While some people may say that there are too many airfare search platforms today, I could not disagree more. What is important to grasp, however, is that each one of these portals has a little something different to offer. While there is some benefit to simply doing the same itinerary search on multiple airfare search engines, the results are magnified when you take advantage of the unique tools available at each site.
My article 5 Hacks For Finding The Lowest Airfare Every Time is still one of the most popular articles on this blog. Today I am going to share with you some new airfare search engines to consider that should be added to your quest for super low airfares. These sites are all excellent supplements to my prior article.
A Recent Success Story
For me there is almost no greater thrill than bagging an airfare bargain. I just returned from Chicago, and on this trip I paid $100 round trip for my ticket. Did I mention that my wife and I went to Italy for a week in March? We paid just $1,600 for round trip air, car, and hotel for the week!
Well, my latest challenge was a trip to a music conference my wife is speaking at in Las Vegas in mid September. After trying for two weeks to find a great airfare to Las Vegas, I gave up. That's when my wife reminded me that Las Vegas is just a three hour drive from Los Angeles, and she has relatives that we could visit in southern California.
Using Google flights I was able to piece together quite a deal. I bought one way tickets to Los Angeles for $80 (from Orlando) and then picked up one way returning flights for $120 on a completely different airline. I have never actually bought two one way tickets like this to manufacture my own round trip (this is one feature unique to Google Flights). I used travel rewards points from my Chase account to pay for the rental car and hotel (more on free travel with rewards points Click Here). My out of pocket costs, including airfare, hotel, and rental car came to just $400 for the week! (of course, there will also be money spent on food, gas, and entertainment). In this article I want to share with you 7 great airfare search engines that I now include in my quest to find cheap plane tickets.
7 Great Sites For Finding Airfare Bargains
Here is a more comprehensive article on Google Flights from Kim Komando. There is a lot to like about this platform, but probably my favorite feature is the ease at which you can see price differences available by moving your dates by a few days. I also love the fact that the searches will also bring back one way ticket options (as mentioned above). Lastly, there is a fantastic visual tool that allows you to see all of your options on a map. This makes 'discovering' alternative airports super easy. For example, you might find that flying into Milwaukee instead of Chicago will save you a load of money (and it is only 90 miles away).
The name gives you a hint what their niche is - Clever Layovers. Airlines absolutely hate this strategy, but it is totally legal and can save you big money (especially on international flights). This site takes airfare deal hunting to an art by piecing together one way tickets and sometimes long layovers to generate the lowest overall cost. There are some drawbacks here. First, you can only take a carry-on bag (as you may be disembarking at the mid point of a flight with a layover). Secondly, because these deals are pieced together with non-partner airlines, you stand the risk of one flight being late and then missing the next leg of your journey. Lastly, you have to check in on each leg of your trip. This all might sound like a hassle, but the site is very user friendly and builds in enough time to allow for contingencies such as late arrivals.
Most people are not aware that the big travel sites don't typically include budget airlines in their search results. Skyscanner is a great site to use to be sure you have all of the options in front of you, including budget airlines. The site also offers search tools for hotels and rental cars as well.
Another strategy hated by the airlines - so called hidden cities. Let's say that you want to fly to Chicago. The cheapest way to get there might be to buy a ticket to New York that has a stop in Chicago. Rather than boarding the New York leg of your flight in Chicago, you simply walk out of the airport. Due to how this strategy works, you will have to get by with just a carry-on bag.
This platform is much like the software a professional travel agent would have access to. There are some very powerful features here, including the ability to search multiple departure and arrival airport fares simultaneously. Additionally, the ability to see fares for plus or minus two days on both your departure and arrival dates. There is a lot here, and with the full suite of features comes a bit of a learning curve.
This is not a free site, but for $9.95 monthly you get a lot. The strength of the site seems to be its international airfare deals. The site uses proprietary software to search 24/7 for price drops, anomalies, and 'mistake' airfares. After you sign up, you can select what departure and arrival locations you want to track. The site will then notify you by a text alert to your mobile device. Just scanning the site I uncovered some fascinating bargains as well. I Just found a round trip flight from New York to Seoul South Korea for $399 (a trip I am seriously considering). I also found round trip flights from New York to Dublin, Ireland for under $300. Your first month is free, and you can earn two months free for every new person you refer to the site. (note: the link here is my own referral link as I am taking advantage of this program myself).
Just when you thought there were no new angles on how to search for trip options, Flykt brings us yet another twist. Just input your budget and interests and the site will spit out up to six destinations for you with hotel and airfare options. Rather than focusing just on the airfare, the site focuses on destinations and activities you have an interest in. This site seems to offer something akin to the experience of using a full service travel agent. I love this approach and will definitely use this platform when I have a particular theme in mind for a trip I am planning.
Use the comments section below and we can start a conversation. Share your favorite travel search engines and your greatest bargains.
Helping you make the most of God’s money!