It’s Travel Tip Tuesday! I get lots of questions from friends about how to find great deals on flights. The truth is, it’s a very volatile market! Prices change rapidly and unexpectedly, and there are so many things to consider: convenience, layover time, airline loyalty, getting or giving up the opportunity to choose your seat, luggage fees (even carry-on fees these days!)–the list goes on! Here are four apps and websites I regularly use to know all my options and make the best choices for my travels.
First up, we have to decide where to go! I really love Skyscanner’s “Everywhere” option. You put in your starting point (for me that IAD, or Washington-Dulles International Airport) and then type “Everywhere” in your “To” field. You will see the cheapest flights to destinations all over the world! If you’re not sure where to go, or if you’re just curious where you could go, this is a great place to start.
Rome 2 Rio
Second, I check out the Rome 2 Rio app. This will tell you the best ways to get from Point A to Point B, whether that’s two flights, a flight plus a train ride, or a flight plus a train ride plus a ferry. Or maybe it’s a nonstop flight plus a bus ride.
You don’t have to use airport codes either. You can put in your home address and the address of your hotel or accommodation, and the app will tell you the best ways to get there. Sometimes knowing how to get from your designation airport to the hotel or nearby city is the hardest part! This app also links you to websites for train schedules, bus tickets, airline websites, and more. Try it out before you purchase your next plane tickets!
I love Hipmunk! This is the app I use to find the best deals. The thing I always tell people to remember about third party websites or apps is not to buy from the third party. If something happens (weather, medical emergencies, airline cancellations, etc.), you will get the run-around from the airline and the third party. So whether you use Kayak, Orbitz, Skyscanner, or Hipmunk, find your deal, then buy that same fare directly from the airline. Third parties only find the fares–they don’t make them up; if you can find it on a third-party site, you can find it on the airline’s website.
So why use Hipmunk? Well, their mascot is the cutest ever. But also, they rank the fares and flights they find by “Agony.” So, long layovers and multiple flights are weighted against total price and total time. Does the low price justify four layovers ranging from 45 minutes to 26 hours? Hipmunk brings details like that to your full attention!
Hopper is a handy app to check before you commit to buying a plane ticket. Hopper specializes in predictions. They have figured out how to analyze fares and give an educated guess as to whether the fares you see are good deals or not, as well as whether the fare will drop or increase before your trip. That means you can choose to 1) buy immediately before the price increases or 2) wait for the price to drop. You can also sign up for e-mails or alerts on your phone when the price does drop!
So there you have it: my four secret weapons for finding flight deals. I’ve tried writing similar posts before, but I always got overwhelmed with the details and considerations. I hope this post gives you a great starting point and helps you use the right tools to find YOUR best travel options! Do you have a travel deal secret to share? Tell me below!