The first thing I always look into when planning my next trip are the flights as they are the biggest expense second to the accommodation. More on how to save money on hotel rooms HERE
Thankfully we have the glorious internet and a huge selection of search engines and airlines such as Google Flights, Skyscanner , Expedia, Eurowings or Airasia to find the best deals. These are the sites and airlines I usually use when booking flights. Why, how they work and the advantages and disadvantages of these engines and airlines below…
But before we look at the search engines and airlines here a few tips on how to find the cheapest flights online!
Tips on hoe to find the cheapest flights online!
Airlines operates 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
- Be flexible with your dates! Every day has different rates (see below/Google Flight) and when you are flexible you can pick the best date
- 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
- Fly during weekdays not over weekends! Fridays and Saturdays are the most expensive ones as most people are off and want to fly on those dates
- Fly after special events occurred! Don’t fly just before as every one else will. Special events are things like Mardi Gras in Sydney or Chinese New Year for Asia
- Fly after school holidays as during school holidays as all the families will travel!
- Fly after public holidays like Easter or Christmas as most everyone is back at work so the prices drop
- 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 your departure date so that you can make the most of your time. Airlines know this, so the cheapest flights are the ones that are very late on your flight to a destination and very early on the way back. It’s annoying but you can save a lot of money!!!
- Use the right search engine and compare prices between airlines.
Which search engines I use the most and why below 🙂
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!
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 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!
- 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!
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!
Low Cost Airlines I use to find affordable flights
Now to the airlines where I go directly onto their website and check out flights depending in which country I am currently at or want to fly to…
Eurowings Airline for affordable European flights
Eurowings as well as Germanwings are a German low cost airline and not a search engine. They offer the cheapest deals to fly within Europe, the US and parts of Asia. However Eurowings low cost price contain just the flight and carry on luggage. Everything else such as food, entertainment or additional luggage needs to be paid for.
How it works
You select your dates and destination and then I will you available flight in terms of duration, departure times and prices. On the top bar Eurowings will also show you other available dates to fly using a calendar to find cheaper flights for other possible dates. Once clicking on the desired flight it will then show you “packages” to select from. Personally when I know I have additional luggage I select the “Smart Package” because it includes seat selection, food and the luggage. That’s it. You then go to check out and pay direct on Eurowings.
- very cheap airfares especially for internal flights within Europe
- Easy to navigate page
- Shows prices for 2 days prior and 2 days after your selected dates with other rates
- Offer Add-On packages for extras
- You have to pay for additional luggage, food, beverages and entertainment extra
- They do not fly every single day for every city, so you need to be flexible in terms of your flight dates
- No real service for long haul flights unlike airlines as Emirates or Qantas
- No monthly calendar to overview prices
Check out affordable flights with Eurowings here!
AirAsia the low cost airline for South East Asia
AirAisa is a well known Malaysian low cost airline that mostly fly’s within south east Asia and Australia. I have flown many times with AirAsia and had good and bad experiences. In general for the long haul flights such as Sydney to Kuala Lumpur I found the service and staff to be very efficient and professional. However I found that using AirAsia within South East Asia, for example flying from Kuala Lumpur to Bangkok, to be a little disorganized and lacking. It seems that the internal flights have lower standards. This is based on my opinion and experience however, when we flew internal within South East Asia the staff was much younger and the pilots also seemed way too young and were walking around with fast food and red bulls in their hands…mmhh… well you can be the judge here yourself 🙂 Personally I have no issues to use AirAsia for the long haul flights leaving Australia but internally I prefer using other airlines such as Bangkok Airways or Vietnam Airways as the pilots and staff seem more experiences or we catch a bus 🙂
Here is how AirAsia works
Pretty much the same as Eurowings you select your dates and destination. Here AirAsia will come up with a beautiful pop up calendar showing you the cheapest dates to fly in green. Once you click on that date it will come up with available flight and at the top bat with an option to check out a few days prior and after the date you want to fly for other prices and flight times…
Once you select the dates and time to fly there will be a pop up asking you if you wish to select add on’s such as the “value pack” and the “premium pack”. If I know that I will have more than a carry on bag than I usually select the value pack which allows also a meal 🙂
Advantages of AirAsia
- Ability to find very cheap flights within Asia
- Ability to find very cheap flight from Australia to Asia
- Shows a calendar with cheapest dates to fly in green
- Has a “multiple stop” option if you wish to add multiple destinations
- Easy to navigate platform
- Offer Add-On packages for extras
Disadvantages of Air Asia
- The cheap flights include the flight only with a carry-on bag. Additional luggage, meals and entertainment at additional cost
- Basic service on flights as flight attendant only come to you if you wish to purchase something like meals
- As mentioned above internal flights within Asia lack certain standards in my opinion
Check out cheap flights on AirAsia here!
Let’s fly Jeststar – the Australian low cost Airline
Jetstar is an Australian low cost airline and a subsidiary of Qantas Airlines. You can find very cheap flights for within Australia such as flying from Sydney to Melbourne as well as affordable flight from Australia to New Zealand and South East Asia. Flying from Australia to Asia I usually compare prices between Jetstar and AirAsia.
How it works
The same as Eurowings and AirAisa, you select your desired dates and times for flights. Here they do not offer an overview on a calendar to see the cheapest dates of flights, however once you select the dates you wish to fly a new page comes up showing at the top bar other available dates and prices to fly.
Advantages of Jetstar
- Super affordable prices to fly within Australia and New Zealand
- A great comparison airline to AirAsia
- Subsidiary of Qantas the Australian long haul airline
- Offer Add-On packages for extras
Disadvantages of Jetstar
- The cheap flights are flights and carry on bags only. All additional meals, bags and entertainment cost extra.
- No overview calendar showing the month with cheapest flights
- Basic on flight service
Check out flights with Jetstar here!
Other search Engines I use per country
- For Australia webjet.com.au or lastminuite.com.au
- For Germany: check24.de or billigfluege.de
Other long Haul Airlines I love flying with
- Emirates is one of my favorite long haul airlines flying from Australia to Europe. They have one of the best services and foods with great vegan and vegetarian meal options 🙂
- Ethihad Airlines is the sister airline from Emirates and are jut as great. Only the websites function to add vegetarian meal to is a little complicated 😦
- Qantas Airlines is my third favorite airline to fly long haul from Australia to Europe
- Cathay Pacific Airline was all right, not as great as above three but still good for long haul
Other Short Haul Airlines I loved
- Bangkok Airlines to fly within Thailand. If you book with them you get to sit and eat at the Bangkokk Airlways lounge where you get free food and beverages whilst waiting for your flights 🙂
- KLM Airways is a dutch airline flying within Europe. They service little snacks, even if you fly short distances 🙂
- A’Italia Airlines cheap flights to fly to Italy
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 Flights or Skyscanner Calendar to find the best DATES FIRST and then go to other sites to find flights to save the most money!
I hope these tips will help you guys to find some great and affordable flights online 🙂
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