Do you want to go to Paris and back for under $500 or Hawaii and back for under $400? Because I have done both using some of what we’re going to talk about in this blog post. It’s possible!!!
Finding inexpensive airfare is an art form I have yet to quite “master,” but because I fly so often, I do have a few tried and true go-to apps to check what’s best when I go on a trip. Here are six of the BEST out there and why:
Like the name implies, you can literally scan the sky. This app is a great place to start if you know #1 when you want to travel but don’t know where yet or #2 where you want to travel, but aren’t sure when will be less expensive. My favorite thing about this app is the “Everywhere” feature.
When I lived in Asia, I wanted to travel everywhere and anywhere I could. If I had a long weekend from work, I’d hit Skyscanner, search Seoul to Everywhere for my dates and I’d find my destination because the results populate by price!
I have been using KAYAK the longest so I am loyal. In my opinion, it is the most user friendly. You can adjust times very easily, it has rental car and hotel options that can keep your entire trip itinerary, confirmation codes, etc. in the same app. This feature allows you to easily track your flight, stay updated on gate changes, delays, etc.
Say Skyscanner helped you determine a location, Kayak helped you find preferred flight times/airline, Hopper will help you determine and predict changes in flight prices. The app will show you, by day, the prices for the flight you’re looking at as week as a prediction on whether to purchase or wait for the tickets to drop.
This app is finds flights at a lower fare by combining airlines, turning your final destination into a layover, and other ways to find loopholes.
For example, say your goal is a one way trip from Chicago to Maui, which upon initial search was $500. Skiplagged may have you fly from Chicago to Dallas for $100 with Southwest and Dallas to Sacramento with Delta for $220, bringing the total cost down by combining airlines.
Another controversial thing Skiplagged is known for: they’ll book you a flight with a layover that is your final destination. For example, say you wanted a round-trip from Chicago to Sacramento. On your return flight, you see a flight from Sacramento to Chicago is $250, but a flight to Boston is $170. Skiplagged will book you a flight from Sacramento to Boston with a layover in Chicago. You never get on the flight to Boston, but you save $80. United sued because of this, but Skiplagged won the lawsuit.
These are just two examples, but most of the time when I check this app, the prices are anywhere from $10-$80 less expensive on average compared to other apps.
*One thing to note, if you do switch airlines, it doesn’t work if you check a bag! You must carry on, otherwise you’ll have to leave the terminal, retrieve your bag at bag check and go back through the check-in/security process.*
I find this app is super similar to Kayak, Hopper and Skiplagged making its features a good combination of many. I always check it to compare prices against other apps, but I feel very neutral about it’s “unique” benefits other than being a combination of apps I already will use anyways.
Although not an app, it is definitely worth mentioning. I find this service similar to skyscanner, so you can see where will be the least expensive. The thing that sets Google Flights apart from the others is that is has soo much extra information really readily available such as when the best time to visit certain destinations, suggested itineraries, travel youtube video recommendations and more.
With these apps, you’ll definitely be able to find the best deal out there, but here are some additional general tips:
There are some wiseman tales about shopping for flights.
When to buy:
The suggested time to buy flights is 6-8 weeks. It used to be suggested to buy on a Tuesday, but recent trends show that weekend prices are actually lower because business travelers are booking their flights during the week, raising prices. Recently, I’ve had the most luck on Sundays which used to be a horrible day to book.
Searching in incognito or private modes on your browser will hide your history so you will look like a new user to the websites, therefore getting a lower price. Obviously this won’t work with apps, but if you find a flight you like, it won’t hurt going to a desktop version to doublecheck!
Set up all the emails:
If you know you’ll be taking a trip, go to all of these apps and turn on price alerts! Most will send you on every day to let you know the trends and when to buy. Also set up emails for any major airlines you regularly fly because you never know when they’ll be running a special! I’ve flown on a $33 round trip from Florida to Nebraska that I discovered from an email alert. It’s totally possible.
Thanks so much for following along, good luck & happy traveling!!
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