As I mentioned in 20 Lessons I’ve Learned From Visiting 20 Countries, international flights are cheap. But you gotta know where to look.
Here’s where I look.
If you ARE flexible
If you’re just looking to go somewhere, at some time, the best option is to let the experts find the fares for you. Below are three cheap airfare blogs which scour the web for good deals, cheap fares, and error fares. These can vary in origin and destination, although most of them originate or end in the USA.
The downside to these blogs is that many of their fares don’t last long. You have to be prepared to pull the trigger fairly quickly if a deal comes up.
FareDealAlert is actually a spinoff of the Fare Deal, but focuses on less major airports, like Charlotte, Denver, Houston, and others. (As opposed to the major coastal airports which are favored on TheFlightDeal).
If You AREN’T Flexible
I get it. Not everyone can live the life of a digital nomad, zipping around the globe on a whim, whenever cheap tickets become available. Most of us work full-time jobs, have family, friends, and other commitments. We need to plan our vacations well in advance, and usually both the destinations and the dates are limited.
If that’s the case, I recommend these three resources for finding cheap tickets:
Formerly called Skypicker, this is my new favorite travel website. I discovered it during my Balkans trip, which involved some fairly complex planning. Kiwi is a robust search engine which aggregates both regular and low-cost carriers. It has extremely robust flexibility, allowing you to search for a single date, a range of dates, or see a calendar of lowest fares. It also has really cool “search radius” feature, where you can pick say a 200-mile radius, and find the cheapest airport to depart from.
I like this site enough that I’ll probably do a later post promoting only them, as I think their tools are that good. Strongly recommend.
Skyscanner is another popular aggregator for finding cheap airfares. I have found that Kiwi beats them more often than not, but it’s always worth checking both. Skyscanner loses major points for really, really ruining their mobile app with their latest update. It used to be a lot better.
Google brings their always-elegant touch to the complicated world of airfares, and again, they did it right. This is a really good tool to use if you know what route you want to fly and when—you can set an alert to notify you when Google’s algorithms think tickets are cheapest.
I personally don’t use this option that much, but lots of other people swear by it for finding cheap flights.
If you can’t find a cheap airfare to somewhere you want to go, using those six websites, you’re doing something wrong.
(Or, you’re going to a really exotic destination, in which case you probably already know some more advanced tricks. And if that’s the case, please feel free to enlighten us in the comments.)