How To Find Cheap Flights In 12 Easy Steps (2024)

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Yes, it’s still possible to find cheap flights in 2024! Here, you’ll find how to find cheap flights to everywhere and save hundreds of dollars. Every trick to find the cheapest airfare tickets in one place!

Have you ever spent hours and hours on search engines and websites trying to find the cheapest possible deal for your next flight?

There are so many websites to look through, and with prices changing within a few minutes and so many options, finding cheap flights has become a stressful experience!

If you’ve been to this blog before, you know how much I love traveling.  And the thing I like more than traveling is avoiding throwing money away, especially if there is a way to do something for cheap.

That’s how, during many years of research and trial and error, I put together a list of all my tips and tricks to find the cheapest flights, no matter where you are in the world.

And to make sure I didn’t miss anything, I’ve asked some expert bloggers to share their top tips to always get the best possible deal!

Ready?

How To Find Cheap Flights in 2024

1. Use the best search tools

All search engines make their money through a commission added on top of the ticket cost. Therefore you need to watch out for the less greedy ones.

Also, not all airlines are featured on all search engines and comparison sites, so it’s always best to check a few. 

Unfortunately, there isn’t a single search engine that beats them all – wouldn’t that be too easy for us travel lovers?

But my favorites are these 5:

  • Skyscanner: One of the leading search engines out there, and definitely the one I check first.
  • Momondo: It gets the cheapest option 99% of the time as it picks up fares from the less expensive agents.
  • Google Flights: Handy calendar option to search for the cheapest days to fly. Once you find the cheapest date, use one of the other websites to book the flights.
  • Kiwi.com: Much more flexible than Google Flight or Skyscanner in the number of options you can find.
  • Jetradar: Includes some budget airlines that other websites don’t have, so it’s always worth a look.

Make sure you check them all before making a booking.

There doesn’t seem to be a consistent winner (and I book many flights a year!), but the two websites that seem to come to the top over and over again are Skyscanner and Google Flights. I love them both, and I always check them first.

2. Hide your search!

This happens:

You search for your flight to Paris and find a great price. But you are not ready to book it yet. You just want to think about it and go to make dinner.

You come back 2 hours later, and voilà! Your $500 flight is now $750.

Same day, same airline, same flight!

This used to happen to me ALL THE TIME.

Some websites claim this isn’t true, but I have witnessed it with my own eyes: prices go up if you keep searching for a specific route!

Airlines use cookies in your browser to make you believe the prices are rising, and you need to book NOW to save as much as possible.

Always search for cheap flights in incognito mode or private browsing mode for the lowest prices.

NOTE: Will browsing in incognito lead to cheaper deals? Not really! But it will prevent your airfare from going up once you find a good deal! 

But what is incognito mode?

Incognito mode, private browsing, and InPrivatebBrowsing all do the same thing – they just use different names. Incognito mode ensures nothing from your session is logged in your browser history, search history, temporary internet files, or cookies.

Any data you enter during a private session will be forgotten by your computer when you close the browser.

So, how can you find your cheap flight in incognito mode?

Go Incognito on Google Chrome
  1. Open Google Chrome and click the wrench icon in the top right corner.
  2. Click ‘new incognito window.’
  3. Alternatively, you can press Ctrl + Shift + N.

You can tell if you’re browsing privately by looking for the person’s logo in disguise in the window’s top-left corner. He’s wearing sunglasses and a secret agent hat.

How to find cheap flights using incognito mode
Are you finding your cheap flights like a secret agent would?
Go Incognito on Mozilla Firefox
  1. Open Firefox and click the hamburger Menu button – it looks like three parallel lines.
  2. Click ‘New private window.’
Go Incognito on Safari on Mac
  1. Open Safari and click on ‘File.’
  2. Click ‘New Private Window.’
  3. Alternatively, click Command + Shift + N.
Go Incognito on Microsoft Edge
  1. Open Microsoft Edge and click the ‘More’ icon – it looks like three dots.
  2. Click ‘New InPrivate window.’

Open a new incognito or private window between new searches, as cookies are reset and deleted between each session.

Doing this will give you the best chance to find cheap flights without being fooled by airlines.

3. Grab error fares super fast!

Have you ever heard of error fares?

Airlines occasionally make mistakes due to computer glitches, human error, or currency conversion mistakes, which lead to unbelievably discounted cheap flights. These are known as error or mistake fares.

Among thousands of flights, errors in the prices of flight tickets are inevitable. And because it would be too time-consuming for airlines to correct any ‘price with a mistake,’ they often honor such bookings.

You can try spotting error fares yourself, but that can be time-consuming. Plus, some deals are only available for a few hours before the airline spots the “mistake.”

The most straightforward approach to finding ‘error fares’ is following the specialized hot-deal-hunters.

screenshot of Scott's cheap flights

Here are my favorite resources:

Going ( known before as Scott’s Cheap Flights)
Going is one of my favorites for cheap flights around the world! The free subscription is pretty cool, but I recommend the paid subscription if you are a frequent traveler. Not only is it ridiculously cheap for all the extra updates, but it MORE than pays for itself with one booked ticket! 

Secret Flying
Secret Flying is one of the most popular sources for error fare detection for flights to all destinations worldwide, with over 3 million visitors a month. You can simply check their website, subscribe to their email, and follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to look for the best deals.

Jack’s Flight Club
Jack’s Flight Club is my favorite for the cheapest flights and error fares in Europe. You can sign up for alerts via email or by downloading their app. For example, I received an email today for a return flight from London to Venice for only 30EUR.

Airfare Watchdog
Airfare WatchDog lists “Today’s Top Fares” on the homepage of its site. If you don’t have a specific destination you are looking for, this list alone can be full of bargains. When you subscribe to their email list, they also allow you to create flight alerts to specific destinations. This one is one of the best features that sets Airfare Watchdog apart from other sites.

The Flight Deal
This site is excellent for global flight deals and offers discounted rates for flights and hotels, cars, and top deals for credit card purchases. You can subscribe to their newsletters and follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

There are plenty of other great “error fare” websites out there! Rose, for example, saved over $600 on her flight using Thrifty Traveler!

Rose from The Compass Rose

“Most travel bloggers are persistent in their quest to find cheap flights, but we don’t have the time to look at every airline every day. There may be a fantastic deal that gets us close to our destination or a mistake fare to somewhere that is not in “the plan” but is too cheap to pass up!

These deals are emailed to me regularly via a flight alert service called Thrifty Traveler. I can set up alerts from or to specific destinations or just receive alerts for every deal they find!

I’d been planning a trip to Europe when I received an email about round-trip flights from Minneapolis to Berlin for just $336. That’s $643 cheaper than usual for my dates, according to Google Flights!

A subscription to Thrifty Traveler Premium is $40 a year and quickly pays for itself. This kind of service is especially valuable to those of us flying from small and mid-sized airports where there aren’t the everyday deals you see from JFK, LAX, etc.”

4. Price alert!

Do you know how to find cheap flights with a price alert? I love this tip!

Allan from The Practical Saver

“One of the best ways to find a cheap flight is to subscribe for price alerts for your chosen itinerary. When you look for flights, especially if you have enough time ahead of you, don’t pay right away. That’s the biggest mistake you could make. Chances are the flight fare you’re looking for isn’t the best deal yet.”

“To get the best deal, pay attention to the price alerts. They’re your frugal-friendly reminders. Best yet, do these for a couple of sites that sell airline tickets, so you know when the prices decrease or increase for a number of sites. This way, you can not only compare the prices among sellers but also see any changes in the price of the flights you want to choose. Never decide to buy tickets right away.”

Want to know how to do it?

There are several websites that let you set price alerts.

My favorite ones are:

On Google Flights, you can select “track prices” to watch fares on specific routes. You need to be logged in your Google account.  

  1. At the top, choose the number of stops, cabin class, and how many tickets you need.
  2. Choose your departure airport and destination.
  3. To track prices for this route, turn on the switch next to “Track prices.”
  4. Tip: You can also track prices for a specific flight: just select the flight you want to track, then click “Track price.”
How to find cheap flights by tracking Google Flights prices
How to find cheap flights by tracking prices with Google Flights!

Google will send you an email every time your tracked flights change prices.

On Skyscanner, you can select “get price alerts.” To set up an alert, search for your route and specific dates as usual, click the “bell sign,” and enter your email address. You’ll receive an email to confirm – simply click the link in the email, and you’re all set! 

How to find cheap flights by using Skyscanner "Get Price Alerts"

And on Kayak, you’ll get asked automatically if you want to set up a price alert as soon as you look for a flight!

You’ll also always see the website’s advice in the top left corner, which will suggest buy now, wait, or watch. Kayak will even estimate how much the airfare will rise or fall, helping you gauge whether or not it’s worth the risk.

How to find cheap flights by tracking Kayak Flights prices

5. Be Flexible

In your quest to find cheap flights, you need to be ready to be flexible in:

  • When
  • Where

When to book

When we book our vacation, we usually pick a destination first, decide when to go, and then check the price of the flights for those dates. This usually leads to finding flights that are more expensive than necessary.

If your top priority is to get cheap flights, you need to change your approach.

This is how:

Stop flying when everyone else is! If you are flying in the summer holidays or during Christmas, it will always be more expensive. Try to be flexible with the day of the week you are flying. Many people fly on Friday to avoid having to take an extra day of vacation, but this can cost you hundreds of dollars in airfare.

 By changing your mindset, you could save a fortune.

Divine from Live and Earn in Canada

“As a travel blogger and a person that is always looking to save money, I am constantly on the lookout for tools and resources that I can use to cut costs. I am currently in the process of booking a family trip to the beautiful island of Mauritius, and tickets can be pretty expensive.

We will be traveling from Canada to Mauritius, and as a family of 3, ticket costs are anywhere between $4500 – $5000.

To save money on flights, we changed our travel dates significantly. Instead of traveling in July, we are saving over $1000 traveling in October. I also used Google Flights to help me track and pick dates where flight tickets are much cheaper (see tip #4). This allowed me to save an additional $350.”

Where: find the cheapest place to fly

If you love to travel and want to explore everywhere, you might not have limitations about where to go. If you don’t mind where you’ll end up, and you want to find the cheapest place to fly to, a few tools will come in handy.

My favorite:

Google Flights

1. Go to Google Flights, click on flights, and then on the map:

Google flights map: a great way to help you to get cheap flights

2. Put in your specific dates and home airport and find your best option!

Google flights map: a great way to help you to get cheap flights

Kiwi.com

Kiwi.com works pretty much the same way as Google Flights. Go on the website by clicking here, select your departure city and a date range to fly, and click on the “Explore” button. You will then see prices to fly to hundreds of destinations. You can just pick the cheapest flight to one of the places you’ve always wanted to visit!

Kiwi.com: one of the best places to find cheap flights

Skyscanner

Skyscanner doesn’t have a map view, but its search engine is pretty good, so I recommend you always check it to find great deals.

1. Type in your departure city
2. Write “Anywhere” in the destination field.
3. Enter the dates you want to travel. Or you can even search by month!

You can now see a list of all the destinations you can travel to by country. You can then click on each country on the list and look for the best deal.

Screenshot of Skyscanner

Kayak

Another favorite that uses the map search. The option I prefer here is Explore all.

1. Simply click on “Explore all” on the top right-hand corner of the map. 

Kayak: one of the best ways to find cheap flights

2. Select your home airport and your preferred time of flight. You can leave this blank if you are not sure. You will now be able to set your flight time (depending on how close you want to stay or how far you want to go) and your budget. 

3. Move the map around until you find a destination that you want to explore.

Kayak: one of the best ways to find cheap flights

TIP OF THE DAY: Always check for airports that might not be the obvious choice. Smaller airports or airports that are only an extra hour’s drive from home might save you hundreds of dollars!

6. Go local

If you are booking with an airline from another country, always check the price in the destination currency. You might find differences closer to hundreds of dollars!

Many airlines offer cheap prices for locals, but make sure you check your credit card fees for foreign transaction fees and exchange rates, or you could lose all the savings!

Make sure you use a VPN connection when looking at local websites. 

A VPN provides an encrypted tunnel for your internet connection, keeping your online travels safe from prying eyes. All of your online activities are protected by the layer of encryption, and you will be able to select which “country” you are browsing from.

I use TunnelBear, and it’s excellent! It has an app and a chrome extension. The first 500MB of data is free every month, and if you send a tweet out to share Tunnel Bear, you get another 500MB on top (1GB of data).

I’ve been using the free version for over two years and never had to upgrade!

7. Find the best time to book

To find cheap flights, you need to avoid peak travel time.

There are two factors to consider here:

  • Cheapest time to fly
  • Best time to book

Cheapest time to fly

The cheapest time to fly is:

  • January through mid-May
  • September through early December

The most expensive time to fly is:

  • Peak summer (mid-June through mid-August)
  • Christmas/New Year’s

How cheap or expensive a flight will be can vary a bit by destination. For example, if you want to visit Kyoto in Japan during the cherry blossom season, you cannot expect to find cheap flights, even if you book months in advance!

Cheapest time to book

There are different theories on the best time to book based on the type of flight you are after. If you need to fly during the peak and holiday season, the best time to start looking is as soon as the flights are released by airlines (usually 11-12 months in advance).

For other times of the year, the “sweet spot” varies a lot, but this is usually what works best:

  • Domestic flights: 1 to 3 months in advance
  • International flights: 4 to 8 months in advance
Is there a best day to fly?

Years ago, airlines would add more fares on Tuesdays, which is why you will find many websites telling you to book on that day. Today, airlines load new fares all the time, which means there is no perfect day to book.

Usually, flying on Friday and Sunday is more expensive, as most people book on those days, and airlines and hotels tend to increase prices. So, if you can book your flights mid-week, you will likely find cheaper tickets.

8. Master travel hacking and fly for free

Woman's hands on a laptop trying to book a flight

If you are reading this, you want to find the cheapest price for your flight.

But what if I told you that you could get that same flight for free? You can, using the magical world of travel hacking!

Travel hacking has been around for a while, and it can help you to fly for free or get that incredible business class international seat for an economy price! It’s what frequent travelers and travel bloggers use to save loads of money. 

Don’t believe me? Find out how Leslie has saved hundreds of dollars using credit card reward points!

Lesley from Freedom 56 Travel

“My best tip for cheap flights is to focus most of your travel with one airline alliance group, like Star Alliance or Oneworld.

Once you pick your alliance group, you can use a credit card connected to the airline alliance you fly with the most. Use that credit for everything, but make sure you pay it off every month (to avoid being charged interest). With the sign-up bonus and monthly spending, you’ll quickly have enough points for almost-free flights.

I use American Express cards for most of my spending and convert the points to Aeroplan points, which I use on Star Alliance airlines. I recently booked two flights to Europe (in Business Class!) on Aeroplan points and paid less than $300 for both tickets!

Advanced travel hackers churn credit cards for the best sign-up bonuses and accumulate amazing amounts of points.”

If you want to become a travel hack expert, you’ll love this 100% free travel course from Ed on the ChooseFI website.

9. Budget airlines are your best friend

They are called budget airlines for a reason! If you are serious about finding the cheapest way to travel, you might have to sacrifice some comfort to save money.

So, what are you giving up? 

Typically, you will have:

  • Less legroom
  • No free food and drinks
  • No baggage allowance

Always make sure to check the fine print with budget airlines. And consider all the extras you’ll have to pay before you buy your ticket. 

Some of the extras you need to keep in mind:

  • Charges for checked bags (and now charges for hand luggage, too – see Ryanair)
  • Fees for using debit or credit cards to pay
  • Printing your boarding pass (yep, thanks Ryanair, again!)

Also, remember to check the location of your departure and arrival airport. Most budget airlines fly to smaller airports further away from the town center. It’s not a good deal to save on airfare if you then have to spend the extra money to reach your true destination. 

CanadaAsiaEurope
Flair AirlinesAir AsiaEurowings
SwoopHong Kong Express
Aigle Azur
JetlinesJeju Air
Ryanair
Air Canada RougeVanilla Air
Easyjet
Air TransatNok Air
Flybe
Porter
Peach Air
Vueling
Scoot
Norwegian Air
Spice Jet
Wizz Air
Spring Airlines
T’Way Airlines
United StatesAustralia & New Zealand
Sun Country AirlinesJetstar
Allegiant Air
Tiger Air

Frontier
Spirit Airlines
Southwest
Jet Blue

You can find even more low-cost airlines all over the world here.

TIP: If you subscribe to airline newsletters, you will get sale information ahead of everyone else and might be able to snap a bargain. Also, by signing up to Facebook pages or Twitter feeds, you might hear about great deals.

10. Mix and match

Flying with different airlines (or to different destinations!) might give you the cheapest option.

Different airlines

Some more traditional flight search engines like Expedia will only show you a return flight with the same airline. But by using websites like:

When you perform a search, they will automatically look for the cheapest route, even if it means booking your return with a different airline.

TIP: Normally, buying a return ticket is much cheaper, but you should always compare the price of two one-way tickets instead of opting straight away for a return flight! You could find a good deal!

Pick a different destination

Another great tip in the “Mix and match” category is to book a flight to a different destination. Yes, that’s right!

Check out Adam’s tip below:

Adam from Aowanders

“The single greatest deterrent to most travel plans is airfare, and as any long-term traveler can attest to, is also the biggest portion of their budget. Here in the United States, it’s slim pickings when it comes to budget airlines, but with a couple of travel hacks, you’ll discover how to find cheap flights to any destination.”

“My favorite trick to finding cheap flights is what I like to call “layover cherries.”

This is where you book a flight to one destination but intend to travel to another destination.

Let me give you an example:

Let’s say you want to fly to Denver, but the one-way flight is $183 from Minneapolis. You can find round-trip flights from Minneapolis to Salt Lake City with a Denver layover for less than $130! Or one-way tickets to Las Vegas with a Denver layover for less than $100. Simply hop off in Denver, and your ongoing seat will be sold or given to someone on standby. Win-win for you and the airline!”

11. Become a social media guru

Did you know that if you follow airlines on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, you might score some amazing deals?

When an airline opens a new route or has a juicy discount, they might first reveal the deals on their social media channels.

Another great way to be the first to know about cheap airfare tickets is to be part of Facebook groups in your area that specialize in travel or follow some of your favorite travel bloggers. They always seem to know about cheap flight prices before anyone else.

Ming Lee from Flyerism

“I am a loyal fan of a few travel bloggers on Facebook. They constantly update their followers on the latest flight deals that you may not be able to find on Skyscanner or Google Flight. Over the years, I’ve managed to snatch some really good deals.

For example, AirAsia launched a new route from Kuala Lumpur to Lanzhou (China) on March 8th. On March 7th, I saw the news on a Facebook travel page.

On the following day, at midnight, I logged into my AirAsia account and scored two return tickets to Lanzhou at just $95 per person. A few hours later, the airfare had raised considerably. Today, you would have to spend more than $300 to travel the same route as me!”

12. Travel light

Travel light and save money on your next flight

You might think that packing only a few items of clothing isn’t possible on a long flight. I used to be like you. I always packed a big suitcase, no matter where I was going: if I was away for more than three days, I needed everything!

But since I started traveling more, I learned the importance of traveling light!

Carrying only a few items with you not only helps to reduce the amount of stuff you have to wheel around (ever tried to carry a big piece of luggage in the desert?! It’s not fun!) but can also help you to save lots of money on your flight. 

And it seems I am not the only one to use this tip:

Chhavi & Amit from Mrs. Daaku Studio

“If you travel regularly, the easiest way to save money is only to carry hand baggage! You can avoid the notorious check-in baggage fees (which can range from $20-125 depending on the airline).

Besides that, many airlines offer a special price for travelers who do not want to bring in any check-in luggage. It’s also known as a “cabin baggage-only flight.” My husband and I have saved 25-50% of the regular flight ticket price by doing this.

If you can fit everything in hand baggage for international trips (which is possible!), you can save a lot and instead spend it on things that you love.”

Now you know how to find cheap flights!

Ready for your holiday?

Follow these strategies, and the next time you need to find the cheapest airfare tickets, you will save money, time, and irritation!

Do you have any other tips you would like to share? I am always open to trying new tricks!

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30 Comments

  1. Wow, it is so comprehensive!
    Thank you so much ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Verdeen โ€œ Veeโ€ Jackson says:

    This was so terrific! Thank you!
    Only one thought of a terrible experience that my daughter and husband had one time when they didnโ€™t complete their flight through to their destination because the plane was delayed and they needed to get to a wedding so they rented a car and didnโ€™t travel the last short leg of the flight. So the airline canceled their return flight.. so if youโ€™re doing that you should probably book 2 one waysโ€ฆ

  3. Barbara Rivera says:

    Love all this info but a lot to take in but I save this and can go back and read it again. I found great ways to save money in ways I never knew thank you . I hope to use this insight soon

  4. Nicos Bouman says:

    Very interesting site with a lot of information However, It needs some study.

  5. Alexa John says:

    I would like to thank the author for sharing this amazing blog about booking cheap flights. The above information is really amazing and beneficial for everyone traveling through flights. Keep sharing this kind of blog an keep updating us with this kind of amazing and beneficial information.

  6. JERRY PETERSON says:

    Thank you for sharing this excellent blog! I enjoyed reading it thoroughly. You are a great writer. I will save your blog in my bookmarks to revisit it soon. I would like for you to continue producing excellent blog posts. Have a wonderful weekend. If anyone want to travel in the US via air then you can connect with VootFly

  7. Now everything has changed, almost all flight tickets have become very cheap because of the effects of the pandemic, but it seems the tips above are very cool, tips that are very rarely known by people, because maybe this is your personal experience, very cool tips, don’t stop giving other tips

    1. Thanks so much, Steven ๐Ÿ™‚ Yes, things have changed so much during the pandemic. And yes, all of these tips are based on my personal experience! I will try to always give as many genuine tips as possible!

  8. Nice post! Without a doubt, one of the most complex situations we can find ourselves in is taking cheap flights, these change by the second. Applause for this post that will surely be of help to several travelers!

  9. Carey Brimmer says:

    My husband & I are planning a trip from DFW to SEA to see/meet my new grandson (1/2yrs old), we DON’T FLY, like ever! Our ignorance is not bliss. Us being retired & on such a fixed income, we’ve literally been saving for about a year just to come up with the money for the plane tickets – that being said all of these useful & helpful tips are a godsend. Thank you, I appreciate your help & wish me luck.

    1. Good luck, Carey! That’s amazing that you are going to meet your new grandson ๐Ÿ™‚ I hope these tips will be helpful and let you save some money!

  10. I didn’t know about these tips to find cheap flights, especially with the incognito window you have to open with your browser, Great Idea…

    Thanks for sharing this, and keep up the good work.

    1. Thank you, Boyan! Glad you found it useful! And as much as some people say it doesn’t make a difference to look for flights in incognito, it really does. I saw it with my own eyes on several occasions and saved a lot of money by doing that.

  11. These are awesome tips! I have been browsing airlines so much lately. I really could have used some of these ideas!

    1. Thank you so much, Divine ๐Ÿ™‚
      I love your website!

      It’s just the comment plugin, don’t worry! It’s not CAPS!

  12. I enjoyed reading this and im now reading to book my flights. Some of the apps and sites you mentioned are new to me.
    Thanks for this.

  13. FITnancials says:

    I still can’t believe airlines will jack the price up if you look for the flight often. That’s so shady to me!

    1. Thanks for stopping by! ๐Ÿ™‚ I love your blog! It’s not just airlines! The other day I was trying to buy a train ticket and the transaction didn’t go through. Tried again and bang, the price was up by $50 a ticket (and I was trying to buy 5 tickets). That would have been another $250 if I didn’t know what I was doing!!! They are super shady!

  14. Hey Sara! great tips on travel hacks! I’m personally not the best at finding travel deals, but you’ll be my go-to person ๐Ÿ˜‰

    I also read from somewhere that if you check at 6am in the morning your time, it will be cheaper. They said that sometimes they just jack up the price 3-4 hours later. I had no idea about that.

    Overall, thanks for sharing!

    1. Feel free to ask at any time! I would love to help if I can! ๐Ÿ™‚
      I din’t know about checking prices at 6am. I will definetly try it out and see if that is true!
      Thank you!