Sunday, April 24, 2016
3 Websites for Cheap Airfare
The days of hiring a travel agent to do your vacation booking have long since passed, and with the power of the internets great deals on flights, hotels, and rental cars can be scored by just about anyone who knows how to use a web browser. I've been asked several times about where start looking when hoping to score a flight to a dream destination for pennies on the dollar.
One thing to keep in mind is that when I start searching for a cheap airfare, I let the prices determine where I'm going. Whichever destination fits within my given travel budget is where I'll be going. Of course, lodging, excursions, cost of day to day activities, etc. are all considerations when planning the budget. This is how I always score a "cheap" deal. If you already have a destination in mind, this article can still be helpful for finding the lowest price, but depending on what you consider a bargain, it may or may not be cheap.
EscapeATX.com - This is by far my favorite blog for scoring a deal on airfare. It is always the first place I check. EscapeATX focuses on low-cost airfare from Texas with flights out of Austin and San Antonio. My next trip was booked after I received an alert from this site. I ended up purchasing a roundtrip ticket to Fort Lauderdale, Florida for $175. The plan is to rent a car and make the short drive out to Key West to spend a few days island hopping. Fort Lauderdale was not even on my list of future travels, but Key West was, and the price was right. A perfect example of letting the price determine my destination. Make sure to click on Bookable Deals for the most up to date flights. For those in the Houston or Dallas area, check out theses sister sites: EscapeHouston.com and CheapDFW.com
Google.com/Flights - I absolutely love Google's search engine for flights. Google Flights, as it's official called runs on the ITA travel industry software which google acquired in 2011, and is easily the best way to get prices on a variety of destinations. The map view is spectacular and is my go to when I don't have a destination in mind (which is always). Simply enter the date(s) you want to travel and leave the destination blank, then use the world map to explore where you'd like to go by price. Click on any city to bring up the airfare price lists. Google so kindly provides a nifty little calendar so you can conveniently see which day in each month has the cheapest airfare. It really doesn't get any easier than that. Thanks Googs.
Skiplagged.com - This site has a bit of controversy surrounding it. In fact, American Airlines tried to sue the creators and lost the battle in court. The website focuses on finding "hidden" flights, which are flights to other cities with a layover in a desired destination. The idea is for the passenger to get off at the layover and not continue on to the next city. This is beneficial to the flyer sometimes because the cost of the ticket could be cheaper than flying directly to the desired destination. This method of finding low-cost flights only works with one-way journeys as the airline will cancel all remaining parts of the trip once the passenger disembarks. Checking a bag is also nearly impossible for obvious reasons. The only exception being when entering a country where luggage must be processed at the customs station.
Now, with that in mind, Skiplagged is a great website for finding cheap airfare, hidden flights or not. I'm all for websites that allow you to leave the destination blank and still search for flights. When you do this on Skiplagged, it brings up a very nice grid layout of cities with prices and beautiful little pictures. The pictures are conveniently sorted by lowest to highest price, and there's even an option to disable results for hidden flights (for all the haters).
Do Your Research - Make sure to always compare prices with the airline's official website, and don't leave out the regular brand name travel website such as Expedia, Orbitz, Kayak, etc.
Give Back - Often times we forget that it cost money to keep these blogs and websites up and running. Sure there's ads showing on the sites, but they generate very little money. We can further support these websites and our chances at scoring great deals on travel if we rememberer to give them credit where credit is due. By this I mean, book your flight using the website's provided links. This allows them to collect a "referral fee" from the booking website or airline. It's the least we can do, after all these websites are saving us money in the first place.
In closing, please keep in mind that these are the sites I personally use and are definitely not the only ones out there. I was not paid by any of the mentioned websites or blogs. These are my honest opinions. If you know of any other places to score deals on travel, I'd love to hear the suggestions. Please leave a comment as I'm always looking for new ways to find a bargain on my next adventure.
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And please check out Episode 2 of Finding Away as we take a road trip across Spain, Portugal, and Morocco.