Holiday planning is a walk in the park thanks to the best flight search engines that are available at the press of a button. Once upon a time, booking a ticket required a trip to a travel agency where vacation options were limited, and travel information was restricted to pamphlets. Fortunately, we live in the age of the internet where you can easily plan your trip, buy travel insurance, and rent a car using the same app or website. Nowadays, flight search engines offer package deals and discounted tickets that allow frequent flyers to travel to exotic locations and stay in luxury hotels without breaking the bank.
List Of The Best Flight Search Engines
Finding cheap flights online has become less of a chore thanks to the vast number of flight search engines that have taken the travel world by storm. Choose a search engine that will help you find the best deals and make sure that you receive notifications about price drops and seasonal discounts. Here’s a comprehensive list of the best flight search engines to find cheap flights:
Skyscanner – Best Flight Search Engine For International Flights
Skyscanner started its journey in 2001 and is one of the best flight search engines out there. The engine is available as an app, where users are provided with a vast database of flights, allowing them to make an informed decision when purchasing their tickets. Skyscanner shows you the cheapest months to fly and is a 3-in-1 search engine that you can use to search for car rental deals and hotel accommodations.
The app allows you to plan trips to multiple cities as well and is incredibly easy to use. However, the site does have its flaws. For example, the prices listed on the engine can be slightly outdated due to a glitch in the system. Some travel partners associated with Skyscanner are not reliable booking agents, which can lead to issues with bookings as well.
Skyscanner Trick To Find Cheap Flights:
Step 1: Go to Skyscanner.com and enter your home city in “From” and hover your mouse over in the “To” section. Skyscanner will automatically show you an option called “Everywhere”.
Step 2: Head to the dates section and click on “Depart” and select “Whole Month”. Enter the month you want to travel and then the month you want to return.
The results will show the cheapest possible flights from your home city to all destinations sorted by the lowest price. You’ll be surprised at how cheap some flights can get if you’re flexible with your dates. Example: New York to Iceland in September only costs $230!!
Step 3: Click on the country you want to travel to and it shows you the different cities with the prices for each. Once you choose your city, Skyscanner will show you a calendar with the different prices for each day.
Skiplagged – Best Flight Search Engine Overall
This is the best website for locating flights that are incredibly hard to find. Skiplagged is known for offering its users amazing deals and unbelievable discounts. It’s also available in app form and has a search filter that allows its users to filter flights based on layovers and duration. Users will receive a notification when fares prices decrease.
The app offers last-minute deals on hotels and has a rewards program where you can earn up to $25 per booking. Using Skiplagged can be risky at times due to the nature of the booking itself. Moreover, choosing a layover city as your final destination may rob you of the chance to check in your luggage.
Momondo – Best Airfare Site For Cheap Flights
Next on the list is Momondo, which is one of the best flight comparison websites that allows you to refine your search and find exactly what you’re looking for, be it a cheap fare, a holiday home, or a car rental agency. Momondo displays the carbon footprint for each flight and a graph that shows you how prices fluctuate every day of the week. Both the app and website are easy to navigate, however, it is not possible to plan a trip with multiple stops on Momondo. You will also be directed to a third-party site to complete your booking.
What to watch out for: a lot of the search results don’t include credit card fees or baggage fees, so make sure to read the fine print very carefully.
Google Flights – Most Comprehensive List Of Flights
Google Flights allows you to complete your booking using your Google account. It’s one of the fastest flight search engines out there and has access to an impressive database of flights. It also has an incredibly practical filter tool that includes connecting flights, number of stops, and flight duration. The search engine provides baggage info and practical information regarding each airline, such as legroom and in-seat USB outlets. The best flights are not always the cheapest, so you need to keep that in mind when using Google Flights.
Hopper – Best Airfare Site To Discover Cheap Airports To Fly From
Hopper is a free app where you can find budget-friendly accommodation and flights in addition to offers on car rentals. App users receive app-exclusive deals and helpful tips that will help guide them in the right direction when it comes to accommodation and trip planning.
Hopper sends out notifications whenever a drop in ticket prices is about to occur, allowing users to save a ton of money in the process. The app also has a high-resolution map where you can locate the cheapest airports to fly from. Hopper allows you to book directly from the app itself and has an incredibly fun and user-friendly system. Some customers, however, are critical of its customer service, especially its performance and absence of a phone number post-pandemic.
Priceline – Best For Bundling Flights With Hotels & Car Rentals
Priceline is one of the best airline ticket sites where you can bundle and save money on car rentals and hotel rooms in addition to plane tickets. It offers all three under one roof. The app allows users to join a loyalty program that opens the doors to a world of special offers and discounts.
Priceline has app-exclusive deals that allow you to stay in the best hotels for cheap. You can also apply for a Priceline Rewards Visa Card to rack up points and redeem them at a later date. Unfortunately, the website does not offer the same deals as the app. Moreover, many car and hotel bookings are done via Priceline are also non-refundable, so you need to make sure that your plans are set in stone before confirming your booking.
Kayak – Best Flight Search Engine For National Flights In The US
The Priceline Group also owns Kayak, which happens to be one of the best flight search sites on the internet right now. Kayak is available as an app and is incredibly efficient when it comes to finding irresistible accommodation deals that include condos and apartments. What makes Kayak so special is its price predictor and the fact that it allows you to book cruises and trains and filter out hotels while planning your vacation package.
Kayak is also known for its transparency when it comes to prices and its email list that offers its members further discounts. Unfortunately, booking directly via the app is not possible. The app also doesn’t have a loyalty program, which would have been the icing on the cake.
Scott’s Cheap Flights – Error Fare Flight Search Engine
Scott and his team of experts are behind this membership-style website. They do all the hard work while you sit back and relax until they send you a message straight to your inbox. The premium membership allows you to receive more deals and faster notifications regarding your destination of choice. The personalized emails received by members include booking instructions and airline information. The Elite membership has its perks including 90% discounts on business and first-class tickets. This subscription service might not be for everyone as it lacks the large database and search tools provided by other apps and websites.
Agoda – Best Flight Search Engine For Affordable Deals
Agoda is considered one of the oldest and best airline ticket sites where you can easily compare hotel rooms before making a booking via the app or website. The site is easy to use and offers deals on hotels, hostels, and homes. The Daily Deals page is regularly updated with coupons that you can use to book cheaper flights and accommodation. Agoda also allows you to pay for everything using PayPal. Booking through Agoda is not always smooth sailing. Some users have experienced issues with bookings and the deals offered on the site are only available for a short window of time.
Expedia – Best For Bundling Flights + Hotels
Expedia offers its members special discounts and bundle deals. Therefore, you can save up to 15% when booking your hotel room and tickets using the app. It has an incredibly helpful feature called Book Now – Pay Later so you can make your bookings weeks before traveling, allowing you to snag the best holiday offers money can buy.
Expedia is not only one of the best airline search engines for international flights on the web, but it also provides travel insurance that covers cruises as well as car rentals and offers its users a package protection plan that compensates them for lost, damaged, or stolen baggage. Unfortunately, Expedia’s customer service leaves much to be desired and its cancellation policies can be confusing at times.
CheapOair – Best Flight Search Engine To Collect Reward Points
CheapOair made it to our list of flight search engines thanks to its reward points system and discounted fares. You can easily make your bookings and payments through the app and receive double the points in the process. You can also choose your favorite airplane seats and pay for everything using the CheapOair Visa Credit Card to earn seven times the reward points on your holiday reservations. Unfortunately, these bookings are non-refundable. Moreover, the site charges an incredibly high fee for canceling bookings, and its service fees are also considerably high.
Booking.com – Best For Free Cancellations
Booking.com is a one-stop shop for all your travel needs, from purchasing train tickets to making restaurant reservations at the press of a button. Fans of boutique hotels and local hotel brands will find a variety of accommodation options to choose from. Booking provides free cancellations on most rooms and budget-friendly deals on a daily basis. It also allows you to browse European train schedules and book a table for dinner at the best restaurants using the OpenTable app. The site, however, does not offer price comparisons so you have to compare prices on your own and its customer service can be disappointing at times.
Orbitz – Best Loyalty Program
Orbitz is another online travel agency that offers you further discounts if you book through its app. The app has a loyalty program and features a handy map that shows you all the available hotels near your location. You can book budget-friendly cruises and rent a holiday car as well. Orbitz offers money-saving bundles and allows you to make multi-city bookings in one go.
The app is all about flexibility, allowing you to cancel your booking for free with the exception of a few hotels. It’s easy to see why Orbitz has earned its best airline booking site badge. The site offers something for everyone; however, its rewards program does not allow you to rack up points when it comes to cruises, car rentals, travel insurance, recreational activities, and a few non-prepaid hotels.
Hotwire – Best For Last Minute Flight Deals
The best site for cheap flights is also one of the most hassle-free online travel agencies that you will come across while planning your vacation. Hotwire allows you to narrow down your search by choosing your preferred price range, amenities, Trip Advisor ratings, and the number of stops. Its Hot Rate deals are ideal for travelers who like to go with the flow.
Hotwire allows you to save big on holiday bundles and offer substantial discounts when it comes to car rentals. The site has a 24-hour cancellation policy and offers travel insurance too. The downside of booking a Hot Rate room or car is that the room or vehicle will remain a mystery until you make the booking. This can leave the door open to unpleasant surprises.
Travelocity – Best For Coupons & Discounts
Travelocity stands out in a sea of cheap flight websites due to its wide range of services that include travel protection and airport transport. First-time members who download the app will receive a 15% discount on their first booking. You will also find mobile-exclusive offers and coupons that grant you further discounts upon checkout. The app allows you to book a wide range of activities including concerts and tours in addition to sports events and theme parks. There are a lot of advantages to using Travelocity, however, the site does not offer full transparency when it comes to its cancellation policies and its customer service is not perfect either.
In some cases, it’s better to book from the airline page itself especially if they have special offers. It will also be much easier to make any changes to your flights in case you want to have more flexibility. Sometimes when you book from flight search engines, it’s not easy to make changes to your flight and you’ll have to call them and stay on hold for a long time to be able to speak to a customer service agent.
Flight Search Engine Tips To Help You Save Money
Fly to a Nearby Airport
Depending on where you’re flying to, sometimes nearby airports can be much cheaper than the major airport you’re searching for. The best way to find these is by ticking the “Add nearby airports” box when you’re searching on Skyscanner or Momondo.
More travel tips: How I afford to travel every month and how you can too!
Find Out If Flying is the Best Way to Get to Your Destination
Here’s an awesome website to use to find out the best way to get from one point to another: Rome2rio.com. It shows you all types of options including flights, trains, buses, rideshares, and driving costs. Sometimes it’s cheaper to fly to a different city and catch a bus or train to your main destination. It’s also a great way to explore new areas around the country you’re visiting.
Check for Charter Flights
A lot of local travel agencies offer charter flights to off-the-beaten-path cities, especially during high season. Search for “charter flights from (home city) to (destination)” on Google.com to find out if you can catch a charter flight.
Subscribe to Secret Error Fare Websites
Sometimes (lucky for us!) websites make mistakes in flight fares. It’s usually not easy at all to catch them and they usually fix them right away, so you will have a small window to book your secret error fare. Best Error Fare flight search engines: fly4free.com, secretflying.com, holidaypirates.com, airfarewatchdog.com, scottscheapflights.com
Book Multiple Destination Flights
If you’re planning a trip to more than one destination, it’s usually better to book multiple destination flights instead of booking two separate one-way flights. Most search engines have this option and my recommendation is Momondo.com. Choose the “multi-city” option at the top and you can enter several destinations in one search.
More travel tips: The truth about solo female travel
Make The Most Out of Your Frequent Flyer Points
Sign up for all the major frequent flyer programs, even if you fly with them once. It’s free to join and normally points don’t expire for 3 to 5 years. You never know when you will fly with an airline again and it’s good to collect the points anyway.
Tips on how to use your reward points:
1. Most airlines have certain months during the low season when they do a major sale on their frequent flyer tickets. Sometimes you can find tickets with a 50% discount. Let’s say you need 30,000 miles to book your reward flight, then you will only need 15,000 miles. Subscribe to the newsletters of all the major airlines you use to stay updated on these deals.
2. If you can’t find the flight you want on a certain airline, you can use your reward points to book on partner airlines.
3. If you’re missing just a few points to purchase your reward ticket, you can check if you’re airline has the option to just buy those missing miles.
Tricks to Avoid Flight Price Increases
Have you noticed that if you keep searching for the same flight over and over again, you suddenly see a price increase? That’s because most websites store cookies on your browser and they know that you want to book that specific flight.
To avoid flight price increases, you can do 2 things: either open an “incognito” tab on your browser or erase all the cookies from your browser before searching again.
Avoid Extra Flight Fees
Budget airlines are cheap for a reason and if you don’t read the fine print on your ticket carefully, you might end up paying ridiculous amounts at the airport.
1. The first thing to look out for is your baggage allowance. If you have a roundtrip flight, make sure you purchase your baggage allowance online for both of your flights. Sometimes you have to add these separately and you can easily fall into the trap of booking it only for 1 way. Do not wait to go to the airport to purchase baggage allowance, because it can be up to 10 times more expensive. Purchase everything online for your flight.
2. Have your boarding pass ready: believe it or not, some budget airlines might charge you at the airport if you don’t have your boarding pass printed. A lot of the more advanced airports have kiosks where you can print your boarding pass before you check in your bags, but it’s best to read about the requirements before heading to your flight. Some airlines now allow online boarding passes, which you can have on your phone.
3. If there’s a high chance that you will make changes to your flights, it’s better to book a flexible fare from the start and pay a little bit more. It’s normally cheaper than booking a non-refundable fare and paying crazy fees if you want to change anything.
Frequently Asked Questions About Flight Search Engines:
What is the best flight search engine?
Skiplagged is the best flight search engine and for good reason. It was designed to uncover cheap tickets that airlines typically keep hidden from view. These tickets are ideal for frequent flyers who want to save money and who enjoy traveling light on occasion. The flight search engine allows its users to compare hundreds of flights at the press of a button and its database gives other sites a run for their money. The multicity feature is incredibly handy as well.
Where Can I Find Cheap Flights?
The four best places to find cheap flights are: Skyscanner – mainly due to its cheap fares and its world map that shows you the cheapest flights to any destination of your choosing. Skiplagged – where you can find hidden tickets and amazing deals on flights. Momondo – boasts a time-saving filter that allows you to refine your search and compare prices. Google Flights – the best website for flights in terms of speed and efficiency where you can easily book your ticket by logging onto your Google account.
How Can I Get the Best Deals on Flights?
Get the best deals on flights by following these tips: always keep in mind that midweek prices are much cheaper than the weekend. Therefore, try to avoid traveling on Fridays or Sundays. Take advantage of the map provided by your search engine of choice. The maps will show you several budget-friendly destinations that may not have even crossed your mind. Sometimes, booking tickets months in advance will help you save money, especially if you plan on traveling during peak season.
Many online travel agencies offer discounts on vacation packages and bundles. You can easily snag an amazing deal by renting a car, booking a tour, and purchasing your tickets from the same site. Some travel experts recommend making individual purchases on tickets to avoid a hike in price. You can also get the best deals on flights by downloading the app version of the sites mentioned above. Apps offer exclusive discounts, promo codes and are more travel-friendly.
When Is The Best Time To Book Flights?
Best days to fly: Tuesday, Wednesday, and SaturdayBest times to fly: early morning flights or late-night flights