Direct roundtrip to Italy for $399, to St. Maarten for $230, and to London for $355 from New York. Yes – these are all trips I have booked in the last year from my very own computer and you can do it to. Find out my 4 secret sources to unlocking amazing prices on cheap flights for your next trip.
Recently I was asked what sites I use to book flights when planning my trips. It’s true that there is some strategic thinking behind purchasing my flights, which is why I am able to get such amazing prices. Here I share with you my deepest insider secrets on the top 4 sites I use for booking cheap flights…and I also throw in a couple of travel hacks here and there. flight
Domestic vs. International flights
Booking tickets for these requires a very different strategy. When booking domestic flights it’s really difficult to understand timing. You need to first have an understanding of the highest, lowest and average prices you can get for these flights and go from there. Once you understand what the average price for a trip is, you can determine if you can have a good deal from there. It has been said that the sweet spot for booking domestic flights is 3 – 3.5 weeks out. But to be quite honest, I have found this tactic to be untrue when it comes to highly sought out destinations such as St. Barth. As a rule of thumb, I like to buy my tickets up to two months out to get the best deals for both domestic AND international. Still don’t trust me? In the last year here are just a few examples of what I have spent the following on flights (kid you not):
- NYC – Italy: $399 (direct and roundtrip) – month of November during the Thanksgiving holidays. Average price is $985+.
- NYC – St. Maarten: $230 (direct and roundtrip) – month of March during peak months! Average price is $570+.
- NYC – London: $355 (direct and roundtrip) – month of October. Average price $730+.
Unreal right? My biggest secret to finding these amazing deals are my top 4 flight search engines.
It is by far my favorite and go to search engine when it comes to booking flights. My favorite feature from this website is the fact that it is able to show you the lowest price for every day of the month both for departure and return all on one page. So it allows you to see how much your paying based on each day and decide whether you want to pay extra and stay a bit longer, or pay less and leave a bit earlier.
This was introduced to me by Patrick. At first I was skeptical..I wasn’t sure whether to trust Google since it is a search engine and I’m sure it’s optimizing on featuring these airlines in their flight search engine website. But it actually reveals some excellent deals. Unlike SkyScanner, it does not give you the option to view cheapest month of the year and does not give you a price breakdown for every day of the month for both departure and return. Google doesn’t layout the prices as clearly as SkyScanner does in my opinion. Rather than break the prices down by departure and return trip, it bundles them into the cheapest roundtrip ticket and gives you a given date of departure and return. It doesn’t offer you the opportunity to customize it yourself as well as SkyScanner does.
But what I really like about Google flights is that it gives you the option to choose a destination and flight based on your “interests.” The filter “interests” includes options such as adventure travel, beaches, culture, ecotourism, winter sports and honeymoon. It’s random generator will give you suggestions on top travel destinations based on your price specifications, interest specification, flight duration and times. It’s an amazing tool for people who are not sure where they want to go and have a lot of restrictions with regards to flight time, duration and price.
Kayak is another great travel search engine. Not only when it comes to flights, but to car rentals too! I always find the cheapest car rental agencies through Kayak. The website is pretty similar to SkyScanner and Google Flights in its features, but I feel that the layout of the website is more user friendly for those who may feel that the layout of SkyScanner and Google Flights is a bit too complex to maneuver. The filters are located on the side and easy to play around with. Unfortunately, it does not breakdown the price per day and month so is best used when you are looking for a specified time period. But it does hint at which days are cheapest via a green dot on the dates in the calendar.
Two of my favorite features from this app are the live recommendation box on the upper left hand corner that tells you when the best time to buy your tickets (at the lowest price) is based on your selected dates. Kayak has data scientists that study the market and recommend whether it is best to buy now, the price will drop in the next 7 days, or increase. Their purchase advisory is based on an analysis of current and past prices. It’s definitely a helpful indicator if you are not certain whether you are about to get the best deal or not. The other great feature is Track Prices Alert. You have the option to receive notifications via email and track prices on specific dates you selected so you can get real time updates when the price drops or increases. Google Flights and SkyScanner also carry this feature, but I always have a harder time finding it since it isn’t as prominently displayed on their websites in my opinion.
For some reason, there are times when I find the best deals on Expedia. The site is easy to navigate, they have special offers all the time, AND if you sign-up and become a member (all for free) you gain Expedia points which can help lower the price of your next hotel stay or flight. Expedia also does this amazing offer where almost every time you book a flight, they offer you a discount from a hotel in that area if you book it through them.I also use Expedia to book my car rentals alongside Kayak. Expedia tends to be more reliable when it comes to car rentals because it works with the bigger chains that have been validated by other users. Kayak brings up the cheaper yet smaller chains that might not be as great. Overall, a trustworthy source with great deals.
So there you have it. All my secrets revealed to you on how I fly the world on such a low budget. I hope this will help you find the best price to that amazing place you’ve always wanted to go to!
Cover photo property of © 2017 Arra Tour – Agentie de turism Constanta.
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