We Gon' Save that Money: 3 Tips to Get Cheap Flights
For me, finding a cheap flight ticket brings me as much joy as Beyonce’s digital drops. My most recent claim to fame was buying a round-trip ticket to Ghana for $831 from RDU (Raleigh, NC)! Flight tickets to African countries tend to be really expensive, and RDU isn’t a major transportation hub, so anything under a $1000 was a win in my book.
Here are three strategies I use to catch cheap flight tickets:
1. Use multiple search engines.
I use to swear by Kayak & Priceline, but recently I’ve come across Momondo and they by far have the best prices. I love the layout of their site, it is very user friendly. They sort your search results into the categories of cheapest (usually the longest travel time), quickest (self-explanatory), and best (quickest travel time on the lowest price).
Exhibit A: Flight from RDU to Belize, May 20-29, 2016 (CHEAPEST)
The same American Airline ticket is selling for $334 on Momondo and $335 on Kayak. Ok, maybe a dollar isn’t that big of a deal.
I present Exhibit B: Flight from RDU to Belize, May 20-29, 2016 (BEST)
Momondo and Kayak aren’t presenting the exact same flights, but they are relatively similar in flight departure times and travel duration, yet Kayak’s results range from $514-752, while Momondo’s results range from $499- 723. This is about a $15-$29 difference, which can be more money to spend during your trip. Bonus Tip: Every penny counts!
My favorite feature of Skyscanner is their “Discover Destinations” search engine. It shows you estimated costs of flying to various domestic and international locations from your current location. However, you can edit your search to fly from anywhere. The example below is searching for cheap places to go in May from Raleigh. Flight to Cancun for $341 anyone?
Google flights offers an abundance of features that help you select flights that will give you the most bang for your buck.
Low Cost Calendar
Google's Low Cost Calendar provides you with an overview of the flight prices in a convenient calendar form. The lowest prices are highlighted in green font.
The flexible dates feature displays flight prices for three days before and after your selected departure and return dates. Highlighted in red are the worst dates for you to travel to your selected destination.
The explore feature allows you to search by dates, regions, and interests.
Search Multiple Departure Airports at Once
The most unique feature of Google Flights is it tool that allows you to select up to five airport locations for your departure and arrival and instantly see price differences. It also tells you how far each airport is from your current location.
Connecting Flight Location Filter
If you are traveling a long distance sometimes long layovers are inevitable. But, with the right planning a long layover can be turned into an additional trip, and a great opportunity to meet up with friends/ family.
3. Use an incognito browser.
Every time you search for a flight on your computer you are sending that website a cookie (not the edible kind). Virtual cookies allow websites to track your preferences. And as a result of them seeing you constantly checking a flight, they may increase the price (shady!). But if you use an incognito/private browser your cookies reset. I also found that switching the devices I search from can lead to slightly cheaper tickets.