cheap airfare? Leave a comment and tell me all about it! I’m always looking for new and improved ways to save money on airfare, which is often one of the most expensive parts of traveling!
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