If you are like me, I am sure you are dreaming of your next vacation. What is holding you back from jet-setting to your next getaway? Well, likely a full-time job which pays the bills, obviously. But also, the cost of flights can be a financial obstacle which makes the idea of going to a far off destination seem unattainable. I hope that after you read this article, you will feel more empowered to find the best deals for flights and finally book the trip of your dreams.
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International flights are more affordable than ever with airlines increasing route options and competing to offer the most affordable prices. I see unbelievable deals for flights from the US to points all over the world daily. The more flexibility you have, the better. Travel hackers spend hours scouring the web for the best flight deals in efforts to get the cheapest flights to the most desirable destinations. Since I work a busy schedule as a medical resident, I clearly don't have time to research thousands of flights to find the best deals but I am still able to utilize the same data with a fraction of the effort.
1. Find Deals While Browsing Social Media
I use social media for more than just procrastinating. I follow The Flight Deal on Facebook and consistently see deals come across my Facebook feed. The Flight Deal uses ITA Matrix to search for abnormally low prices on flights across a fixed date range. The Flight Deal does all the leg work and you can easily go to the airline's website or third-party booking website (depending on which The Flight Deal recommends) to book the flight.I was casually perusing Facebook late one evening when I clearly should have already been asleep and I noticed a new post from The Flight Deal. My grandmother had previously told me that she desired to visit Spain and I was determined to make that happen. Well, this particular post, which highlighted a deal for flights from RDU to Barcelona, caught my eye. I already knew that I had vacation time in October and fortunately for me, the deal included my vacation dates. Long story short, I was able to book a round-trip flight between Raleigh, NC and Barcelona, Spain for $380. Good things come to those who wait mindlessly scroll through Facebook.I would also recommend following your favorite airlines because they often post notifications about their most recent sales and you could be one of the first to know. For example, JetBlue Airline intermittently has flash sales with one-way fares as low as $39. The best way to catch these limited time deals is to follow them on social media and get notified as soon as the fares go on sale.Finally, if you are a true travel addict, then I recommend joining Facebook interest groups focused on travel. This provides a community of thousands of other like-minded people who are also on the lookout for great flight deals. When there are error fares in which flight prices plummet, the only way to find out is by word of mouth so having a load of people on the lookout for these glitches is clutch.
2. Price Drop Notifications in Your Inbox
Have you ever bought something and then saw it in the store on sale a week later? I have a fear of not booking a flight at the right time and missing out on getting the lowest price because the timing wasn't right. In fact, many touted the popular belief that the best day to catch a flight deal is Tuesday but a recent article in published in Bloomberg refutes this claim. There is no rhyme or reason to when to flight prices fluctuate and you need a more sophisticated strategy than booking on a certain day of the week to find the best deals.In an attempt to avoid buyers remorse, I utilize the feature of tracking flight prices. I love using Google Flights to search for flight prices over a wide date range to determine the cheapest time to fly (see my previous post with detailed instructions on how I do this). Once I find a destination that I am interested in traveling to and have my desired date range, I choose the option to track the flight. As a result, I receive emails every few days with updates on the price.Of note, Airfare Watchdog and Skyscanner are similar websites that allow you to get regular email notifications of price changes.I would utilize the tracking feature if you want to book a flight fairly far in advance. This does not work as well for last minute flights because usually at a certain point, the price of flights will only climb.
3. Savings on Flights in the Palm of Your Hand
As with most things, there are tons of mobile applications to offer convenience in the palm of your hand. There are several apps that aid in finding the best flight deals.First, the Hopper app offers a similar service as described above except it sends push notifications through your mobile device instead of emails. Additionally, the Hopper app uses data from previous flight pricing and fluctuations to predict if the price will likely increase, enabling them to give you evidence-based advice regarding when to book.Another great app for flight deals is Skiplagged. Skiplagged finds flight deals in an unconventional way by searching for flights that connect through your desired destination but it may not be the ultimate destination so you would have to skip the last leg of the flight (hence the name). The only drawback to using this method is that you must use carry-on luggage. If you try to check baggage, it will end up at the final destination.
Finding the best flight deals does not have to be time-consuming. By using these tips, you can be on top of the greatest prices while doing things you already do every day. Gone are the days that the select few "travel hackers" have the exclusive secrets to jet-setting around the world with a discount. Travel is accessible to us all, you just have to work smart, not hard.
Let me know your favorite way to find flight deals!