Before I got into travel blogging, I was never the type of person who came across awesome flight deals. The truth is, they were right in front of my face, but I never knew how to find them. I wasn’t precisely actively searching for deals either because I thought this task would involve a big-time commitment. However, after realizing how much money I could save as I started to travel more frequently, I finally started to research the best tactics for finding cheap flights. At present, these are the same techniques that I use to plan my trips as a travel blogger.
In this post, I’m going to detail exactly how I travel the world in the cheapest way possible. Nope, this is no gimmick, trick, or even some magical formula– it’s figuring out how to use multiple flight search engines effectively. I hope my tips will help you to check items off your bucket list in a budget-friendly way.
My proudest recent example of using search engines to my benefit was a roundtrip ticket from Atlanta, Georgia, to Lisbon, Portugal, for $408 with Delta. First off, here’s a screenshot in case you don’t believe me.
In my opinion, finding a flight for well below the average price is a mix of both careful planning and good luck. A quick list of my rules for flight deals are 1) know where to look, 2) remember when to look, and 3) swiftly purchase upon finding a good deal. Below, I’ll be focusing on choosing the correct search engine(s) to help make your airfare more affordable and to get you to your dream destination pronto!
It takes an exhausting amount of time to look at flights airline by airline. Therefore, most people know that the first thing you need to do is to find a reliable flight search engine. Nonetheless, there is an overwhelming amount of options available on the internet. So, how do you choose? I use a combination of three different techniques: Skyscanner, Google Flights, and Scott’s Cheap Flights’ email list.
Skyscanner is great if I have particular travel dates in mind but haven’t chosen a destination. In this case, I’ll use Skyscanner to search for the cheapest destination with the dates that I have in mind. I’ll enter my departure and return dates, choose “to everywhere”, and see what countries pop up. From there, I’ll look into different cities and see which piques my interest.
Another case in which it’s excellent to use Skyscanner is if I have a destination in mind, but I want to find the cheapest ticket possible. To do this, I’ll plug in my airport and my destination, and when it comes to dates, I’ll choose “whole month” and then “cheapest month”. In this way, I’m able to find the cheapest options for my particular dream destination.
Flexibility is vital when using Skyscanner. To recap, this search engine is an excellent option if:
- You have specific dates for travel, but don’t have a destination in mind.
- You want to go to a specific place, and you have flexibility as far as when you’re able to travel.
Google Flights is my preferred option for situations when I have specific travel dates and a destination in mind. Undoubtedly, the best feature of Google Flights has to be “flight tracking”. Let’s say that I know I want to travel to London from May 16-31, but I want to monitor the price fluctuations to try to purchase at the optimal time. In this case, I’ll enter my dates, destination, and choose “track this flight”. You’ll be able to tell if you’re tracking the flight if the button turns blue, as pictured below.
From that point on, you’ll receive an email to your inbox any time the flight price experiences a change (this can be a rise or fall in price). I often track multiple flights at one time, waiting for an email and the opportunity to pounce on a cheap flight.
Flight tracking is essential in obtaining the full benefits of Google Flights. You’ll want to use this platform if:
- You have dates for travel and a destination in mind.
- You are looking into flights in advance and have time to wait for the lowest price.
Scott’s Cheap Flights
Scott’s Cheap Flights is unique in multiple ways, quite possibly making it my favorite technique to find cheap international airfare. It’s not a search engine. Scott’s Cheap Flights is an email list, meaning that you don’t have to do any of the actual “searching”. When you sign up for the list, you’ll receive a message to your inbox each time a team member finds a good deal. Below is an example of what these emails look like:
If you’re especially keen on this service, you can sign up to be a premium member of Scott’s Cheap Flights. I highly recommend this because the premium service allows you to choose your departure cities. In my case, for example, I’ve elected to receive emails each time a flight deal appears that departs from Atlanta, Miami, Washington, D.C., and New York City. These are the most accessible airports for me, and therefore, the most key to me finding a cheap flight deal that I can take advantage of.
Scott’s Cheap Flights is going to be your best option if:
- You are open to traveling anywhere and do not necessarily have a destination in mind.
- You can purchase a flight quickly as a good deal arises.
I hope you found these tips to be helpful, and if you have any cheap flight tricks of your own, please feel free to leave them in the comments. Remember, patience is vital in the process of finding great deals, so don’t get frustrated if you don’t see your dream flight at a low price right away. Tough out the wait, follow these tips, and I’m sure significant airfare savings will be headed your way. Happy flight hunting!
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