As a travel blogger and digital nomad, I book a lot of flights. And it can get really expensive really quickly.
Although I often fly using rewards from my travel credit cards, I also purchase flights on booking websites from time to time.
If you’re trying to balance rent, student loans, and other bills, you might think you don’t have enough money to travel. But because transportation is usually a big portion of the cost, a cheap plane ticket can put your trip in closer reach.
Over the years, I’ve come to rely on a handful of excellent websites and tools that allow me to find cheap plane tickets, and I’ll share them with you below.
7 websites for booking cheap plane tickets
Here are my favorite flight-booking sites when I’m looking to travel on a budget.
1. ITA Software Matrix
I’m obsessed with this site because it allows you to search multiple departure and arrival cities as well as a wide range of dates. There’s even an option to see a calendar of lowest fares for an entire month. Overall, it’s the most flexible flight search engine I’ve found.
Searching on Skiplagged might make you feel like a travel hacker. That’s because it finds flights no other site does, such as hidden-city fares.
Here’s an example: Say you want to fly from Portland to San Francisco. While other search engines would show only flights to SFO, Skiplagged will show one-way flights that have layovers in SFO (if they’re cheaper). To make this work, you’d simply get off in SFO and book a separate one-way flight for your return.
3. Google Flights
If you need cheap last-minute plane tickets and don’t want to do a lot of legwork, Google Flights is a great choice. It uses the same software ITA does (albeit with fewer customization options) and is user-friendly.
My favorite feature is the ability to “explore destinations”; you select a month and trip length, and it shows you potential destinations and ticket prices. Perfect for daydreaming!
When it comes to international flights, you can occasionally find amazing deals on Momondo.
It searches a variety of online travel agents (OTAs) other sites don’t, which sometimes leads to lower prices.
Just be aware that flights aren’t ticketed immediately, so you shouldn’t make any nonrefundable plans until the airlines have confirmed your booking.
I don’t use Skyscanner often, but since several friends swear by it, I thought I should include it.
Like ITA Software Matrix, Skyscanner offers the ability to search flights over the course of an entire month. Plus, you can set your destination as “everywhere” for inspiration on where to go.
6. Scott’s Cheap Flights
Scott’s Cheap Flights is an email newsletter, not a website or app. Even so, it’s worth signing up for because Scott finds insane deals on flights — multiple times a week — and emails you when he does.
If you’re not too fussy about when (or where) you travel, you might snag a serious bargain. Recent deals include round-trip flights to Southeast Asia, Copenhagen, and Paris in the $400s!
If you’re not searching for a last-minute ticket, give Hopper a look. This app’s superpower is its ability to predict whether fares will rise or drop.
When you search an itinerary, it’ll tell you whether you should buy or wait. Then, if a particularly good fare pops up, it’ll send you an alert.
Although traveling can be expensive, finding a cheap plane ticket can make your dream trip more attainable. Click here to read more tips for traveling on a budget.
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