Our 4 Tips + Tricks for Scoring the BEST Flight Deals
Ever spent an evening in total FOMO, scrolling through Instagram, wondering how on Earth some of your friends are able to take such fun trips while you’re stuck at home? A few too many of those evenings inspired us, several years ago, to not only find a way to build travel into our budget, but to figure out tips and tricks to make our travel funds go further.
Our favorite tool to search for travel deals is hands down…Google Flights! While we use a number of other tools in conjunction, we have, time after time, found that Google flights generally gets us the best deals and is the easiest to navigate. Below are a few of our favorite ways to use it!
when you don’t know where to go
Sometimes we just know that we want to travel, but we don’t really care where. We’ll take whatever the cheapest flight is as long as we’ve never been there. When this is the case, we head over to Google Flights, input our travel dates, input our departing airport, and then for the “where to?” box, we simply enter a region. This is one of our favorite ways to find the best deals. We can enter that we are willing to go anywhere in Europe (twist our arm, why don’t you!?) & Google Flights will generate all of the best locations with our date range. Kelda used this tactic when she was searching for her 2018 Spring Break trip. She entered “Europe” and “Asia” as potential destinations and, knowing that she didn’t want to spend more than $400 total, was left to decide between Shanghai, Beijing or Brussels. There’s really no way to lose with those options!
when you don’t care when you go
Another awesome feature of Google flights is that you can search for any length of time at any point in the upcoming year. For example, if you know you want to go to Budapest, but weren’t restricted on your travel dates, you could enter your departure & arrival airport, but then simply check off “weekend”, “one week”, or “two weeks” anytime in the next 6 months. This is how Kelda found her $200 flights to Kauai. She entered that she wanted to go to Hawaii for a weekend anytime in the next 6 months and she found an awesome deal for the very next weekend!
when you have a specific travel period
While it would be wonderful to live in a world where you can travel at any time, most of us have set timeframes when we can travel, give or take a few days. Kelda, for example, is a school teacher and can only travel during school breaks - Spring Break, Christmas, etc. Lauren, on the other hand, works for Nordstrom and is restricted from traveling during key time frames, such as Black Friday through Christmas and July for the Anniversary Sale. Google Flights makes it really easy for both of us to see when the cheapest dates to travel are within the dates that we are “allowed” to travel. Once you enter in your departure & arrival airport, you can pull up the calendar & it’ll pull up the lowest price for your flight on each day. Anything in green indicates a low price, or especially good deal. This saves us SO much time from entering multiple travel date combinations like you might have to on other travel websites, such as Expedia or Orbitz.
when you have a non-negotiable trip
Oftentimes, a specific event, is the primary reason for us, and many others, to travel. In these cases, you often can’t be flexible on dates OR location. Examples might be attending a friend’s wedding in another state, flying to another city for a job interview or heading home for the holidays. For these trips, we like to set alerts on Google Flights for our trip. Google will watch deals on our flight for us and send us a notification when the price drops. We like to use this feature in conjunction with Hopper, another travel app. Hopper will let us know the date by which we are unlikely to find a better deal, so that we don’t keep waiting! Lauren used both programs together when booking a flight for her friend’s wedding in Thailand. Hopper told her that after September 15th, prices would start to climb steadily. Then, when Google Flights alerted her in early September, she knew she would be unlikely to find a better deal and booked her ticket!
*NOTE: Most budget airlines do not pay to be included in Google’s algorithm for flights. For example, in the US, Southwest Airlines does not populate. However, we have still found incredible deals and, unless you’re flying out of a major hub for Southwest, you shouldn’t need to worry!
Comment below if you have any questions about how to use Google Flights or if you’ve scored any great deals of your own with it!! Happy Traveling!!