Finding cheap flights isn't just good luck, it's good sense. Taking the time to learn the ins and outs of the industry can really save you money in the long run when it comes to trip planning and flight booking. I suggest start by getting familiar with the following five tools when looking to book flights for upcoming travel plans.
Here are my top 5 tools for finding cheap flights and travel deals:
1. Google Flights- Google Flights is one of my favorite tools right now. Not only can you easily compare dozens of competing airline prices for specific destinations, but you can also easily check out the prices for a broad range of dates. The cheapest dates are even highlighted in green for easy spotting.
I've booked several flights through google's flight page and haven't had any problems. Essentially I use this to search out the best deals and then I purchase my flights on whatever platform works best for me. If you purchase through the page itself, Google will often times send you to Orbitz, CheapTickets, Expedia, or some other sponsoring page in order to claim the deal. I have booked this way as well and never had much trouble, although I caution you to read the rules and guidelines very closely.
2. Airfarewatchdog- Airfarewatchdog is more than just a mouthful – it's a helpful site I use when I want to compare different airlines for specific destinations. The site allows users to pick at least five different booking sites such as Expedia, CheapoAir and Orbitz and compare their best prices on flights and destinations. I often times begin my search with this website so I can have a steady baseline to go off of for flight prices.
3. Southwest Airlines: gotta get away - Many budget airlines like Southwest keep specific locations of their website aimed at people who are looking to save money. Southwest Airlines' “wanna get away” prices are often some of the lowest in their industry. I periodically check this part of their website in case I find any surprisingly low deals on cities I might like to visit.
4. Earn credit card miles – follow Travis Sherry
I found Travis Sherry through a podcast episode about how to earn travel miles by using a credit card. His site, Extra Pack of Peanuts, soon became my bible for the next few weeks as I planned my trip to Australia.
Travis has plenty of tips on how to earn mad credit card miles through working rewards programs and staying informed on up-to-date deals for credit card users. I highly recommend looking into his blog and resources for better saving knowledge!
5. Keep it local
Sometimes your local, smaller airlines will have deals on flights that larger airlines don't. This is another thing I can't explain, but I have seen it happen. For instance, there is a small airport about an hour from my hometown. It's the closest and smallest airport in our region, but more than once I have found flights to major cities way cheaper from this airport. This is an all around win for me because I save time, gas and money that would be spent on parking fees in DFW.
Get to know the local aiports in your area. Perhaps there is an AirForce base near you that provides public flights for locals. Do your research and get the scoop on what saves you money!
Have you tried any of these tools? How did they work for you? Do you use something that works even better? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.