The Definitive Guide to Find Cheap Flights online, in less than 10 minutes!!
How easy is it to find cheap flights nowadays?
With a quick search on Google, you can find hundreds of sites, blogs, and services claiming they can help you find the best and cheapest prices for flights, hotels, attractions, etc.
Well, I found out that most of these sites offer little to no real help or value. They claim that they’ll reveal something like the “Best ten tricks to find cheap tickets,” and then they offer the same rehashed information that you can find everywhere.
Generic information that’s saying: “You should book your ticket mid-week, the prices are lower than on the weekends.”
Well, while sometimes it is true, it’s not a rule!
What actually happens
I have found incredibly cheap tickets on weekends. Also, it is not helpful at all for someone who wants to find the best deal. This info does not guide you somehow! That is just some generic information.
A few years back I used to have a problem booking my flights and hotels. It took me days to find good deals, and in the end, I wasn’t sure if I had found the best ones. I had to try every booking platform I stumbled upon to find which ones are helpful.
After a lot of trial and error, I managed to find planes and hotels for 50% and 60% off from their initial prices. Initially, I used to search on sites like Kayak or Momondo, but now I only use the sites that I mention below.
The “Flying Guru Method.”
Who will benefit from this guide?
- First of all, this article is a guide dedicated to those that have little to no experience on how to search the internet for the best flight deals.
- If you are looking for advanced techniques like using miles to get better prices or if you are a frequent flyer, you should refer to Flyertalk.
- Furthermore, it contains a powerful method I use called “The Flying Guru Method” and outlines all the steps and scenarios. It’s the method I use to find cheap flights for me, my friends and acquaintances.
- Some people use services like Flightfox and pay 50$ just to find cheaper tickets. By trying my method, you can find almost the same prices for free. And for those who don’t have the time to read the whole guide comment below this article and I will help you for free, asap.
What tools do we use to find cheap flights?
There are two flight search engines used in this guide.
The first is Skyscanner and the second is Kiwi, but more will be added in the future!
If you know how to handle these two sites, then that’s all that you need to plan your perfect trip with the least expenses on flights.
You should always use both of the search engines mentioned here to get the best price.
Before I begin with my step by step guide I suggest that you should use Kiwi.com only as a reference guide. I have never booked with them because I’ve read many negative reviews online about their services and their insurance. But their search engine? Magnificent!
Pros and Cons Of The Tools
Which one is the best?
I use both of these search engines. They both have their strengths and weaknesses.
- Kiwi has many variables to choose from. But can only search for flights in the next 6-7 months. Kiwi is a 3rd party agency which adds a hidden charge, and all the prices that you see are higher than they should normally be. That’s why I use Kiwi as reference only.
- Skyscanner, on the other hand, has many amazing and useful features but fewer variables to choose from when searching for flights but it’s one of the most reliable services around. It doesn’t add an extra charge when you book. Instead, when you click to book a flight, it redirects you to each agent’s or airline’s site. The second is the safest bet when booking flights. Directly from the airliner.
Depending on my situation, I first make a price research on Kiwi.com and then on Skyscanner.com.
Kiwi might unveil some extra hidden flight or route or dates that I hadn’t thought of.
Kiwi claims that if you book with them, they provide you with their own insurance. I don’t know if this claim is true or if this insurance really works because I have never used them. But I have read some nightmarish reviews online, and I’d suggest you stay away from it for now.
Their insurance is supposed to cover you for flight delays, flight cancellations, and schedule changes. If any of these happens, they find for you an alternative flight or refund the price that you have paid.
Generally, it’s in your best interest to book your next flight with a long layover stop in the airport. Just to be safe if any delay happens.
In short, I recommend that if Skyscanner can’t find layovers, you can search for flight routes on Kiwi and then return to Skyscanner to book the flights.
Kiwi as a search engine has the advantage that it makes connections for flights that don’t formally connect with any airlines. These are primarily budget airlines. For example, Ryanair doesn’t formally connect with other carriers or with other flights from Ryanair.
This is where Kiwi’s search engine shines!
Even if there isn’t any connection or transfer with the budget flight, it can find connection airports with flights departing for your desirable destination. This eliminates hours of searching and usually lowers the prices.
Which scenario better suits you?
There are 4 scenarios in this guide. One for every situation you might be in when booking.
For example, you might be able to travel on specific dates to a particular destination, or you might be able to fly whenever in November but haven’t decided where to go yet.
I will describe each scenario step by step, and you can choose which one best suits you.
Scenario one: Specific dates on specific destination.
In this scenario, you can actually use whichever search engine(Kayak,Google flights etc.) you like. But I use Kiwi for the reasons explained on the second example. Kiwi has some extra useful features that you might not find in other search engines.
I have a specific destination and dates on my mind. Let’s say that I wanted to travel from my hometown, Orlando, Florida to Los Angeles, California on 7th of July and return on 11th of July. I went on Kiwi.com and searched for these dates. And the lowest price it found is $240.07.
You’ll notice that Kiwi even returns results from budget airlines like Frontier in this example. Other search engines don’t return some budget airlines.
Fortunately, Skyscanner does for most of them. So after Kiwi, I went on to Skyscanner, and for the same dates and flight, I found this price $228. Wow $12 cheaper, right? $12 cheaper for no apparent reason at all. That’s why I don’t usually book with Kiwi. I don’t have a clue what these $12 are for.
Skyscanner usually prompts you to book straight from the airline by providing a link targeted to the desired flight, but sometimes a 3rd party agency might have a better price than the airline or a discount. I have booked through a 3rd party agent, and everything went smoothly, but I suggest you check online for the agency’s credibility before booking.
Ryanair is a budget airline that doesn’t make connections. Neither with other airlines nor with its own planes. Transfers cost for airlines, so budget carriers usually don’t support them.
On another “specific dates and place” occasion I wanted to travel from Athens to Amsterdam. Let’s say from 13th of October to 24th of October. I first checked on Kiwi and the cheapest tickets I found were going for $111,58. On the first leg of the trip, we travel with Ryanair.
- You’ll notice that Ryanair lands in Sofia, Bulgaria. There is a layover for 12 and a half hours until the next flight with Transavia. You should also know that there isn’t actually a connection between Ryanair and Transavia. But Kiwi discovered the combination of budget flights that you can take to reach your destination. That is why it’s a great tool for searching. I haven’t found anything similar yet.
- In this layover, you will have to collect your baggage, if you have any, and re-check them before your next flight. Of course in this example the layover is huge, and you’ll have to consider that there are layovers like this that may not be worth it. You will have to take into account how much money you might have to spend at the layover airport or a hotel you might have to book.
In this example, on Kiwi, I found this trip for $111.58. I then searched at Skyscanner for the same dates. The cheapest flight that I got in return is a $154 roundtrip with Transavia only. That is the main disadvantage with Skyscanner. That it cannot find this kind of connections. I hope in a future update they will add some of Kiwi’s features and they’ll become the best flight search engine around.
- Of course in this example, it’s better to book with Skyscanner’s results. The $40+ difference is not worth it for a 12-hour stay at any airport. Unless you can find a very cheap hotel, or if you don’t mind these long layovers.
Scenario 2: Specific dates unknown destination.
In this scenario, you know when you can travel but haven’t decided yet about the destination.
In this situation, both sites are equally helpful because they both offer recommendations about cities and countries with the cheapest airfares. So check both of them.
Searching on Kiwi
- I first checked Kiwi.com because I find their search interface more convenient than Skyscanner’s.
Let’s assume that I live in Paris. So I wrote Paris in the “From” box. Then I clicked on the “To” box and selected “Anywhere.” I selected the Departure and Return dates. For example, let’s say from 20th of September to 27th of September.
Kiwi then showed me many destinations starting from the most popular ones. But you can also check the map on your right for destinations. In this example, Venice caught my eye. That’s an excellent destination! I’ve never been to Venice! And these tickets are very cheap!! Only $51 roundtrip?? Wow!!
When I clicked on Venice though the price was actually $48.
This is an excellent way to find the cheapest and most popular destinations from your city’s airport or get a great inspiration as to where to travel.
Of course, then I went on Ryanair’s site and booked the tickets. The price on Ryanair was $38. $10 cheaper than on Kiwi!
Ryanair announced that they will start making connections between their flights! They will start with a few transfers, and then they’ll see how it goes. By the time you’ll be reading this, they should have already begun making connections.
Searching on Skyscanner
- After searching Kiwi, I also decided to check Skyscanner. I entered “From” Paris and then clicked on the “To” box and the “Flexible” button popped up! I clicked it for the same dates and it had the tickets at $38.
Skyscanner presents the results by Country and if you click on the Country you can find its Cities, starting from the cheapest one. For example, the cheapest city to travel for the specific dates is Milan and Venice in Italy for a $38 roundtrip.
Although I find Kiwi’s interface easier, I find Skyscanner more trustworthy regarding the prices, because on Skyscanner there are no hidden charges.
If you see any price change, then there IS a price change since the last time you checked. Prices are immediately updated after they are modified.
Scenario 3: You have a particular destination in your mind but not the exact dates you want to travel.
Case 1: When you can travel for a specific number of days, anytime throughout the year.
- Let’s say I wanted to visit Tokyo from San Francisco. Hypothetically I can take 15 days off from my work, anytime! So I want to find the cheapest tickets to Tokyo, and I know I can stay there for 14 nights.
- I entered San Francisco and Tokyo on the first boxes and on the date boxes I entered “Anytime” in the “Departure” box, and I clicked on the “Arrival” box and selected “Time of Stay” “13 to 14 nights.” So it found that from 30th of October to 14th of November the ticket price with a return is just $483. It has a long layover in Shangai which is pretty cool for me if I want to visit the city.
Isn’t this a handy tool? Unfortunately, as you’ll see later, Skyscanner doesn’t have that much of flexibility and ease of use regarding dates.
Case 2: When you can travel for a specific number of days within a time frame. For example, in summer.
- Now I know I can take a two weeks vacation as before, but I can only take them sometime between 20th of September to 30th of October. So again I chose 13 to 14 days in “Time of Stay,” and then on the departure box, I selected “Date-Range” and put 20/09 to 30/10.
- It returned these results
Again, great feature!
- Now on Skyscanner, the only useful feature was to search for the cheapest month to fly to Tokyo. After you fill the FROM and TO boxes, you click on the Depart and Return boxes and select “whole month” and then “cheapest month” in both of them.
- Then you will have to manually search on the calendar for the cheapest days.
It’s definitely a useful feature, but it’s more useful if you don’t care about when you are going to travel or how long you’ll stay at your destination.
I wish Skyscanner had more features on their search engine, that’s why I contacted them regarding Kiwi’s more useful search engine. I hope they’ll implement them someday and if they do, they’ll be the best site to book from.
Scenario 4: You don’t have any destination or dates on your mind. You are a free spirit and can travel whenever you like! But you still want to find the best prices around!
In this case, there are many solutions. As a general rule, the more flexible you are, the better prices you’ll find.
- I first tried searching on Kiwi.com. I put my home city. On the other boxes, I just clicked on “Anywhere” and “Anytime”. Voila! Hundreds of destinations starting from the most popular one!
- On Skyscanner, as we saw in the previous scenario, there is only the “cheapest month” method.
If you don’t have a destination in mind, you just put your hometown or nearest airport, put “Anywhere” in the Destination box and “Cheapest month” on the dates. It will display the lowest prices by country, but if you click on one Destination, it will redirect you to the calendar screen on which you will still have to search for the cheapest dates. Unfortunately, they have no filters like Kiwis’ to help you on your search. So it might take you hours to find the perfect flight.
For extra functionality, Kiwi also has these filters when searching. You can play with them to find even better results. You can select how many stops you want your trip to have.
The total duration of the trip and the entire length of the layovers.
The time and day that you want to depart.
And even the options below!
Flight Deals sites
- The last method I discovered is to find some deals and error fares on dedicated sites. I’ll explain error fares on another post.
But the problem is that there are so many great sites finding the best deals, and you’ll have to do a lot of research to find the best flight deal. Fortunately, I discovered in a forum a guy that created a brilliant script and a website that collects the best deals around the world from many sites, all located conveniently in one location for our ease.
- This website is Hack The Flight.
- As soon as you click on the Dashboard button, all you have to do is to check on your left for your country, and on your right, you’ll find all of the available deals starting from the most recent ones.
After you click on one of the deals, you then click on the red button with the plane, and it will redirect you to the corresponding site. From there on the site has its own instructions.