When you want to travel but need to do it on a budget, airfare is going to be your biggest obstacle. CNN reports that prices are about to go up, too, thanks to rising fuel and labor costs. Airlines will be passing those rising costs onto their customers, so you'll see a rise in ticket prices soon.
But that doesn't mean cheap flights are impossible to find. There are still deals out there, you just need to know where, how, and when to find them. Here are a few ridiculously easy ways to find those cheap flights and book your next trip sooner.
Let Google Search for You
If the price is your primary concern when booking a flight, then Google Flights is exactly what you need. You can search by specific destinations or dates. Then Google will search just about every airline out there going to your destination and report back the best price options. You can narrow it down by airline, number of stops, and even time of day, too, giving you plenty of filters to find the right flight. It's one of the most powerful flight-finding tools out there. Strangely enough, though, Google hasn't made their Flight search tool an app yet, so you'll need to visit the website to take advantage.
Google Flights really shines when you have flexibility in your destination and time frame. Use the "Explore Destinations" feature to broaden your search. Under the Explore option, you can tell Google how long you want to go on vacation and within what time frame. For example, you can include if you want to take a week-long vacation in the next six months or a weekend trip next month. Then it will search and find you flight deals for different destinations. You can browse the map, zooming in on areas that interest you to find the best deal. It's a great way to find low fares when you don't have your heart set on a specific place.
Use Price Tracking Apps
Airlines are constantly changing their prices. Prices can rise and fall from one day to the next, based on the airlines own algorithms about when people are most likely to buy. Most of us don't have time to constantly check for a drop in the price. That's when you can put your phone to work by downloading an app like Hopper. Hopper will track your desired flight for you. Not only does it track the current price, but it also looks at how the fare has fluctuated in the past. When Hopper's algorithms detect that the flight price is at it's lowest (and unlikely to go any lower), it will send you an alert that it's time to buy.
Apps like these are handy for tracking specific flights. You'll be able to make your purchase with some confidence that you've snagged the best price. The sooner you can start tracking those prices, the better deal you are likely to get, too. Download the app, set it to track flights on your desired dates to your favorite destinations, and let it do the rest.
Sign up for Travel Deal Newsletters
The internet is a powerful tool for finding cheap flight deals. Unfortunately, there is so much information that it's virtually impossible to get through it all to find the best travel deals. But there are services that will do it for you. Seeqr sends the best travel deals right to your inbox.
These newsletters aren't just for flights, either. They can tip you off to great vacation packages, such as trips to Italy for less than $1500. Some may even offer deals on things to do at your next destination, such as cheap Broadway tickets in New York City. If you are trying to travel more for less, then these newsletters are worth signing up for and reading the next time they hit your inbox.
Bonus Quick Tips
- Keep your flight search history a secret. Sites will track the cookies on your browser. If they detect that you've been searching for flights to certain destinations, they'll increase the prices on your next search. So always do your searching in incognito mode to protect your search history and find the best prices.
- Shop for flights in the middle of the week. Historically, flights are at their lowest prices on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. If you search on those days, you are likely to find less expensive fares than you would on the weekends.
- Aim to buy your flight as early as you can. Travel industry insiders say making your purchase about six or seven weeks in advance is best. Forbes breaks it down even further by season.
- Fly when other people don't want to travel. If money is your main concern, then look for flights at odd or inconvenient times. Overnight flights are often discounted. Also look at days people don't want to fly, such as Christmas. And if you aren't the superstitious type, you can usually find good deals on planes flying on Friday the 13th.
- Check the airline's own website. Some travel sites charge airlines a premium for their flight to display in the search results. The consumers end up covering those costs by paying more for their ticket. If you search on the airline's own website, you may find a cheaper ticket price than you'd get through a travel site.