How to Find Cheap Flights
Finding cheap flights can allow you to go on that vacation that you have always dreamed of. It is possible to find cheap flights both internationally and within the United States. International flights don’t have to cost thousands of dollars, and traveling can be affordable. There are so many incredible international flight deals these days that I have to stop myself from booking every deal I receive from Going. If you can be patient and flexible with your travel dates or destination, you will be able to find a good flight deal. Continue reading this guide for for how to find cheap flights and start planning your next vacation.
Skyscanner offers a great way to search for flights across airlines to find the best prices. There are several ways you can search for flights depending on what you are looking for. You can search for a specific destination and see the cost for different dates to help you decide when to travel. Another option is to search specific dates and keep the destination open to see a list of destinations with the cheapest flights on these dates.
When you are ready to book, Skyscanner will show you options for booking the flights including booking directly through the airline or through third parties that may have lower prices. If you decide to book through a third party you should note that there could be implications with a third party ticket if there are any delays or cancellations as ultimately the third party that you booked through is responsible for helping you with any problems.
I highly recommend signing up for Going where you get flight deals directly to your email for your origin airport of choice. Once you receive a flight deal that works for you make sure to book quickly. By subscribing to Going, we have booked flights from the west coast to Italy and Greece in the $500s, Asia in the $400s, and Costa Rica in the $200s. It can save you a lot of money if you plan your trip starting with a flight deal.
Google Flights is easy to use and offers several ways to search for flights quickly. If you have specific dates and a location set, you can sign up for flight alerts and google will notify you when the price changes.
How to Find Cheap Flights Using Google Flights:
Note: Screenshots below are taken from google.com/flights to demonstrate how to find cheap flights using Google Flights.
If you are set on the destination but are flexible on dates: Input your origin and destination and use the calendar feature to find the cheapest dates to travel to your destination.
If you know the dates you want to travel but are open to different destinations: Select the origin and the dates that you want to travel. In “destination” either input the continent that you want to travel to or leave this field blank and select search. This will show you a map with the lowest prices to fly to different destinations. You can drag the map around to get the prices for different areas.
Tips for Booking Cheap Flights
When to Book Your Flights to Find Cheap Flights
If you are traveling within the United States, try to book your travel 2 months in advance because then the flight prices start to increase. If it is a major holiday like Thanksgiving or Christmas, book your flights at least 3 months in advance because flight tickets start to increase early. If you are traveling internationally, flight deals can pop up as soon as a couple days out, so you don’t necessarily need to book early.
Consider Other Nearby Airports to Find Cheap Flights
If you live in a city that doesn’t have the best international flight deals, you can always consider flying out of a nearby city that you can drive to or fly to. Typically larger airports have better flight deals, especially internationally. It is easier to book a flight out of a city that you can drive to so that you don’t have to rely on a separate flight itinerary to get there.
If you do need to fly to the airport where your international itinerary starts, keep in mind that if you have separate itineraries you need to allow for enough time between flights in case there are any delays. United States airports that typically have the best international flight deals are LAX, SFO, JFK, IAD and BOS. We went to Ecuador a few years ago and the flight was $800 from Phoenix but $400 from Los Angeles so we bought a separate flight to Los Angeles for $150 and flew from there.
Using another nearby airport to find cheap flights is also an option with your destination. You can often save a lot of money flying into a larger international airport than a small local airport. Also, you are more likely to find nonstop flights to your destination flight to and from larger airports.
Consider the Cost of Bags When Choosing a Flight
Many airlines today charge for a checked bag, carry on bag, or both. Make sure to check the cost of the bags before booking the ticket because although it might seem like the cheapest option the cost of bags could make the flight more expensive.
The size restriction of carry on bags varies widely depending on the airline. Typically, airlines in the US have larger carry on size restrictions than airlines in Europe. Make sure you check the carry on size restrictions for the airline before you book the flight to prevent having to pay extra at the gate for an oversized bag.
Get the Best Seats on Your Flight (Without Paying More!)
If the airline lets you choose your seat, make sure to do a little research to choose the best seat without spending more money. Always start with looking up the plane on SeatGuru where you can see which seats are recommended and which seats you should stay away from. As a general rule, stay away from bulkhead seats, especially if they are next to the restroom. You might have extra legroom, but people will constantly be standing next to you waiting in line or stretching their legs. You will also be required to put your bags in the overhead bin during takeoff and landing.
You are more likely to have empty seats around you if you choose seats in the second half of the plane where it tends to be more empty. When you check in for your flight always see if there are better seats available. If you are unable to change your seat at check in, ask the gate agent before boarding if they have a different seat they can assign you. International flights aren’t always full, so it’s very possible they can change your seat.
Disclosure: Please note that some of the links above are affiliate links for products and services I recommend. At no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you make a purchase. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
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