How to Get the Cheapest Flights to Anywhere in the World
Frequent flier miles, spontaneous seat sales, credit card points programs, flight booking search engines - there is an endless vortex of options for the modern traveler to find the cheapest flight deals, and yet both national and international flights remain one of the most expensive parts of any vacation.
Add the hassle of watching fares go up and down for weeks, checking multiple websites several times a day for price changes, subscribing to 20 different online newsletters, and the experience of finding and booking a flight can be downright soul-sucking, making you never want to leave your apartment again, let alone part with your hard earned cash.
A few months ago I was on the hunt for a round trip flight to Mexico City. In total, I spent around a month scouring the web, checking for the cheapest deals EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. on at least five different sites, debating non-stop vs. connecting, and wondering if I made the right choice to purchase after the fares dropped low enough that they fit within my budget.
In the end, I did get a price I was alright with paying, but the stress that went into finding the flights left me with at least a few new grey hairs. And the time... well, if I was paid for all the hours that went into researching the flights, the ticket price would have easily been covered.
If you're looking to travel internationally in the near future, please do me a favor, and don't do what I did. The process of finding the cheapest flights doesn't have to be this difficult and time consuming.
Here are some ways you can find the cheapest flights to anywhere in the world!
#1. Browse Flight Booking Search Engines
A good place to start is by checking Skyscanner and Momondo, two search engines that browse and compare thousands of airlines and travel sites to find you the best deals. Both do a decent job of returning results, but I've personally found better deals through Skyscanner.
Skyscanner also has a really neat feature to help you if you're not quite sure where you want to go. In the search box, simply type in your departing airport and in the 'To' box type in "Anywhere". Click 'Search Flights' and you'll be directed to a page listing flights to destinations all over the world leaving from your specified airport.
Another decent flight search engine worth checking out is Google Flights.
#2. Go directly to the source - Check airline websites
Flight search engines are great, but sometimes it's best to go directly to the source by checking the fares on airline websites. When I was recently searching for my trip to Mexico I was excited to find a low price via Skyscanner for an Air Canada round trip flight, however when I searched the exact same dates directly on Air Canada's website the price was about $50 less.
Sure, it's not a lot of savings and it doesn't always happen that the airline has a cheaper option, but it was totally worth the extra two minutes it took me to do a search through the airline website.
#3. Use a travel agent
Researching flights can take hours upon hours, and even after all the time you invest you still might not find the kind of deal you were looking for. That's why you shouldn't discount the power of travel agents. Not only can they sometimes find deals that you don't have access to, but you can also bring in your own research and see if they'll price match or even beat the price.
#4. Sign up with Scott's Cheap Flights
Scott's Cheap Flights is an email subscription service that will send you some of the best airfare deals on the web. The way it works is that Scott spends his days browsing the web for the cheapest international flights - whether it's a mistake made by an airline or an incredible seat sale - and emails these offers directly to your inbox, including information on how to book the deal, which airports you can depart from, the airline offering the flights, available dates for the deal, and the average normal price for the route.
When you sign up, all you have to do is enter your home region (ie. where you would like to depart from - Scott's Cheap Flights currently serves the USA, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand) and you'll receive the newsletter with deals customized to your location.
Simple as that.
Here are some reasons Why I prefer Scott's Cheap Flights...
- The deals are NOT last minute. You won't have to rearrange your work schedule and short term plans to take advantage of these deals. Most of the flights I've seen depart at least three months down the road (some are all the way up to nine months in the future) allowing you time to book your vacation days at work and figure out who's going to feed your cat while you're gone.
- The email alerts contain flight prices not only for one departing airport, but for a whole list of airports in your specified geographic region. For example, I currently live in Vancouver, but could easily take advantage of the flight deals from Seattle, which is only a short and inexpensive bus ride away.
- There are no contracts and you are not obligated to purchase anything. You can unsubscribe at any time.
- You won't receive any spammy emails. Scott's Cheap Flights doesn't send automated emails out each time a price drops by $25. All of the email alerts I've received have legit deals that are hundreds of dollars less than the normal price.
Here are just a couple of the deals sent out in the past:
What you need to know
Scott's Cheap Flights has a free newsletter (you can sign up here) where you'll receive alerts for about 1/3 of the deals Scott finds on the web. I signed up for this newsletter and can vouch that each and every email in my inbox includes really cheap international flights.
A level above the free newsletter is the Premium newsletter, wherein Scott emails out ALL the deals he comes across during his searches. This newsletter comes at a small cost, $39 USD for a one year subscription. If you're serious about booking a trip in the near future, but aren't set on a specific destination, then this subscription might be worthwhile for you and could save you hundreds of dollars.
My suggestion would be to sign up for the free newsletter first, and if you like what you see, you can always test out the Premium subscription (you can sign up here).
Well there you have it! How to get the cheapest flights to anywhere in the world - or at least a few ways to find the best flight deals, possibly saving you hundreds of dollars on your next trip, money much better spent on cappuccinos in Rome, zip-lining in Costa Rica, late nights out in London, or in the piggy bank for your next vacation!
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Please note, I did not receive any compensation to write this post. However, this article does include affiliate links, meaning if you choose to purchase something through one of the links I will receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you. All opinions are, as always, my own.