How to find cheap flights: step by step

airplane window | flying over sunset

A couple of weeks ago I asked you on Instagram which was the hardest part of planning a trip, lots of you said it was hard to find flights and hotels. On this guide, I’ll show you step by step how I find cheap flights and some tips to travel with a budget.

Using these resources I was able to find flights to Colombia for under $300 and Europe under $400. It’s insane! Keep reading to find out:

Being more flexible pays off

Having flexible dates and/or destination is my number one trick to finding cheap flights. Depending on the destination and time of year, ticket prices can fluctuate a LOT. This is why I always start looking with an open mind and I try to have more than one destination in mind.

If you are set on a certain country (I get it!), it might take longer for you to find a cheap flight or you might have to go during low season. These tips can still help you.

First, ask yourself these questions:

-Which continent do I want to visit ? Any countries in particular?

-For how long? Weekend trip or 1-2 week long trip?

-When? For example, I select 1 month at a time to see the options.

How to look for affordable flights

I always use Google Flights whenever I am planning a trip. Google looks through most airlines and websites, so you’ll see the cheapest ticket prices there. I put my origin airport (sometimes I add additional airports that might be a short drive away) and type a destination like: United States, Europe, Caribbean or Anywhere.

If you have the dates already decided, put them there:

 how to use google flights | how to find cheap flights online
You can choose a state, a country or a continent for the destination section.

Just by searching this, you will get a bunch of destinations back with the price listed. You will see a list of cities, and also the map, which you can move around, zoom in and out to see more options:

 how to use google flights | how to find cheap flights online

How to find the cheapest flights of the month

If your dates are flexible, use the “Flexible Dates” option, I usually select a month and choose 1 week or weekend. It will find the cheapest time of the month, but usually, you can still play around with the dates and find other dates with similar prices. But this is a good start and it will help you narrow your list of destinations.

Click the departure date, and click ‘flexible dates’.

Then select the month (or multiple months) you would like to travel and the length of time:

A quick note about Google flights

The good thing about Google flights is that it is completely free to use and it takes you to the actual airline to book the flight, so you can feel good about that.

How to book multi-city trips

Sometimes it’s cheaper to fly somewhere and come back from a different airport. I recommend this for Europe especially. It’s often cheaper to fly to one city, take a train/bus/flight between countries there, and fly back from your last city. Use the multi-city option on Google Flights to get the full price. You need specific dates for the multi-city option to appear:

Use the Google flight tracker

If you find a flight that you are interested in, make sure to click on ‘track prices’ to save it to your Google account. You will also get notifications whenever the flights increase or decrease in price. You will even get an e-mail if Google predicts the price will go up soon, so you don’t miss out on good deals.

Results

I looked for a pair of tickets to London. I selected specific dates in August, look at what I found:

Mmm.. $900. Not good. Now let’s Google find a 2-week vacation in August (I put United Kingdom, so that I am able to select Flexible Dates):

And I oop.

Yep, two weeks in the same month for less than HALF the price.

A few things to keep in mind:

  • Baggage fees!!! I hate these, but make sure you know how many bags you will be taking before booking because it’s probably cheaper to pay up front than later during check-in.
  • Consider only taking a carry-on. I’ve done so many times and it works well! I only pack essentials and minis, and I save a bunch of baggage fees, especially if you have lots of flights in between.
  • Sometimes so many layovers are not worth it, I’d rather pay a little more to skip them so I can have more time at my destination. Think: would I spend an extra $100 to get to Paris 10 hours earlier than the other flight? The answer is usually yes.
  • When deciding which airport to land at, research websites like Rometorio.com to see how much taxi/train will be to the city. This website is a lifesaver when you are planning road trips or multi-city trips. Check it out!

Hope this helped you out. If you find any good deals, send me a DM, I’d love to know. Next week I will write a similar post about booking places to stay so make sure you check back. Thank you for reading!

As always, if you have any questions please message me on Instagram (@amapoland).

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