12 Jul Quick and Simple Way to Find Cheap Flights
When I travel, I do so on a budget. It’s important to me to save as much money as I can when traveling so I can enjoy the destinations once I get there. Honestly, even then I usually have a blast on a pretty minimal budget. It doesn’t take much more than a little know-how to accomplish this feat.
One of the questions I often have people ask me is how I find flights for such low prices. Today, that’s the info I’m going to share with you. I’ve used these methods to travel domestically as well as internationally and it’s helped me save a tremendous amount of money. Here’s a real life example… On my recent trip to Thailand, I spent $482.74 on a roundtrip from LA to Bangkok (if you count the flight insurance). What’s that you say? You don’t believe me? Here’s my credit card statement to prove it:
So how do I do it? Just follow these steps and you can follow me to my next destination without breaking the bank!
1) Keep your browser in check
The first thing I always do when searching for deals on flights is clear my browsing data. How many buttons you’ll actually have to click in order to do this depends on the browser you use. The important part of this step is that you clear all history, cookies and temporary internet files. Some browsers put this all in one button, while for others you’ll have to clear each list individually. For instance, Chrome and Firefox make it very simple to clear all of this data by clicking one button. Safari and Internet Explorer take a little more digging on the other hand. Either way, make sure you’ve cleared ALL of it.
2) Get some privacy
Once you’ve cleared all of your browsing data, it’s time to get some privacy. No, I don’t mean closing the blinds and pulling the shades but you can do that too if you want. What I mean is, it’s time to put your browser in private or incognito mode. I’m a little paranoid when it comes to this so I actually clear my browsing history, completely close out my browser, reopen a new browser window and then open a private window. Feel free to take the extra step of closing and reopening your browser or to skip it. I just like making sure everything is completely clear and fresh.
The point in opening a private window in your browser is so travel companies and airlines can’t track your activity. When you’re searching for flights in a private window, they can’t see your search history.
3) Use the travel pro’s comparison sites
Over the years I’ve tried various travel comparison sites to book my flights, from Priceline to Kayak. The ones that consistently help me find the cheapest flights are:
I only recommend products and services that I’ve personally had experience with and I find these websites very useful. One thing I can say that I truly love about Skyscanner and Momondo is they will actually give you a bar graph that shows price fluctuation over time so that you can visually see the times of the year (or month) where airline ticket prices drop. On Skyscanner, you have to click the bar graph icon to see this option while Momondo does it for you automatically. Momondo also gives you a ton of data to analyze in graph form under a button called “flight insight” if this is the way you enjoy visualizing your data. However, Skyscanner also gives you the choice to see price differences for each day on a monthly calendar if you’re less of a graph person and more of a number person. Whatever your preference, I highly suggest using one of these websites.
If you have to travel on specific dates or have very little flexibility on your time of travel then hopefully you’re planning ahead a little. What I mean is, the closer to your departure date you wait to book your flight, the more expensive it probably will be. There’s kind of a sweet spot in finding inexpensive flights. You don’t want to book too early but you don’t want to book too late. Personally, I’ve found booking a flight somewhere between a month to two months before the departure date usually yields good results for me. That’s when I seem to find the best prices.
Now on the other hand, if you don’t really have a specific travel in mind and you just want to see what kind of deals are out there, I suggest moving on to step number 4 where the deals find you.
4) Let the deals find you
There are websites out there that are solely dedicated to finding cheap flights and letting you know about them. I personally use two of them pretty regularly. The two I use are:
What both of these websites do is scour the internet for cheap flight deals and when they find one, they email you the deal. Airfarewatchdog allows you to create price alerts from a departure airport to an arrival airport. You can even create multiple price alerts from and to different locations if you want to get alerts from a few different airports in your area or are interested in deals for traveling to more than one location. For example, right now I have alerts that are set up from Charleston to San Francisco, Charleston to Oakland, Atlanta to San Francisco, Atlanta to Oakland, Charlotte to San Francisco and Charlotte to Oakland. I did this because I’m able to easily get to airports in Charleston, Atlanta and Charlotte and am interested in traveling to San Francisco. And since Oakland is so close to San Francisco, I also have alerts set up for travel there. You get the idea right?
Scott’s Cheap Flights is a little different. They advertise international flights and therefore are more well known for this type of travel. If you want to just sign up for their free account (which is the easiest thing to do on a budget right?) you can set up a departure region. This region is a larger area of the country, for example Southeast, Northeast, Midwest, etc. If you’d like to narrow your results down to a departure city, you have to purchase a premium account. The premium account ranges from $3.25 to $5.00 per month and is billed quarterly, semi-annually or annually. (Still not a bad price if you’re traveling a lot.) According to the website, you also get alerts first, the option of text alerts and a 30-day money back guarantee with a premium account. I can’t say how well these extra features actually work because I haven’t personally used them.
Do you currently have a premium account with Scott’s Cheap Flights? Is it worth the fee? Do you have any tips on finding cheap flights? Please share them below. I’d love to hear them.