If you’ve been following along, it’s no secret: I enjoy traveling and being a girl on the go! However, this gal right here? While I’m always on the road, I don’t want to spend an exorbitant amount on a flight: this past year, I’ve planned most of my vacations around the cheap flight deals I’ve spotted on the internet (and I’ll never look back!)
How did I find some of these amazing deals? Here are some of my favorite websites and apps to use to score the best flight deals, and some tips and tricks on how to fly in and out on the best dates.
Tip: Be Flexible With Your Dates
Before reading any of this, note that the best way to score the best flight deals is to be flexible with your dates. I know this can be tricky based on whomever your employer is, but it’s a lot easier to fly out on a Tuesday or a Wednesday rather than a Friday or a Sunday in most cases. Also, don’t be afraid to visit places in the off-season: you’re likely to score the better deals then!
My Favorite Websites and Apps
I know there are a ton of websites and apps out there helping folks score the best flight deals, but here are some that I’ve personally used in the past and can vouch for. If you have a favorite app or website, feel free to drop it in the comments below!
- The Flight Deal: This is the very first website I started using to find cheap flights and the #1 reason why I’ll book a trip spontaneously. I follow their account on Twitter, so I see new deals roll in almost instantly. You’re going to want to jump on these fares when you see them because they typically expire in 24-48 hours. You have to be fairly flexible with your dates while using The Flight Deal: usually, you can book a trip within a month period; for International trips, a minimum of 7 days is usually required. For domestic, I’ve booked flights to L.A. from D.C. for only $220 in the past and can get away with shorter trips.
- Google Flights: In typical Google fashion, this is the holy grail of travel sites and cheap flights IMO. You have a lot more versatility with Google Flights: you can search by date if you have a trip where you have specific dates, or look at the calendar view. The calendar view option is terrific because it will help you plan out what the best days are to fly in and out. This comes in handy, especially if you have a weekend trip coming up: I don’t mind flying in on a Thursday or flying out on a Monday if I’m headed somewhere for the weekend, and Google Flights will tell you which day would give you the cheaper fare.
You can also track a location on Google Flights. If you have your heart set on a trip to Paris, track how much flights are via Google, and it will update you with price alerts. You’ll have to be flexible with dates if you find a great rate, but this could save you hundreds of dollars in the long run.Lastly, if you’re spontaneous, you can tell Google “I’m Feeling Lucky,” and it will pick a random destination for you. I haven’t tried this option out yet, but one day I will!
- Hopper: This is the one flight tracking app I have, and it does a pretty good job to get cheap flights. This is great if you either have specific dates that you want to visit somewhere or if you’re flexible and just want a better deal. One of my favorite things about the app is it will send you a push notification if you’re tracking prices and tell you when the best time to buy is, and when you should wait to book a flight. Push notifications grab my attention better than email, or social media does, so if you’re anything like me, this might be the app for you!
- Travel Pirates: In my experience, Travel Pirates is best for the flexible traveler. They have incredible cheap flights deals, but they’re usually on very specific dates. This is how I was able to find a $300 flight to Paris. I follow them on social media, so their deals pop up in my feed instantly: you’ll need to jump on one of these deals as soon as you see them, they’re sure to expire within a day or two!
Tip: Research Your Airline Before Flying
If you see a deal that’s almost too good to be true…research the airline you’re flying first. For example, if you’re flying internationally: WOW! Air has crazy low rates, but you have to pay for both carry on and checked luggage (and it’s not super cheap: checked luggage can cost you upwards of $150 roundtrip). When you see a low fare, do a few calculations and see if the airline has any extra fees, or if they sneakily won’t serve you meals or water during the flight.
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Photos by Tom McGovern