One of my all time favorite quotes is, “Fill your life with adventures, not things. Have stories to tell not stuff to show.” When it comes to travel and adventure, I’m willing to pay any price. Luckily, though, I’ve found a few ways that help me not break the bank!
I am a huge fan of Google Flights. I find the site easy to navigate, well thought out, and perfect for scouring flight options.
- Calendar view with cheapest dates: I use this feature the most when booking weekend getaways. At a glance, I can gauge my weekend plans based on the prices slated for each day on the calendar view. If it is cheaper to fly out on Thursday, I’ll book a Thursday-Sunday trip. Perhaps Saturday is the cheapest. I’ll compare prices for a Saturday – Tuesday trip!
- Compare prices across multiple airlines: Later in this post, I recommend signing up for miles programs. And while there are so many benefits to being loyal to one or two airlines, sometimes you have to compare prices and choose the less expensive ticket! Yes, even if that means flying Spirit Airlines once in a while!
- Flight Insights: This section of the site is a gem. It will let you know if there are cheaper dates available (if you didn’t look at the calendar view beforehand). You can view a trend in prices for your location and trip duration. Finally, my personal favorite, comparing prices at airports near your destination. Check out alternative airports to see if you can save money by flying in and driving to your location.
- Tracked Flights: I’m a planner. I will look at my calendar year and have Gus and I’s whole year planned within the day (it’s a blessing and a curse!). What’s awesome is that I can track those weekends or weeks I want to travel through Google Flights. When the prices either rise or drop, Google Flights will send me an email letting me know.
Some people read the news first thing in the morning. I browse through Skyscanner while I drink my morning coffee. Hey, to each his own, right? If you were to read a daily text message exchange between Gus and I, it’d look something like this: Me: “Want to go to Peru next month?” Gus: “Sure!” Me: “Scratch that, Canada is cheaper. Thoughts?” Gus: “Whatever you want!” I love that man for always being game for anything. He can also blame Skyscanner for my obsessive travel searches. 😉
- From here to everywhere filter: More and more the destination isn’t as important to us as the journey. That’s why I love that Skyscanner has the everywhere filter. I simply put in my origin and choose “Everywhere.” I then select the month I’d like to travel, and Skyscanner lays out the cheapest flights and destinations for that month. I’ll be going to Quebec, Canada next month with a girlfriend after a successful random Skyscanner search! A destination I really hadn’t thought about until the moment it showed up on the list! How fun!?
- Recommended Destinations: Curious to know what popular destinations are being booked? Last minute cancellation in plans and the travel bug hit? This section of the app breaks down so many great options for you to review and make a decision! They will always give you the cheapest options first!
- Country breakdowns: Skyscanner does a great job breaking out the destinations by countries, too. I can easily browse different cities within a country on Skyscanner. It makes it easy to start planning a trip if you know where you’ll be flying in and out of. For my latest Europe trip, I flew to Munich and trained to Salzburg (my ultimate destination) because it was cheaper! It’s all about being flexible.
- Sign up for airline miles programs: If you haven’t already, pick two or three airlines mile programs to sign up for. If you’re near an airport that is the “hub” for an airline, definitely try to sign up for their rewards program as you’ll see the most flights in and out daily from this airline. (Example: Delta Airlines hub is Atlanta, GA). Yes, it takes time, but eventually all those airline points will add up, and the benefit will outweigh the cost. Besides it cost nothing, and you earn points each time you book a flight. What’s to lose?
- Sign up for travel credit cards to earn points/miles: This is definitely something you have to be smart about. I am not suggesting to open a million different credit cards to earn points. However, I do recommend finding a credit card that works for your budget and that could potentially also benefit travel. Gus and I both have the Chase Sapphire Reserve card and Southwest Rapid Rewards card. The Chase Sapphire Reserve is undoubtedly one of the best travel cards you can find and you get 3x points for travel and dining! We also always use Southwest to fly home to see our family, so that is why we have the rapid rewards card. Definitely do your research on this. If you have questions, I found the Points Guy to be super helpful in this arena.
There you have it! My “secrets” to finding cheap flights, and how I make seeing the world possible with a full-time job! What did you think? Do you have any additional tips? I want to hear! Send me your tips/tricks as I am always looking for the best way to travel on a budget! Until next time, friends!