Searching for the best flight deals can be a pain, but if you’re planning for summer vacation on a budget, it’s time to start your search now. We’ve narrowed down some of the best sites to run your price comparisons and a few of these will also let you set up low fare price alerts to your email inbox. There’re a variety of tools that cater to local and international flight research so make sure you check out a few and find the best one for you!
This may be a surprising first (or not) to list but I’ve been using Google flights more and more recently. Their fare comparison tool is accurate, reliable, and they run prices across all trusted airlines (not including Southwest which is the norm with most flight price comparison sites). For more in-depth fare information, try Google Flight Explorer to see when is the best time to travel or book your flight for top destinations.
For those traveling domestically within the U.S., it's best to just run your own search on Southwest.com. If you have flexible traveling dates, try their Low Fare Calendar to see what days are the cheapest for traveling!
Google will also let you know if fares are cheaper based on different nearby airports and display the entire list of best flight deals for your preferred destination. Not limited to flight search, you can also use tools like Google Trips and Google My Map to plan your entire trip!
If you’ve never seen Skiplagged, you could be missing out on major fare deals. Skiplagged is a pro-consumer travel site that uncovers airfares across all major airlines not found elsewhere. One of their famed features is being able to find those pesky but cheap multi-stop flights where one of the stops being your actual destination. It's a win-win situation.
This is one of the best travel deal sites for all you travel junkies out there. If you haven’t checked it out, DO IT NOW. You can’t search by destination on TFD, the staff here scopes out the cheapest fares for top destinations and it’s updated every day with new hot fares. I’m talking $490 roundtrip flight from LA to Tokyo, Japan hot. Sign up for their newsletter to get their latest updates and look out for your dream destination on TFD!
An example of airfare deals that can be found at theflightdeal.com
If you're scoping out deals for your next adventure and it doesn't matter where The Points Guy (TPG) has a deal page just like The Flight Deal that displays airline flash sales and best round-trip deals from and to various destinations. Each post contains various resources and tips on how to run your search to get the low fare value and TPG also list recommended booking links and payment options to maximize your travels. Aside from travel deals, you can also browse their blog for flight reviews, best-of travel lists, travel guides, and top credit cards for travel rewards. If you're in search of a credit card with outstanding travel benefits, try the TPG Maximizer. This feature from TCP helps you determine which existing credit cards you have that earns the best travel rewards/discounts and makes recommendations for other credit cards based on your credit score, preferred airline & hotel chain, warehouse club membership, and etc. Try it now!
Our go-to for setting up low fare price alerts. Simply enter your destination, hit ‘Find Fares’. On the next page, you’ll see a ‘Get Free Fare Alerts’ box on the right side where you can opt in for email alerts. You can also check back daily on their homepage for top fares from your departing city.
According to some travel enthusiasts, Hipmunk (a part of The Priceline Group) is the better option if you’re not a fan of Kayak or Priceline. With a simple and easy to use the search option, Hipmunk will do the job of flight price comparison including Amtrak schedules and Airbnb accommodations.
Kayak and Priceline are still two of the top sites to run a through flight comparison search. Plus, Priceline has their Name Your Own Price feature if you’re flexible on airline and departure/arrival time and dates. Using this feature can save you up to 40% off and opt for vacation packages can save you up to an extra $500 off. Moreover, Priceline's Name Your Own Price is also available for hotels and rentals cars so you can easily place a bid to get the best price on your entire trip.
Insider secret alert: this is actually how The Flight Deal runs some of their low fare flight research. Matrix is powered by a Google software to bring you low international fares. This is highly recommended for international fare research as Matrix only runs comparisons between Delta, Alaska Airlines, and American Airlines.
Possibly one of the most thorough flight research tool we’ve found. Hopper helps you conduct a thorough price analysis on your destinations which include: the month that fares are lowest/highest, which airline has the lowest fares, what day is best to fly out for greater savings and much more. See an example of someone traveling from New York City to Orlando below.
See more of this example research from New York City (JFK) to Orlando (MCO) at hopper and run your own research report now! Hopper also offers a bevy of additional tools you can use when researching best times to book and figuring out airline fees. To see all of their available free tools, click here.
One of the top flight fare research tool and we highly recommend this one if you’re searching for low international fares. Momondo runs a thorough search across multiple international airlines and has various vital booking information displayed on their page to help you narrow down the best fares.
After you punching in your flight details and running the search, you will then have access to an estimated travel fare price chart for each day shown above on the results page. In the top right-hand corner “Flight Insight for (departing city) to (destination)”, they also break down when fares are cheapest, how far in advance to book, cheapest airlines (as shown above) and so on. Click on the top navigational bar from the flight insight page (after running your search) for more detailed information. You also have the option to set up Fare Alerts! You can also run even more research on hotels and car rental at Momondo.
Here’s a tip on how best to utilize Skyscanner. If you’re starting your research months in advance, run your search like this:
From: select your departing city
To: leave empty or Flexible (anywhere)
Depart and Return: select Cheapest Month
Here is a low fare research departing from New York (any airport) to any country.
From the results page, click on the country you plan to visit, click on your preferred low fare roundtrip deal (green arrows) and you will be redirected to a low fare calendar.
Running this search will give you a nice breakdown of the lowest airfares for select countries (prices displayed are roundtrip fares) and if you click on the country you would like to visit, a low fare calendar will be displayed on the next page.
Adioso is one of the best flight search tools we've come across with amazing user experience. No cluttered filters, easy-to-read content, and straight forward deal prices for those who love simplified navigation. Like Skyscanner, you can also run a search for the cheapest international travel from your preferred airport departure location. Once you run your search, Adioso will generate a grid view of prices available for the most popular international destination based on your departure location and date ranges.
CheapAir.com has a rather simple site layout that is easy to navigate. However, one of their best features is their "When to Buy Flights" tool. CheapAir compiled past data on over 8,000 popular markets including billions of trips made.
Example of a low fare research from San Jose to Seattle
Using this information, they'll be able to tell you the optimal time for the lowest airfare by advance purchase days. Try their tool now!
SeatGuru is a service provided by TripAdvisor that leverage data on plane configurations provide you with in-depth aircraft details when you run your flight search. Unlike other typical flight comparison tool, SeatGuru dish out information on aircraft amenities (in-flight amenities, an overview of individual aircraft, photos, legroom, outlets, Wi-Fi, etc) and you can check out their Seat Map feature here. For international flights, comfort is key and SeatGuru has a wide list of Comparison Charts that'll help you find the best short and long-haul flight with specific details on seat pitch and width, outlets, seatback TVs, and more! Since it is a TripAdvisor company, SeatGuru also displays TripAdvisor reviews and you can browse flights by FlyScore to help determine which airfare combination is ranked the best.
Although a relatively underrated flight search site, I recently booked an international trip to Asia using Vayama and out of all the tools on this list (and I did try nearly all of them), Vayama found the best low fare deal for international destinations. Their site search and comparison functions are easy to use and you can access a number of filtering options to help you scope out direct flights, alternative airports and lowest fare based on airlines available for your trip. Another thing of note, they also provide outstanding customer service via email. I had accidentally booked a flight twice and they responded with a cancellation notice within 24 hours. No fees charged.
Whether or not you're a frequent flyer, you can also always find more ways to save with the right credit card in hand. Whether you're looking for a card with extra reward miles, bonus points, introductory offers, no foreign transaction fees, or more, try WhizWallet to find the ideal credit card for you!
There it is! These top-flight research tools are a must for anyone preparing for a big trip or just scoping out weekend getaway deals. Have any more travel tools tips and resources? Share it with fellow travelers in the comments below! Want more news on travel and shopping hacks? Sign up as DealsPlus member for best daily deals and news to help you save!