Over the past few years, the Suitcase Six has travelled to five continents and taken countless flights. In most cases, purchasing the plane ticket to a destination is our first concrete step in planning a trip and its generally the single most expensive purchase we make, so finding a good deal can make a huge difference in our budget.
Skyscanner has become my go-to source for finding cheap flights. After entering in your search criteria (roundtrip or one-way; departure and arrival airport; date, etc.) Skyscanner searches its database and pulls up available flights from tons of different airlines to give you the best prices. I generally set up the search results to show the cheapest flights first and then play with their filters to find those which depart on dates and times that work best for me. Below is a screenshot of a sample search from Indianapolis to Denver. You can see that once you get the search results you can sort them by seven different filters (best value, price per adult, total trip time, outbound departure time, return departure time, airlines, and number of stops).
My favorite feature on Skyscanner is that you can look at a month calendar to see on which days flight prices are cheapest, search for nearby airports that might offer cheaper deals, choose from specific airlines or total trip length, and even find information on student discounts. Staying flexible on your dates can make a huge difference.
I’ve used Skyscanner on everything from national flights from Indiana to Arizona, all the way to international flights from Chicago to Singapore (which we scored for around $650!) You will need to do some research into whichever airline you end up choosing and take into consideration how you will get to and from airports – typically the cheapest flights include switching airports, long layovers, or inconvenient departure times. Budget airlines often have strict guidelines for checking and carrying on baggage. But, if you’re willing to be patient and go slow, you can save hundreds on flights by taking indirect routes and leaving at inopportune times – not always the most fun but if you can extend your trip by a few days or weeks on the saved dollars then I usually find it to be worth it.
What sites do you use to find the best flights?