Updated: Jul 21, 2020
You know you have a vacation coming up over the next year and you want to spend your days exploring a new destination. However, when it comes to planning for a new place to visit there is a significant amount of research and budgeting that comes along with that. We have put together a step by step of how we find our cheap flights and we hope it can save you a few pretty pennies when you are ready for your next vacay.
Disclaimer: None of this post is an ad for Skyscanner. We have put together our honest opinions and experiences for finding cheap air fair in order to help you travel with ease.
Flexibility is Key
Firstly, whenever you are looking for cheap tickets flexibility is a HUGE plus. When you go to book a vacation it is better to have open dates or even open destinations. For example: You know you have vacation days coming up but haven't had to select specific days yet...flexibility. You know you want to go to a tropical island, but you don't exactly know which one and are open for trying somewhere new...flexibility. The less constrained you are in the planning the more opportunities you will have in finding cheap flights.
Whenever you are using your internet browser and you are surfing the web you are either doing it on a regular tab or a private tab (incognito). When using the internet on a public tab you are essentially allowing each and every website to store cookies (or data/information) that track the details of your browsing. Every travel ticketing website (I.e. Skyscanner, Expedia, Kayak etc.) adjusts their pricing of each individual flight based on demand. So if you are searching on a public tab they can track that you are specifically searching for a direct flight on a Tuesday afternoon to Florida. Can you guess what they do next? Bump up the price of that flight assuming you won't have another option, in hopes you will pay for it.
Example: A few years ago I was sitting in a cafe in Thailand and all of my friends and I were booking flights to a new country. All of my friends were using an incognito tab which blocked their data being shared and they were able to buy $36 flights to Vietnam. However, not knowing it, I was searching on a public tab which after refreshing the search multiple times bumped the price of my flight to $347. For the exact SAME flight. Moral of the story: before you begin searching for tickets pull up a private/incognito tab or window/phone.
What to Use:
Of course there are hundreds of search engines out there that will find you flights, however we have found that Skyscanner gives us the most flexibility when choosing destinations. Skyscanner gives flexibility not only in choosing a destination, but also gives you calendar features that will show you airfare compared daily throughout a given month (we will touch up more on this later). This allows you to pick the date that gives you the cheapest option throughout a given month. Another reason we like Skyscanner is because there are no hidden fees. The price you see is the price you will pay.
Step by Step Guide to Finding Cheap Flights
Step 1: For the best results use your desktop or the web browser on your phone (the app doesn't provide us with the same flexibility options). Search Icognito.
Step 2: Where you see From you can put in your preferred airport. For the sake of this guide we will use our home city New York. In New York there are three airports so select New York (Any) this will automatically make your selection 3 times more flexible as you'll be viewing all the airports in your area.
Step 3: Where you see To you can put "Everywhere" or "Flexible". This will put in to order every country from cheapest to most expensive based on your Depart and Return dates.
Step 4: For this example we will pretend you know you have vacation days in the month of July, but you can choose whatever days you want off (flexibility). So in the Depart and Return boxes click and change the selection from "Specific Date" to "Whole Month". This will show you the entire calendar of July on a later screen.
(Tip: If you are even more flexible on dates you can select "Cheapest Month" Which will select up to the next 13 months and put in to order countries from cheapest to most expensive based on the cheapest month to go.)
Step 5: Select how many Tickets you are searching for (Economy will be guaranteed to be your least expensive.)
Step 6: "Search Flights"
Step 7: Once you have made your flexible selections on the previous page it will put in to order every country from cheapest to most expensive. Furthermore if you click on a country it will break down what city is the cheapest to fly to within each country.
Step 8: Find the destination of your choosing. For this example we will say your dream vacation is soaking up the sun on the beautiful beaches of Puerto Rico.
Step 9: Choose the city you want to fly in to. We will select the cheapest here which are round trip tickets to San Juan "from $136".
Step 10: This is arguably the most important step. You have picked the country you want to go and the city you want to fly in to. Now you have to select the dates you want to go. If you have searched for Roundtrip flights your next page should look like this. (only one graph will show if it is a one way flight).
The circles of color represent different prices based on the calendar. Red being claimed as "expensive" yellow meaning "moderate" and green meaning "fair price or a good deal." If you look on the left you will see your departure flight options. If you were to leave for San Juan on the 2nd of July one way will cost you $121. However, if you were to wait until the 14th to fly to San Juan it is only $70 which is already saving you fifty one dollars.
Step 11: For this example we will select the 14th of July to depart. When you select your departure date your return date prices could change as well. Which definitely worked in our favor in this scenario. By saving money flying on the 14th and planning to return a week later it dropped your return flight from $210 to $92 which has saved you an additional hundred and eighteen dollars.
Step 12: Select "Get Prices"
Step 13: The next screen will put in order flights for this country, city, and dates you have selected from cheapest to most expensive. So the flight you selected on the previous page for $163 roundtrip should be at the top. As you can see this flight has two direct flights to/from San Juan for $163 with the Airline listed to the left. (Yes 5:45 am is early, but if you are trying to find cheap you have to be flexible. Compromises.)
Step 14: Click "Select" and it will direct you to the next location to buy that flight right away.
Disclaimer: None of this post is an ad for Skyscanner. We have put together our honest opinions and experiences for finding cheap air fair in order to help you travel with ease. We have used Skyscanner to book literally hundreds of flights even as low as $9 one way. It is possible to find cheap flights you just need to know how to keep your mind and dates flexible. The more flexible you are with your trip (location, time, if you have to stop for a layover, or wake up early) the more likely you will find really good deals!
Have any questions about this post or about our past experiences? Email Us!