Apart from accommodation the other biggest expense a traveler has are the flights. The international flights are the biggest expense whereas the national flights are in many countries quiet affordable. With countless search engines online it can get quiet daunting to look for flights and to find the right one for you as very often the cheapest flights come with the longest travelling time. But there are some great search engines and ticks you can use to get the best deals online….
Tips on how to find the cheapest flights online!
Airlines operate in terms of pricing just like hotels. The more people want to fly during a specific period the higher the price. The less people travel the cheaper it is. So it’s a simple question of supply and demand 🙂
Search criteria on how to find cheap flights online
1.Be flexible with your dates!
Every day has different rates (see below/Google Flight) and when you are flexible you can pick the cheapest date.
2.Be flexible with your destination!
Some destinations are more expensive than others. Major airports which are mostly flown through are much cheaper than smaller towns or cities due to the airlines flight path frequencies! See if you can fly to a major airport and catch the bus or train to smaller towns.
3.Fly during weekdays not over weekends!
Fridays and Saturdays are the most expensive days as most people are off on those days and want to fly to get the most out of the “weekend”.
4.Fly after special events occurred!
Don’t fly before special events as every one else will be flying. Special events are things like long weekends, New Years Eve, Mardi Gras in Sydney or Chinese New Year for Asia!
5.Fly before or after school holidays
During school holidays as all the families will travel and therefore the flights get more expensive.
6. Fly after public holidays
If you fly right after a public holiday like Easter or Christmas as most everyone is back at work so the prices drop in order to fill up the seats in the plane.
7. Fly early in the morning or very late at night.
Most people try to make the best of the time they have for their holiday so they would want to fly early on the 1st day and leave very late on the departure date. Airlines know this, so the cheapest flights are the ones that are very late on your flight out to a destination and very early on the way back. It’s annoying but you can save a lot of money!!!
8.Use the right search engine
You can score great prices with a little bit of research on diverse search engines and compare prices between airlines. How you will see below 🙂
The best search engines for great flight deals online
The below are some of the major flight search engines that operate internationally and searches for flights all around the world using other booking portals as well as the airlines directly, depending which ones offers the best and cheapest flight tickets.
1. Google Flights- Find the best dates and times to fly around the world
I discovered Google flight last year and I have to say, true to Googles ability to scan the web, its an amazing tool to use for finding great deals! All you do is add your destinations and dates and it comes up with the cheapest flights. If you are flexible with your dates it also shows you on the calendar the dates with the cheapest options to fly highlighted in green…
Once selecting the dates Google shows you first the cheapest (usually with more layovers and longest travel time) and then the “best” option where its an average of price, layovers and travel times. Once you select the flight you like it comes up with the sites where you can book it through such as Expeida.com or directly with the airlines and their phone number to call.
Google Flight Advantages
- Ability to find the BEST DATE to fly!
- Shows a huge variety of search tools such as dates, destinations and times
- Search by dates, airlines, airports and gives you a price graph!
- Searches through all the internet pages and tools like Kayak, Skyscanner, Webjet or Momondo and shows best available flights
- Shows maps and other close by destinations with cheaper flight options
Google Flight Disadvantage
- It can get confusing due to so many search options, tools and graphs
- It directs you to a 3rd party website where you need to make the actual booking here you need to navigate through the webpage again
Check out google flights here!
2. Skyscanner international flight search engine
Skyscanner offers flights, hotel and car hire deals. All you need to do on the flights page is to add your dates and if you are flexible with airports location click the box for airports close by to find cheapest deals! At the top right of the menu you can select your language and the currency for the flights. There is also a calendar that shows the whole month for cheapest to most expensive dates!
Once you select your flight it will provide you with all the websites where you can book it from and it shows where the website is from. E.g as I am in Australia it shows “Australian Owned”. This is important as you can save on currency conversion or credit card fees when booking! Once you click on the desired website you wish to book skyscanner will re-direct the booking to the specific website where you finish the booking process. Note that some websites also add credit card fees when making bookings!
- Easy to use and navigate
- Shows whole month calendar with cheapest & expensive dates to fly
- Create your own profile and create your own PRICE ALERT for specific flights, e.g alert me for specials Sydney to Paris!
- Ability to chose Airlines, stop overs and time of travel
- Shows webpages that are owned by the country you are from to save money on conversion fees!
- It directs you to a 3rd party website to finalize payments and book (another page to navigate)
- Shows way too many options of third party pages
- The “Show Whole Month” button is hidden right under the banner which I almost missed the first time I used it.
Compare prices on Skyscanner here!
3. Expedia.com: Find flights & hotels on one page
What differentiates Expedia for other search engines is that you have the ability to select searches for flights, hotels, cars, cruises and also creates entire packages for flight, car and hotels receiving better hotel or car hire deals in a package with Exepdia’s partners. The feature I also love when travelling to different places is that they have a “Multiple City” feature which aids you to add different locations into one whole round trip! Other than that it has all the other features like cheapest, best and fastest flight.
Once you have selected your flight that suit you the most it will take you directly to purchase the flights. It also offers to add-on such as hotel deals and car hire in between. You pay Expedia directly without being directed to yet another page
- Book your flights directly on Expedia
- Ability to book entire packages with hotel and car hire
- No Expedia Booking fee
- Multi City options
- Ability to chose Airlines, stop overs and time of travel
- Ability to create your own profile and gaining “reward points” to get discounts for your next trip
- Does not show a calendar with best dates to fly
- Does not search other site engines, only the flight offered by the airlines and hotels directly
- Does not allow to select other languages or currency, it comes up by default
Find packages and deals on Expedia here!
Kajak is another quiet frequently used international flight search engine that operates pretty much the same as skyscanner does. Here you select the flight dates and the cities you are flying from and to and Kajak will provide you a choices of flights from diverse websites and other flight engines.
You can also narrow your search down by changing the “sort by” section on the top left corner of the site from recommended to “Cheapest”, “Quickest” , “Earliest take-off” and “Latest take-off” to match your own needs.
Another great feature is the calendar on the top right side. If you click on the calendar it will give you an option of adding +/- 1, 2 or 3 days. Once you select this option the calendar will show you the best rates for +/- 3 days so that you truly can select the best price for you! Once clicking the date and price that fits you it will once again show you the airlines/websites where you get that particular deal from!
- Provides yo with an option of language and currency on top left corner of the star page
- Flexible calendar to find other deals on diverse dates
- FEE ASSISTANT: here you select the credit card or payment method you wish to use when making the payment and Kajak will then automatically ADD THE TOTAL price to the search criteria. Short, the total price you see is included the fees of the payment method you use.
- Easy to navigate site
- Options to chose language and currency
- Page is full of ads on the sites and pop ups which can get a little annoying
- Kajacs page does not show you itemized stops and hours of stopping. You need to click on the flight first which then gets redirected to the other provider to find out the exact itinerary!
There are loads of search engines and websites out there with almost the same search options. Which search engine you use depends on your search criteria such as which country you are from as well as what search criteria you want. I always compare at least 2-3 sites before booking and if I am flexible with dates I either use Google, Kajak Flights or Skyscanner Calendar to find the best DATES FIRST and then go to other sites to find flights to save the most money!
IMPORTANT TO NOTE:
Watch out for the LENGTH OF TRAVEL TIME! Most cheap flights unfortunately include long travel hours. Here you need to look at the hours the flight take. Sometimes for only 50 AUD more you can shorten your travel time by a few hours! If you dont mind long travel hours and waits at the airports and prefer saving the money you can get the cheapest flights 🙂
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