Finding the right flight can be a painstaking process. After hours of jumping from website to website, the average jet-setter can be left empty handed and fuming mad. There really is no one stop shop for all flight plans…and anyone who is telling you so, probably works for said company. I’m lookin at you Kayak.
Are there simple tricks and ways of surfing the web to find the best flight? Well sure and don’t just take my advice. There are plenty of other, more well established writers on the subject. One to pay attention to in particular is Michelle Higgins and her column The Practical Traveler for the New York Times.
1.) Deal Sites
Daily Deals and Deal Sites are some of the hottest web trends and are now partnering up with travel companies to offer exclusive offers and packages. Some offers can be steals, others seem not so good, but they are worth a look when planning a trip. Remember to read the fine print before purchasing.
Groupon – The daily deals site partnered with Expedia to offer Groupon Getaways. Again, some of the packages won’t interest you but have a look. They are currently running a $10 for $40 deal on Southwest flights. http://www.groupon.com/getaways
LivingSocial – Almost identical to Groupon, they have announced LivingSocial Escapes. http://livingsocial.com/escapes
TravelZoo – Great for flights, sporting events, and package deals. http://www.travelzoo.com/
Fair warning: If you subscribe to all of these deal sites your email inbox will begin overflowing.
2.) Search Sites and Airlines
There are a lots of travel search sites but don’t forget to check the airlines own website as they have started offering savings and specific offers.
Google Flights – http://www.google.com/flights/
Kayak – http://www.kayak.com/
Expedia – http://www.expedia.com/
Travelocity – http://www.travelocity.com
Priceline – http://www.priceline.com/
Orbitz – http://www.orbitz.com/
3.) Clear History
Who knows if it’s true or not, but I heard somewhere that after completing many flight searches on the usual sites like Orbitz, Priceline, Travelocity and more, your browser history or more specifically your cache or “cookies” will become a problem, ensuring you are shown inflated and slightly higher prices. Sounds paranoid, but there has to be something behind this theory because as soon as you are done searching an email will appear in my email inbox declaring, “Oh no, fares from SFO to SEA are on the rise. Quick. Don’t think. Buy a ticket from me.” The point is they’re watching us all…so before you’re ready to pull the trigger and purchase, refresh that history and clear those “cookies”. It can’t hurt.
4.) International Flights for Cheap
Seasoned travelers and younger, budget conscience flyers know that students save big. So hang on to your Student ID. Here are search engines to take a look at:
STA Travel – a well run site with discounts for students, teachers, and all under 26. http://www.statravel.com/
Student Universe – another fine site aimed at inexpensive, student rates. They will typically ask to see an image of your Student ID. http://www.studentuniverse.com/