If you’re like me, you’re always on the lookout for a good flight deal. But as with anything these days, there are a gazillion websites offering to save you money and give you more vacation bang for your buck. What are some of the best ones to bookmark or sign up for, though? It’s subjective, of course, but here are some of my faves:
Powered by the biggest search engine and data housing company in the world, Google Flights is great because it has access to tons of information. What’s nice is it doesn’t only find you very affordable options, it also allows you to search by date range and vacation interest. You can type in the time-frame in which you want to travel and the departure airport, and then it gives you suggestions for various locations. And it is FAST!
Google ITA Matrix
This search tool uses the same software as Google Flights, and its best asset is that it gives you the cheapest fare. However, flights may not have the most convenient connection times, and sometimes the fares quoted don’t include meals or you can run into issues like hidden baggage fees. So read the airlines’ fine print carefully. Perhaps the best thing about it, though, is the ability to search for transfer flights and open-jaw tickets (i.e. connections through multiple cities). The only other bummer is you can’t book a ticket through ITA Matrix directly. Find what works for you, then note the suggestions and use that information to book directly with the airline or an online travel agency (OTA) like Expedia or Priceline.
If you relish true spontaneity, this is the search tool for you. Airfarewatchdog‘s specialty is monitoring airlines for flash sales and discounts, and it has racked up quite a reputation for finding glitch fares (i.e. significantly reduced fares due to a computer error). To make things easy, the site allows you to register for email notifications based on your target location and desired travel dates, then it sends you a message when the price drops. The caveat here is that many of these deals are last minute, so if you must have your vacation time cleared way in advance of your trip, this one may not work for you.
Skyscanner, like Kayak and Priceline, is a fare comparison site underpinned by the meta-search function. Perhaps because it is a British company and has agreements with more overseas partners, it tends to have better options on international fares. The other two mentioned are great for domestic fares (US).
Bags packed? Let’s go!