The most common question I receive as a frequent traveler is “How do you find affordable flights?!”. Finding cheap flights is absolutely essential as a budget traveler and using the right apps they aren’t too difficult to find. I compiled a list of all the apps and websites I use to find dirt cheap international and domestic flights.
This is my …”Where do I go next app”. This app is super cool because it allows you to put in “Everywhere” as a destination option. The app then shows you a list of destinations from your airport starting with the cheapest. Round trip fares to Iceland for 300$ in March?? Looks like it’s the right time to go! This is perfect for the traveler with a LONG bucket list of destinations and can help an indecisive traveler make up their mind. It also finds some great deals on discount airlines that other search engines don’t look for making it possible to find flights to places like India and Vietnam for 300$ round trip.
This is my go-to app once I have picked a destination and am trying to decide WHEN to buy my ticket. Just like any other booking site you put in your destination/arrival city and dates of travel and it will show you the cheapest options AND it will tell you when to buy. If your ticket price is likely to go down over the next week the app will recommend you wait. It tells you the lowest price your flight is likely to drop to and you can turn on notifications so when it does drop you get notified and can ALWAYS get the best price for your flight. This solves the biggest travel problem of when to book your flight and it guarantees that you are always getting the best deal possible.
An app whose tagline is “Our flights are so cheap United sued us…but we won”. This is the goldmine for DIRT CHEAP flights that kindaaaa trick the system. Basically, they find you deals to your destination through loopholes…and its genius. For example…I buy an 81$ flight off skiplagged to Cincinnati, Ohio. But the LAYOVER is in New York City. So when the plane lands you just get off with your carry-on baggage and you just got yourself an 81$ flight from Los Angeles to New York City. (This is a current example of actual fares on skiplagged today).Other cool features of the app are the line graph of average fares over the month so you can also pick the cheapest time to travel. The “anywhere” destination option is also available on this app. One thing to keep in mind is that these fares are for the traveler who packs light as you can only bring a carry-on because for “skip fares” your checked baggage goes to the final destination.
4. Cheap’O’Air, Cheapflights.com, justfly.com
Some people get sketched out by booking on sites like these but I can vouch that I have purchased multiple tickets on these sites with no problems to date. You do have to make sure that you receive a confirmation email from the actual airline within 48 hours because sometimes the deal was a mistake fare that couldn’t actually be confirmed. But this is how you will get the best deals when booking for international travel ahead of time.
5. Know your Budget Airlines
Most destinations have a budget carrier airline. Ryanair for within Europe, Norwegian air USA to Europe (limited cities), WOWAir to Iceland, and Jetstar in Southeast Asia…you get the picture. All these carriers are bare fare which normally means no food, no picking your seats, and no checked baggage. Just bring your own food and pack one bag and the savings are SO WORTH IT. My flight on WOWAir got me from LA to Reykjavik, Iceland for 280$ round trip.
More Helpful Tips
The cheapest times to buy a flight are Sunday nights and Tuesdays before 5. (It has something to do with when airlines post fares) Don’t forget to clear your cookies and browser history because the more frequently you look for flights your computer remembers and the sites will keep the prices high ( or around the same) encouraging you to buy now. I personally always browse from an incognito window so I don’t have to worry about that. It always helps to have flexible travel dates whenever possible and pack light so that you can score those budget fares.
When you’re traveling internationally the long layover is also something to consider. Traveling to Indonesia the flight was around 15 hours so it obviously isn’t feasible for it to be non-stop. Instead of opting for a more popular (and more expensive) 2-hour layover look for a flight with a 24-hour layover. This gave me 24 hours to explore a small city in China! Two destinations for the price of one. On top of that many airlines put you up in a hotel for free since it’s an overnight layover.
Using all of these tricks together you are 100% assured that you are finding the cheapest flights available. And able to spend your hard-earned cash on the fun parts of vacation.