Travel planning requires a lot of time and can sometimes feel like a part-time job. Once you’ve decided where you’re going, it’s time to start looking for and booking flights. The flights are usually the most expensive part of the trip, along with the cost of accommodation. Over the years I’ve narrowed down my flight booking process for finding flights for my trips. Follow my tips below on how to book flights like a pro!
Book Flights Like A Pro: Google Flights
Google Flights: The first place I go when booking flights is Google Flights. There are several things I love about Google Flights. Just put in where you’re flying out of and where you want to go, along with the dates, and Google Flights will give you all the options with all the airlines. It even lists them in order from cheapest to most expensive. You can even choose to only see flights on certain airlines or alliances. We all have our favorites!
Google Flights Tracking Option
Google Flights also has a price tracking option. Once you do a search for a flight, you can opt to get notifications of when prices are going up, or down. This is great if you don’t really have any plans set in stone and are willing to wait for the right price.
I like to use this to gauge when prices are at the lowest at certain points throughout the year. Let’s say I want to plan a trip to Turkey but I don’t know what time during the year is the cheapest time to go. I can set up a notification and Google Flights will notify me when prices go up and down. This gives me an idea of the cheapest time of year to travel there so I can plan a future trip. You can set up notifications for as many places as you want.
Google Flights Explore Feature
I also love Google Flights explore feature. This feature lets you put in where you’re flying from and to choose a flexible time in the next 6 months to go anywhere in the world. Then you can pick a region on the world map zooming in and out of areas to see what prices are during that timeframe. It’s a great option if you are open to just going somewhere new but are on a tight budget.
Book Flights Like A Pro: Kayak
Kayak: I don’t just rely on Google Flights though. Once I have a price there, I then head over to Kayak to see if they have a better rate. Sometimes, but not always, another booking site will show better fares.
Kayak Price Trend Option
If you want to book flights like a pro, you have to check other options. Don’t just rely on one site. Kayak will show you price trends that tell you if prices might be lower in the future or if the price on booking those flights are likely to go up. When you do a search for a flight, it will let you know if you should buy now (prices will likely go up), or if you might be able to hold off because they expect the price to go down.
Like Google Flights, Kayak also has an explore feature so you can find a place to go anywhere in the world for a good price.
Kayak Color Coded Calendar
Another thing about Kayak that I love is their color coding pricing on their calendar. You can see if it’s actually cheaper to fly one day earlier or later, or even a week or a month later. It’s really convenient for helping us save money!
Book Flights Like A Pro: Airline Websites
Finally, once I see a good price on a deal on a third-party site, I go directly to the airline’s website to check the pricing there. It could be a few dollars cheaper but if you can book directly with the airline, that’s always best. By booking with the airline it will help if you need to make changes. I’ve booked with a third-party site before and needed to make changes and the airline couldn’t help me because I didn’t book through them. That’s something to always keep in mind.
You also want to consider if the lowest price is the best option. Sometimes this price doesn’t include luggage, seat choice, and no option to make changes if needed. Read all the fine print before booking.
Google Flights and Kayak are not the only booking sites for flights, just the ones that are my favorites. There are many other sites out there that are just as reliable and you should check around to find which one you like best. Here are some other popular flight booking sites.
Other Flight Booking Sites
Expedia – Expedia is an Online Travel Agency (OTA) that searches airlines for tickets. It doesn’t always have the best prices but they do have a rewards program. Again, always check several sites before booking.
Skyscanner – This is a travel search engine that shows the flights and links to another website to complete the purchase. You can set price alerts and opt for flexible dates.
Momondo – similar to Kayak and will shows price trends as well as showing if maybe flying a day earlier or later will save money.
Travelocity – another OTA that scours airlines for the best flight deals.
Priceline – another OTA and is popular for it’s Name Your Own Price tool. Details are usually hidden until after your book but if you’re feeling adventurous then it might work for you.
There are many websites out there that have tons of features to help you get deals on booking flights. Once you figure out which sites you like best and has the features you want, you will book flights like a pro in no time!
Booking Flights like a Pro Final Thoughts
- Plan ahead and start tracking prices early for good deals
- Compare prices for flights on several websites including airline sites
- Once your flight is booked, continue trip planning hotels, transportation, and activities
You can read how I plan my trips in my 12 steps to planning a trip. Planning ahead will always make your trip go much smoother.