There are many websites that will help you find the best deals on flights. Depending on the time of anticipation with which you are looking you will be able to find different prices, so don’t think more and start looking because the faster you do it, the sooner you will be able to find cheap prices.
If you search with long time in advance (4 to 6 months) you will find the best prices published on websites that detect flight price errors and promotions. But if you search on short notice (1 to 2 months) you can use low price search engines that will order all airlines by price. If you sacrifice yourself by taking long flights or early morning departures, you will be able to find very cheap prices.
Now, I’m going to share different websites in which you can find flights as well as shared transport (if you travel within the same country can be useful). And I’m also going to give you tips on strategies you can use such as deleting your cookies and internet search history or doing “incognito searches” so that search engines don’t raise the prices.
- Websites with error rates and promotions
- Transport search engines in general
- Flight search engines
- Low cost airlines
- Ride sharing
- Additional Tips
1. Websites with error rates and promotions
On the following websites you will find error rates and flight offers. You can search daily or subscribe to email alerts to be notified when there is a good price for your particular route.
a. Secret Flying
You can search for promotions by:
- From: the city/country you are flying from
- To: the city/country you are flying to and
- When: the month in which you want to find an offer.
The search engine will show you the promotions available, the dates when flights are available and instructions on how to search for them on airline websites or search engines.
- Follow their Facebook Page Secret Flying for daily promotions.
- Join their mailing list: you can choose the offers you would like to receive by email. For example, if you live in New York and only want to receive e-mails about flights departing from the USA, you can.
- Search early: Search for offers in advance so you can find an offer exactly in the month in which you are planning your trip.
b. Holiday Pirates
In addition to finding flight promotions you will find offers on hotels, cruises, holidays and others. On the main site, select flights and then select:
- Departure (airport code, e.g. Mexico City = MEX)
- Destination (airport code) and
- Travel period (month)
The search engine will show you available promotions, dates when flights are available and instructions on how to search for them on airline websites or other search engines.
Important: This website has fewer offers than Secret Flying.
c. The Flight Deal
In addition to finding flight promotions you will find offers on hotels and car rentals. On the main site, select flight offers and then a city.
Important: This is an American website, so most flights will depart from the United States.
2. Transport search engines in general
Rome2Rio is possibly the best transport search engine in the world, this website is useful for discovering how to get anywhere with any method of transport (plane, bus, train, car, ferry, etc.) at the cheapest price.
If time is not a problem for you, a trip by train, ferry, or bus is usually cheaper than a plane ticket. The advantage of Rome2Rio is that it shows you all the options with their respective prices and also makes combinations. For example, instead of taking 1 direct flight you can take a flight to a nearby city and then a bus.
Although this search engine only covers European countries, it is an excellent means of transport to move from city to city. GoEuro shows you the cheapest options, including buses, trains, flights and even car rentals.
3. Flight search engines
Flight search engines explore the price of your route on all available airlines worldwide. This way, you can compare the best prices of all airlines.
- Be flexible in dates: If you don’t have to make your trip on specific dates, the best alternative to find the best prices is to be flexible in dates and use the full month search option or see which is the cheapest month of the year (prices vary according to seasons and for example when it is summer holidays and there is a lot of demand, prices go up).
- Be flexible in destinations: sometimes it is cheaper to select the country you will travel to and not the specific city, as it might be cheaper to get to a nearby city and then move by car, bus, train or ferry. In this case you can use the Rome2Rio search engine mentioned above in section 2 to see these options.
Skyscanner is my favorite search engine because in addition to being effective it is completely free and does not charge commissions like other sites. It simply shows you the best options in terms of price and travel time. When you decide which option you want to buy, it takes you to the airline’s website where you make your purchase. It also has useful tools to make a flexible search in destination and date being able to choose countries and full months.
b. Google Flights
Like Skyscanner, Google Flights is very efficient and completely free. When you select your desired option it takes you to the airline’s website to make your purchase. I like that you can see all the prices on the calendar when you select the month of your trip.
Kayak is another very complete search engine that will show you a wide variety of options. Unlike Skyscanner and Google Flights in the end you can choose to make your purchase directly with them or with the airline. Sometimes the price of KAYAK will be a little higher because of the commissions but it might be lower so compare both prices to choose where you can make a better purchase. And consider the conditions of purchase because if at any point you want to make any changes such as modify the date or cancel your flight, it may be more complicated to do so through this intermediary.
Momondo is another search engine that will show you the best options. Payment can only be made on its platform, but if the price is more expensive you can also see the dates and times of the flight and search it directly on the airline’s website.
Travelstart offers a flight search engine that allows you to find flights from major airlines and low-cost carriers. All the fares are shown on one page and listed from the cheapest first, this then allows you to compare prices. You can also define the parameters of your search selecting the price range, your departure time and preferred number of stops. Once you have found the perfect flight you can select it and also pay for it through Travelstart.
4. Low cost airlines
Each country has its own low cost airlines so here I’m going to mention the European airlines that cover many countries.
In Europe, Ryanair is one of the airlines with the cheapest prices and connections between many countries. Basically you will pay according to what you use, flight prices include hand luggage of 10 kg as check-in and a small bag that can be taken to the cabin of the plane but if your suitcase is bigger you will have to pay extra and that “extra” can make your flight be more expensive than in a “normal” airline so compare and see what suits you best. Also, there won’t be food included in your flight but you will be able to buy snacks (and during the flight you will generally receive a lot of publicity of products such as perfumes).
b. Wizz Air
Like Ryanair, Wizz Air is a low-cost airline. Basically you will pay according to what you use, the flight prices include hand luggage (50 X 40 X 23 CM) as Check-in and a small bag that can be taken to the cabin of the plane but if your suitcase is bigger you will have to pay extra and that “extra” can make your flight leave more expensive than in a “normal” airline because adding a suitcase of 20 kg could increase the price of your flight by about 30 EUR. So compare and see which suits you best.
Very important: when using these low-cost airlines, don’t forget to do the online check in before your flight! I forgot to do it once and I was charged a very high price for checking in at the airport.
5. Ride Sharing
For trips within large countries or continents, consider sharing trips. There are different websites where people who are going to an specific destination publish their trip and you can join them by cooperating with a fee to cover fuel. There are several providers for each destination and the best ones I know are:
a. Blablacar (for Europe)
Blablacar website and app connect drivers and passengers willing to travel together between cities and share the cost of travel. It is available in 22 countries, almost all of them in Europe, including: Belgium, Brazil, Croatia, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Italy, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Spain, Turkey, Ukraine and United Kingdom.
b. Zimride (for the United States)
Zimride connects drivers and passengers through social networks and is the largest carpooling program in the United States. The service is active on 125 college campuses and has partnerships with Facebook and Zipcar.
c. Noritomosan (for Japan)
Noritomosan is a community to find friends and enjoy traveling in Japan. The website is also available in English.
d. Ridely (for India)
With Ridely you can enter your start and end locations, the flexibility of start time and view possible routes on a map with prices.
6. Additional Tips
a. When to buy?
First, as I mentioned earlier, if you have a lot of time before your trip (more than 3 months), start by using websites with error rates and promotions; if you are lucky you may receive a notification of a cheap flight to your destination near the date of your trip.
Secondly, if you are going to buy a flight on a certain date, try to book your tickets no more than 3 months before the departure date; this is because fares are usually discounted in the eighth week from the date of travel. If you book too early or too late, you may not enjoy these sales offers.
Finally, studies say you’ll find the lowest airfares on a Tuesday around mid-afternoon until Wednesday. The reason for this is that it is usual for some airlines to raise their prices on Friday and if no competitor matches their price, they will start lowering it around Monday through Tuesday.
b. Use incognito mode
Some websites can track your searches and may increase their prices after they know you are interested in a particular route on a particular date. To stop this, always use an ‘incognito window’.
c. Clear your browsing history and cookies
Some websites may increase flight prices according to your recent searches, so before performing a new search it is best to clear your browsing history and cookies.
d. Credit Cards Rewards
Take a travel credit card and start earning points and miles as soon as possible!
e. Sign up for frequent flyer programs
Some airlines offer frequent flyer programs where, after you register for free, you start earning miles for every flight you buy. For example, I am enrolled in the Star Aliance program in which airlines from various parts of the world participate so it is easy to accumulate miles and then use them because there are many destinations options.
Are you interested in traveling around the world? In the Travel Section you can find detailed travel guides for different cities, touristic activities, recommendations, tips, and much more!
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