Lately, there have been so many new airline discount sites and apps popping up that looking for cheap flights can get overwhelming. But don’t worry, I’m going to share with you my favorite sites for cheap flights.
There are a few websites that I always check first because I have found great deals time and time again, but I’ll include a few hot new ways to get great deals as well. Of course, finding low fares can be tough when you need specific dates, you’re not willing to pack light to avoid baggage fees, or you just don’t travel enough to know about the tricks that frequent travelers seem to be so savvy about.
Of course, finding low fares can be tough when you need specific dates, you’re not willing to pack light to avoid baggage fees, or you just don’t travel enough to know about the tricks that frequent travelers seem to be so savvy about. But if you start here, and if you’re willing to be a bit flexible, you might be pleasantly surprised at the kind of deals you’ll find.
A few tips before you begin:
- Use the library whenever possible to check prices. I’m not sure if there’s proof of this, but I’ve read that airlines are able to track your search inquiries through your IP addresses, so whenever you can try to use another computer, especially from a library, school computer lab, or from a friend’s laptop if possible.
- When using your phone or laptop, use incognito browsing, and clear your search every time so your cookies don’t give you away.
- Search at just the right time. If you’re looking too far in advance, or at the last minute, cheap fares are harder to find. For domestic flights, it’s best to buy around 45 days in advance. For international flights try to book 2 months before you go.
My favorite sites:
- ITA Matrix. Travel agents use this those in the industry use this to find the cheapest fares, and while the average traveler cannot buy directly through ITA, it does give you a really good idea of what the lowest prices are. Use your knowledge as a starting point to save you some legwork.
- Skyscanner. Make sure you search for the entire month rather than checking for specific dates. If you can be flexible, websites like Skyscanner which allows you to see prices for every day of the month, saving you a lot of time.
- Google Flights. I’m often surprised at how low the fares are on Google. However, this is just where I usually start.
- Kayak. Kayak Hacker Fares allows you to find one-way options that can be significantly lower than a round trip price.
- Expedia. I’m not a huge fan of Expedia, but I do check to see which airlines actually fly into the city or country I want to visit. Then, I go directly to the airline’s website to find cheaper fares.
- Wow Air. I cannot tell you how much I love this airline. I took the long way to get to Morocco through Wow; Newark to Iceland to England, and finally, to Marrakech, but the cost one way was less than $200, and included an overnight visit with family in London. Budget Airlines like Wow aren’t listed on Expedia or other discount fare sites, so I always go directly to the airline’s website if I know they fly into (or close to) the city I’m visiting.
- Always look on budget airline websites like Spirit Air, Norwegian, Ryan Air and Easy Jet. I LOVE each of these airlines, in spite of the fact that many people complain about their baggage fees, and because some of them don’t even offer free water, and that their seats are tiny and cramped. These things are true. But I have gotten flights from NYC to Mexico, Guatemala, and Jamaica for one penny each (really), and to London for $69. I’m serious; I can buy my own damn water if it means I’m going to save hundreds of bucks on my ticket!
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- Adioso. If, like me, you’re more interested in finding the cheapest fares and not dead set on one specific destination, check out Adiaso. If you’re on a budget, but you can be flexible, you can be really non-committal in your search, especially if you’re open to various destinations and dates. If you’re “just looking” until the right fare crops up, you can sign up for email alerts and see if the price drops then buy.
- Flightfox. This site is sort of like going to a travel agent, only people scramble and do all the work for you online, and you choose the best option based on the fare and routes they find. There’s a fee for this, but you could end up with significant savings, especially when going to multiple destinations.
These are a few sites I always check first to get the best deals but make sure you use Twitter and phone apps like Hopper and Hitlist as well. If I’ve missed your favorites, please add them in the comments below! Which aggregator sites do you use? Which are your favorite budget airlines? Please share with us in the comments section below.