Finding the F[air]est Prices
When planning an international trip, one of the biggest expenses is airfare. There are many sites available to help you discover the cheapest, fastest, most efficient way to get to your next destination. Find the best sites for booking flights.
Not all flight-finders are created equal, and the resource you choose to use will be largely dependent upon what your priorities are. After doing some research and testing of our own, here are our top sites for booking flights:
- Flight alerts on deals and price changes
- “Everywhere” as your origin/destination
- Search options for those with flexible dates
- Intuitive and efficient mobile app
- Convenient calendar search
- Multi-part bookings are often omitted
- Occasional inaccurate prices
Overall, Skyscanner is a convenient first-stop since it comprehensively covers hundreds of airlines and travel agents so easily and quickly. The site also gives you the option to search “everywhere” in the destination box in order to see the cheapest places to fly from your starting point. As a bonus, Skyscanner is pretty well-rounded since it includes hotel and car hire searches.
- Amazing calendar feature (for visually picking the cheapest dates)
- Easy to find new destinations
- Extremely fast
- Price tracking emails
- Does not search a wide array of international flights
- Bad at finding an origin
- No hotel reservations or car rentals
- No promotions or deals
Google Flights has a few unique advantages to help you discover the best flights, the most noteworthy of which is a section on the website called “Discover Destinations.” Under Discover Destinations, you can select certain filters (date, location, interests, etc), then it spits out your best options. In addition, if your travel dates are flexible, their calendar feature shows you how prices will shift throughout the week. Once you select your flights, Google Flights may offer you some tips if any better options are available that may save you money or time.
- Recommendations on when to buy
- Great price graph
- Fare alert emails
- Vacation packages
- Excellent filtering option
- Price comparisons from multiple sources
- Multi-stop option
- Links you to third-party websites
- Does not show if there are cheaper flights other months
Kayak is great because it cross-checks prices with those listed on other websites to ensure you are getting the lowest fare for your trip. However, since Kayak links you third-party sites when it comes time to buy, sometimes the original price quoted on Kayak is no longer available on said third-party site. That being said, this problem is not unique to Kayak and occurs on many airfare sites that direct users with the third-party link system.
- Ideal for spontaneous traveling
- Lots of cheap last-minute flights
- Shows “hidden-city” bookings
- Can’t check bags with some flights
- Some airlines disapprove of the service
Skiplagged offers money-saving flights in a loophole-esque fashion. Say you’re looking to travel from Miami to Chicago. It’s possible that a flight from Miami to Denver with a layover in Chicago is cheaper than a direct flight from Miami to Chicago. Skiplagged would suggest you buy the ticket to Denver but hop off at the Chicago stop. This hack allows travelers to reach their destination at the connecting flight’s airport instead of at the official final flight stop. This trick of getting off at a “hidden stop” may seem ingenious, but it may no longer feel that way when your flight gets rerouted and your layover ends up being in Atlanta instead of Chicago. Another downside is that you can’t check a bag or it will end in Denver when you get off in Chicago.
- Rapid price alerts
- Offers information on destinations
- Great for flexible travelers
- Open-ended search options
- No mobile app
- Not compatible with all devices
- Does not cover the widest array of airlines
Adioso was designed for adventurous travelers who aren’t constrained to specific dates or locations. If you want to travel somewhere in Europe but have no preference as to when, you can conduct a broad search on the site for “Atlanta to Shanghai under $1,000” and view your potential options. Adioso-style searches are perfect for when you want to explore a certain region and don’t really care what your entry-point into the area is, so long as it’s cheap.
Read also: Find a Job that Lets You Travel the World
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dave Williams is the CEO and Co-founder of NOMADX with his base in Lisbon, Portugal. Dave is a US pioneer in the digital marketing, advertising, and ad tech industries as a serial digital entrepreneur over the past 20+ years with multiple exits in the early formative stages of the search engine marketing, social media, and ad tech industries.