You’re looking to book a flight and the rising prices of airfares are giving you a run for your money. You turn to all the standard travel sites hoping you find a good deal, but quickly realize the prices are still expensive and there is not much wiggle room regardless of the site you search to try to book your flight. Finding the cheapest flight might take a bit of effort, but if you follow these tried and true tips, you will be boarding the plane with some extra cash to spend on that mai tai (or 5 course gourmet meal).
So without further ado:
Find the cheapest flight available – the list
1. KAYAK EXPLORE
If you are flexible with location, you need to check out the kayak explore tool. Highly recommended to find the cheapest flight because it gives you the option to select your airport, travel months and budget and voila – you get an interactive map of all the wonderful destinations you can fly to based on your travel needs.
For example, we entered NYC as our home airport, set a budget of $510 and got instant results of over 500 flight combinations ranging from short USA trips to some of the world’s hottest vacation spots.
We found a cheap flight to Oslo, Norway for just $314 and a flight to Tel Aviv, Israel for just under $500!
Play around with the options if you are looking to travel on specific months, visit specific destinations or want to choose popular activities or maximum flight duration. You can also specify the search for non stop flights only, but be aware that this will usually bump up the cost of the flight. Besides, a layover can be an excellent way to explore a destination you’ve never visited before, and you can use the money you saved on some sightseeing or even a hotel on overnight layovers.
2. Fly.com – Today’s Best Fares
Another great tool to use if you are flexible with your flight plans is Fly.com’s Today’s Best Fares search. This tool allows you to specify your home airport, a date range for your search, maximum price and destination type (sun & beach, ski or short trips). Once you plug in details and run the flight search, fly.com will find the lowest priced flights found within the previous 48 hours from your selected city.
In our sample search from Atlanta, we found flights as low as $45 roundtrip to Orlando and $109 flights to Los Angeles.
3. Fly.com – Cheapest Flight Calendar
If you are set on a specific destination, but are flexible with your dates, fly.com has a great tool for you as well. Head over to Fare Calendars, plug in your origin and destination airports, set a date you would like to depart around and hit go. This powerful search gives you three months worth of flight prices using your flight search criteria allowing you to find the best time to fly and save. Once you select a date, the site will give you the option to compare its best fares with other travel sites such as Hotwire, Expedia, BookingBuddy and more. We ran a sample search for flights from Los Angeles to London Heathrow and found a flight for $841.
4. Hotwire Hot Rate Flight
If you are the spontaneous type and want to save even more, take advantage of Hotwire.com’s hot rate flight option. Selecting this flight option will shave off extra dollars on your flight. What’s the catch? Hotwire will select a flight for you based on your flight search and date but you will only get the details AFTER you book the fight. Going with our previous flight search from Los Angeles to London Heathrow, hotwire’s hot rate gave us a flight option that would save an additional 5% off the lowest fare. If you want to try this out to see if a hot rate is available and what the savings for your flight might be, head over to hotwire.com, search for a flight (or get there by selecting hotwire as a search on fly.com’s fare calendar as in the above example) and see if the hot rate will get you the cheapest flight available. Be advised that Hot Rates are not available for every flight combination, so you might have to do some digging to get there…
5. Matrix Flight Search Tool
This is a little know tool but it’s quite robust. We love it because it has super flexible search options. You can search fares for an entire month with varying lengths of stay to get the best possible flight combinations. Once you get to the search results calendar, you can customize your search even further by selecting flight times, airlines, layover lengths and more. The Matrix Flight Search tool is a google product, and it is just a search. You will not be able to book your flight on this site, but you can find the cheapest flight combination and head over to a booking site or a travel agent if you so wish, and book the cheapest flight with the information you get on the matrix search.
6. Some final thoughts before you head on your way
- Be flexible when possible – the cheapest flight fares may not be available on the exact dates you had in mind.
- Try to book midweek flights – statistically, midweek flights (especially Tuesdays and Wednesdays) are cheaper than flights departing on weekends
- For short duration flights – a red eye is probably your best bet and the opposite is true for longer flights
- More obvious remarks (but lets refresh anyway) – Travel off season, don’t insist on non-stop flights and try nearby airports if the drive might mean added savings
Most importantly – have a safe flight and enjoy your trip!
The openskydeals.com team