Everyone wants to feel like they got a good deal on their flight, am I right???
Booking airfare can be that triumphant moment of victory when you score a great deal and you’re off on an impromptu adventure, or a major damper on your travel plans when pricing gets out of hand. o.O
Lucky for us, with the age of the interwebs and mobile apps galore, flights are getting cheaper and more accessible by the day… so what are you waiting for?!
Here are 15 of my favorite tools + tips to find the best airfare possible, so you can get up in the sky and out on the open road:
Just now gaining popularity in the U.S., budget search engine Skyscanner has been the Kayak of the rest of the world for a few years now.
Umm… how did we live before this “Everywhere” option?!
2- Google Flights
Flights on the low.
5 – StudentUniverse.com
One of the best student discount perks, ever — Student Universe requires a university login but sometimes has deals up to 80% off.
Maybe it is worth it to enroll in that online painting course… (maybe).
Skiplagged finds you the best fares, by considering options all the other guys are looking over.
Because flight prices are based on demand, sometimes booking past your intended destination (i.e. you hop off at the layover) gives you the best deal.
Daily blog posting the best fares around the world. This one’s pretty popular, so snag ’em while they’re hot.
Incognito theflightdeal.com. Shhh…
Don’t have time to look at all these things? Let the mobile app Hopper know what you’re looking for and it will do the searching for you, and ping you when it’s the best time to buy.
Shoefly, Kayak’s Confidence Rating. FLYR is a new kid on the block that not only provides specific predictive analytics and price history for each flight, it allows you to lock in the rate while you’re searching so you don’t lose it in the cookie queue.
Two times for startups and innovation.
This one’s not just for flights, but Rome2Rio will find you the cheapest way of all transit options (bus, plane, train, car, etc.) to get between two places and rank them in order.
There’s definitely some magic happening behind these servers!
12- Always Check Direct
Once you find the lowest flights from the sites above, always check direct. Domestically in the U.S., Southwest, Virgin, JetBlue and Frontier often have some of the lowest fares but don’t turn up in search engines.
On this same note, the best fares are available in the morning (although seats do often become released throughout the day), 4-6 (domestic) and 6-8 (international) weeks in advance seem to be the sweet spots for cheapest available fare timing and Tuesday and Wednesday mornings are usually the leas expensive days of the week to fly.
In general, keeping travels on in the off season will save you buckets, too.
13 – Clear Your Cache and Browse on Private
It’s become pretty public knowledge that the airlines are using your geographic data and searching history to manipulate prices to their advantage.
For example, if you’ve looked up a flight on their engine before and didn’t book, it may appear higher when you look again to evoke the urge to book immediately before the price goes up again.
Avoid the mind games by clearing your cache and setting your browser to Private.
14- Learn your Airline
Each airline has it’s own points system (this is a game worth playing) and it’s own ebb and flow. For example, Virgin America has their best prices about 6 weeks out, and they skyrocket once you’re in the 3 week window. The last seat on the plane drops back to sale fare.
Learn and book within your airline’s optimal windows to get the best prices and keep your loyalty points game strong. Check out this post for more on earning free flights through points with a Travel Rewards Credit Card.
Saving possibly the best for last — already booked without the help of our 14 new best friends? You’re still safe!
Pop your itinerary into Fairfly and these guys will keep an eye out for a lower price until the day you leave, canceling and re-booking if a better fare pops up, like magic.
Traditional search engines who? Bye, Felicia. ✌️