There are few things in life that are as enriching as travel. Seeing foreign countries, new landscapes, and learning about different cultures and practices is truly one of the most incredible experiences you could give yourself. But what can take a trip from good to incredible, are great ticket fares and low travel costs—something that all travelers agree on.
It’s true, getting to destinations that are far from you geographically will naturally cost more, but you can do a lot to ensure you’re getting the best flight deal and the greatest value for your money. From extensive flight searchability options to the lowest rates, choosing the right site to book your flights with is imperative to elevating your entire travel experience.
For many, choosing the right site comes down to the search features on offer: how easy it is to find relevant flights, and how extensive the filter options are.
One site in particular that offers an effective search is Hipmunk. Launched in 2010, the consumer-oriented site is relatively new to the flight deal scene. Coining its service as “your free personal travel agent,” you simply input your city of departure, desired destination city, travel dates and the amount of travelers. You then have the ability to choose other sites to compare rates to. You can search by airlines, airports, classes and stops — like many sites — but what sets Hipmunk apart is that you can select a whole trip, or just a leg of a trip and build your own flight from start to finish to ensure you get the best rates.
Another site that offers extensive search filters is Skyscanner. Like Hipmunk, you start your search with your beginning and ending locations, travel dates, and amount of travelers. You can then search for nearby airports, which allows you to get to your desired location for the lowest price. After the site has aggregated the relevant flights, you can use slider bars to easily adjust the outbound and return times, as well as trip duration. Though the site doesn’t allow you to search for flexible dates, it does have a calendar search that shows you pricing for the whole month and where prices fluctuate.
For Those Who Prioritize Customer Service
Aside from searchability of flights, customer service is a top priority for many travelers and ticket buyers, something that not many sites offer. Expedia takes service seriously and this can be seen in its support section of its website where it has feedback and customer support as subcategories.
The feedback tab allows you to leave reviews on hotels you may have booked through the site, give suggestions for improvements of the Expedia site, and read FAQ’s and travel support articles. All of the options are Expedia’s way of gaining feedback from you, the customer, in order to continually improve and satisfy your experience on its site. The customer support tab takes you to a page that offers forums on things to do while on your trip, travel alerts, train stations that may help you commute while on your trip and more. You can also select from popular topics like “online flight check-in” and “change or cancel your car rental.” If you’re in need of more assistance, you can also choose to have an Expedia customer service representative contact you to help. You just input a bit of information regarding your matter or request, and then choose to have a representative either call or email you. If your matter is more urgent, you can call locally or from abroad using the provided support phone numbers.
Airfarewatchdog also has a vast FAQ and forum section. Since the site is fairly simple and aims to keep costs to a minimum, it doesn’t offer phone support, but it does offer excellent online support. Aside from its users guides that pretty much answer any question you could possibly have, Airfarewatchdog sends out a newsletter with even more information about travel in general and best booking practices. It also encourages users to post comments or questions on its public Facebook page so that everyone can benefit from the answer. If you have a more personal matter, you can email support for a fast query response.
Best Sites Budget-Wise
If you’re willing to compromise on things like inflight entertainment, snacks and comfort, and are simply interested in the best price available, you should use Cheapoair, Momondo, or The Flight Deal.
With its best price guarantee, Cheapoair is one of the most budget-conscious sites available. It offers good deals on flights whose starting and ending destination you already know, but it offers even better deals on more spontaneous flights, ones whose destination you may not have decided on yet. It has sections on its website dedicated to helping you find good and cheap travel deals. From “today’s flight deals,” which displays tickets ranging from $77 for Denver to Las Vegas and $509 for New York to Dublin, and other categories like “last minute flights” and “flights under $199,” you’ll be sure to score rates you may not have come across in a targeted search.
The Flight Deal will also bring you the best and most budget-friendly deals in its own way. With the tagline, “Just because it’s a great fare doesn’t mean it’s a great deal,” the site will only publish fares that meet its simple criterion of 6 cents per mile or less. Choose international flights that depart from main US cities, offered at some of the best rates available.
For a simple and straightforward site, check out Google Flights, which lets you find and reserve flights from specific carriers easily. It uses algorithms to analyze price trends and ensure that you get the best price possible. Google Flights informs you of this information by flashing a red box that tells you how much the fare may increase and how soon it can happen. It also spotlights travel plans and routes that have the best combination of price, flight duration and stops, while a map, calendar and bar-graph tool help you find cheaper destinations and travel dates. Google Flights gets all of its data from ITA Matrix, another flight search site operated by Google’s travel industry department. Google Flights has more options and a nicer display but ITA Matrix is a basic and extremely straightforward way to search for flights and deals using filters, such as cost per mile and real time flights, and also has a nice interactive calendar that helps you explore fares and compare flights using color-coded time bars.
Kayak is also skilled at helping you bite the bullet and choose a flight. Its price predictor, like that of Google Flights, forecasts whether fares of a specific flight will go up or down. You just enter your desired locations and dates, and the site will tell you whether to wait for a better price or buy now. It’s extremely simple and helps you finalize your trip and ensure you’ve gotten the best deal.
To ensure you receive the best flight deals for you trip, choose the site that’s right for you and your needs. Whether searchability, customer service, price, or usability, a solution fit for you is out there!