Best Websites to Find Cheap Flights

Flights are usually one of the largest expenses on any vacation. Because of this, finding a cheap flight can have a huge impact on your vacation budget! Keeping with my motto of never paying full price for anything, here are a few of my favorite sites to check before booking!

If I have very specific flights and dates in mind, my go-to site is Hipmunk. It searches almost every airline which is nice compared to most travel search engines that only look at a select number of airlines. It also has a unique ranking system which includes an option for sorting by “agony”. It calculates the agony factor of the flight using price, number of stops, and duration. Often times, it’s worth it to pay a little bit more for a more comfortable flight. One thing to note about Hipmunk is that it has an annoying pop-up requesting you to sign up for email updates. You do not need to do that in order to use the website, so just ignore it!

If I am browsing for deals without a specific itinerary in mind, I always use Secret Flying and a very similar site called Travel Pirates. They publish new deals almost every single day including current promo codes that airlines might be running and “error fares”. Error fares are when an airline accidentally publishes super-low fares but they are only available for a short amount of time. However, if you are quick, you can save hundreds. The deals on Secret Flying and Travel Pirates are for specific dates and cities but there is typically tons of selection.

Another place I check is the Chase Ultimate Rewards booking engine. This is only available to Chase card holders. You can use your Chase points here or transfer them to any of their partners. There is way too much info to include in this blog post about the perks of Chase – stay tuned for a dedicated post.

Also, I always go directly to the airline sites to stalk flights as well. If I can book directly with the airline, I prefer to do that. That being said, I usually need to start following specific flights months in advance. This takes effort, but it usually pays off. I can become familiar with the pricing and can confidently jump on a drop in price.

More Tips:

It doesnt always pay to choose the cheapest flight if it has more layovers. I always end up spending money at layovers for food and random purchases at the shops while Im trying to kill time. That $15 mimosa, $20 burger, $5 water bottle, $5 magazine could have bought you a better flight. You might as well just choose one with less layovers because its really not much more expensive than it seems at first glance!

Clear your cookies on your browser if you have been looking at specific flights for a while. Airlines are sneaky and collect data on what you are searching for. Have you ever noticed that you looked at a flight only to come back 24 hours later and the price has jumped? They know you want that flight!

 

If you are willing to put in some work to find cheap flights, you can usually find a decent deal!  What sites do you use? Email me or leave a comment sharing your tactics!

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4 Comments

  1. Google Flights is great too! If you’re looking for a random getaway you can put in your dates then look at a map and see prices. You can even filter down by price and layovers. I’ll look at random weekends and select nonstop under $200 and see if there’s any cool places I want to go.

  2. Subscribe to scottscheapflights.com as well! I was a little skeptical at first with such a straight-forward, scammy sounding name lol but it’s fantastic! You enter your region and then he’ll email you whenever there are “mistake fares” to some pretty awesome places. The other day I received one for roundtrip flights to Athens for $450, compared to the normal $850! I’ve never actually booked one (I just torture myself with his emails instead) but I have looked further into his flights are they are definitely legitimate. Supposedly you can pay to get “ALL the deals” but I did the free option instead and feel like I receive plenty of emails. Like some of the sites you mentioned, it’s really only ideal if you don’t already have a specific itinerary in mind.

    Also, I have to admit to using Skiplagged in the past. Definitely frowned upon by airlines since they’re not making as much money as they’d like, but perfectly legal! The way this one works is by finding “hidden city fares” so rather than a flight between two popular locations (ex. San Diego to DC for $400), it pulls up a flight advertised for a less popular city at a cheaper price, with the layover you need (so you actually book a flight from San Diego to Charlotte for $200, but it has a layover in DC). Then you just peace out during your layover and don’t board the second flight 😳 Not the most considerate option haha but I’ve never seen a flight be held up for one passenger and I like to tell myself it probably makes whoever was sitting next to me on that second flight happy 😂 There are a couple catches though, one being that you can’t check luggage (it would end up at the final destination) and the only thing airlines CAN legally do is cancel your return flight. So you want to book a separate return flight/not round-trip. That definitely limits you to when it’s appropriate (I personally wouldn’t take my chances using it for international) but I’ve used it once for myself and once for my Dad without problems! When he drove cross-country with me to San Diego then needed a one-way flight back to MD, I booked his flight with this method and saved almost $200.

    1. I will definitely check out ScottsCheapFlights! The Secret Flying and Travel Pirates that I posted also publish mistake fares 🙂 I have heard of the Skiplagged but I am always too nervous to actually do it! I get scared of them forcing me to check my carry on (which has happened to me before!) Now that I know you have tried it, I might be a little bit more brave! Thanks!

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