The INSIDER Summary:
- Some sites are more useful than others when it comes to finding a great deal on flights.
- Google Flights is unmatched when it comes to speed, KAYAK is dependable and thorough, and DealRay is perfect for spontaneous travelers.
- To find the cheapest flights possible, you should use all of these sites together, as well as the suggested tips.
Beyond the tried-and-true classics, however, there are now countless services that can help you save more money on your flights. While it’s always a good idea to browse multiple sites at once, some are more useful than others, and you don’t want to waste your time on the wrong ones.
To help you get the best deal on your next flight, INSIDER rounded up three money-saving sites that rise above the rest. Here’s how to use them.
First up, Google Flights is unmatched when it comes to speed.
Google’s powerful service is a no-frills, lightning fast way to find cheap flights. It’s by far the quickest price comparison tool available right now, in my experience, and it’s just as responsive on mobile.
The basics: Just enter your ideal travel dates and destination, and Google Flights will show you all your travel options in literal seconds. You can use filters to narrow your search by specifying the number of stops you want, your price range, your preferred airline, and more.
If you’re especially pressed for time — for example, if you’re booking a trip last minute — check out the price highlighted green, usually at the top of the “Best flights” box. This is Google’s top pick, factoring in price and speed.
Helpful tips: If you have a bit more time to spare, set your destination and choose “Flexible dates” to find cheaper flights. Be sure to keep an eye out for Google’s “Date tip,” which shows up in green at the top of your search results and suggests money-saving changes to your itinerary.
You should also use the “Price graph” feature, which shows you how prices are likely to change over time, to find the best time to book your flight.
Next, KAYAK is a dependable option with consistently thorough results.
Although you’re more likely to find better deals if you use multiple sites, KAYAK is a safe bet if you want to choose just one. If you’re an experienced or flexible traveler, KAYAK is also the best site to find hacker fares — round-trip options made up of one-way flights from two different airlines.
The basics: All you have to do is enter your travel dates, destination, and desired cabin class. While KAYAK’s search engine is much slower than Google Flights’, I have found options on the former that didn’t appear on the latter — although these instances have been few and far between.
Helpful tip: To find the cheapest flights possible on KAYAK, make sure you set up price alerts. Just enter your origin and your destination, and KAYAK will track your flights for you and send you email alerts the instant prices drop or rise. Using this feature, one INSIDER reporter was able to book a round-trip flight from New York City to Paris for just $464.
Last but not least, DealRay is the best site for spontaneous travelers.
If you’re the adventurous type, DealRay is the one service you should definitely check out. Newcomers get one free month, after which DealRay starts charging a monthly fee of $9.99. For frequent travelers, however, this may actually be a price worth paying.
The basics: DealRay sends you instant SMS alerts about the best available deals on flights every day or two. The only catch is that you have to be willing to travel anywhere in the world, since the service doesn’t let you track flights to specific destinations.
Still, your membership gives you access to incredible bargains before anyone else, so it’s the perfect way to go on vacation without breaking the bank. According to DealRay’s website, its members save $428 per deal on average.
Helpful tip: Download DealRay’s app on your iPhone to get push notifications about deals and set preferences for the types of alerts you want to receive.
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