How to find the cheapest flights so you can travel the world for very little money.
Flying around the world does not have to be expensive. For all those people who have the urge to travel, but are stuck with the notion that traveling is too expensive, I am here to share some magical advice for you.
Budget travel is possible, and it is very easy once you get the basics down.
Often, airfare is the biggest expense while traveling, especially is you are flying to the other side of the world. I know a lot of people in the USA don’t even consider traveling abroad because they think flights are too expensive.
With this article, I will describe exactly how to find the cheapest flights abroad. I have been using these tips for years now and am able to consistently find cheap flights to any destination around the world.
TIP 1: USE SKYSCANNER TO FIND THE CHEAPEST FLIGHTS
Skyscanner.com is by far the best website for finding cheap flights abroad. It is very straightforward and easy to use, and works well from a computer, smartphone or tablet. Skyscanner has certain features that make finding cheap flights very simple. I’ll explain these features in more detail later on.
Google Flights is another website that works for finding cheap flights. It works the same as Skyscanner, but I think the layout of Google Flights is a bit confusing so I prefer Skyscanner.
Secret Flying offers random cheap deals and error fares, meaning if an airline makes a mistake when pricing their flights, you can sometimes still purchase that insanely cheap flight on Secret Flying. This website isn’t reliable because it only has cheap deals for random places at random times, but it is worth checking just in case there is a deal for the flight you want.
But in my last 4 years of traveling, I ALWAYS have success with Skyscanner. I 100% recommend this website for finding the cheapest flights.
TIP 2: LEARN HOW TO SEARCH FOR THE CHEAPEST FLIGHT
Once you’ve logged into Skyscanner.com, here is exactly how you find the cheapest flights.
Skyscanner allows you to see every possible destination from your departure airport so you can pick the absolute cheapest flight. You can also see flight prices for every day for the whole month, so you can pick the absolute cheapest day to fly.
I will demonstrate how these features work now.
In the Skyscanner search bar, select your departure airport. For this article I’ll be using Boston as my departure airport.
When selecting where you are flying to, just click the box and before you type anything in, an option for “Everywhere” will pop up. If you select “Everywhere”, the search results will list everywhere you can possible fly to, starting from the cheapest destination.
Once you have selected “Everywhere” as your destination, you have to select flight dates. If you have specific days that you have to fly, of course you can pick those dates. But if you have a bit of time flexibility, you can keep the dates open-ended to see flight prices for every single day.
Next to the option for “Specific Date”, select “Whole Month”.
If you know which month you want to travel, select that month. If you are very flexible, select “Cheapest Month” so see what time of the year has the cheapest flights.
If you are booking a return flight, you can also select an entire month, or the cheapest month for the flight back home as well. This ensures you pick the cheapest flights to and from your destination.
Once you have finished these steps, your search should look like this:
The results for a search like this can be fascinating.
The following photo shows the cheapest flights from Boston to Everywhere, for the Cheapest Month.
You can fly around the USA for only $15, and you can leave the country for $72. You can visit South America, Central America, or Canada for LESS THAN $100.
This feature of searching for the cheapest month is great for those who crave a vacation, but don’t have a specific time frame. If you are truly looking to save money, you can plan your vacation around the cheapest flights.
The list of cheap flights from Boston to Everywhere continues beyond the first page of results. In the next photo, you’ll find that you can fly to Europe for $111. A flight to Spain, the UK or Ireland can be the same price as an expensive night out in Boston.
So for one weekend, skip out on Ubers, drinks, and club cover charges and you’ll have saved enough money to fly to Europe. THAT IS AMAZING!
Scrolling even further down the results page, you’ll find the first affordable long-haul flights. You can fly from Boston to China for only $313, probably the same cost as two expensive nights out in the city.
A flight from Boston to Morocco costs less than $300. Let’s just say I was dying to travel to Morocco, so I selected that flight. In the following search results, the cheapest month is November 2019.
Notice how Skyscanner shows the flight prices for every single day of the month. The cheapest flights are green, the decently priced flights are yellow and the most expensive flights are red. Now it is easy for me to pick the cheapest flight of the whole month.
So I could literally fly to Morocco less than two weeks from now and spend less than $300 on that flight.
Once you select the day you want to fly, Skyscanner will show you the actual flight options for that day, including the airlines, the flight times and the stopover times.
When searching for the cheapest flights abroad, just accept that you will usually have a stopover. Direct flights are often more expensive, so if you’re willing to sacrifice a bit of time for a cheaper flight, do it.
Once I select November 14th as the cheapest day to fly to Morocco, the next page shows that the actual flight is even cheaper than originally stated. The flight from Boston to Marrakech is now only $245. The entire travel time is 17 hours, but the flight price is worth it.
Let’s use another example.
Say I have a specific destination in mind, with a specific month I want to travel.
Say I want to visit London in December. So back in the Skyscanner search bar, I would select London as my destination, and December 2019 as the month for my departing and returning flights.
The search results show the entire month of December, again with the cheapest flights in green.
As you’ll see, I can fly to London for as cheap as $133.
Because this is a round-trip flight, the prices of the return flights will change depending on the day you choose to depart.
So the cheapest day to leave may not be the cheapest round-trip. Just play around and select different dates to see which combination comes out the cheapest overall. In this scenario, after trying different dates I found a round-trip flight from December 2nd to December 12th for only $323 total.
London is a very convenient travel destination from Boston, as the flight is only 6-7 hours and it is easy to find direct flights.
Norweigan is the best airline to fly from the Boston to London. It is very cheap and has easy, direct flights.
So that is a step by step explanation for how to find the cheapest flights abroad by using Skyscanner.
TIP 3: DOUBLE CHECK EVERY FLIGHT DIRECTLY WITH THE AIRLINE
After finding a cheap flight on Skyscanner, when you go to buy the flight you’ll often be redirected to a booking agent.
I recommend seeing which airline the flight uses, and checking on the airline website directly to compare the prices. So for that Boston to London flight, I would go to Norweigan Air’s website, search the same dates and compare the prices.
Sometimes the flights are listed for cheaper with the airline itself. Sometimes the flights are cheaper through a booking agent. But it’s always worth checking. Even if you save a few dollars by booking directly with the airline, this is an important habit to have if you want to consistently find the cheapest flights abroad.
TIP 4: BECOME FAMILIAR WITH BUDGET AIRLINES
Budget airlines are gift from the gods when it comes to traveling cheaply. As I briefly described with Norweigan, certain airlines are notorious for offering affordable flights, and it is worth familiarizing yourself with those airlines.
For example, Europe is full of budget airlines like RyanAir, WizzAir and EasyJet. They all offer super cheap flights around Europe; the cheapest flight I’ve ever purchased in my life was from London to Romania for $6 with RyanAir.
Budget airlines have to make their money somehow, so they often charge extra for baggage, food and drinks on board, selecting your seat, and any other little thing. Read airline policies carefully to make sure you don’t get charged extra for anything. All the extra fees are easily avoidable if you pay attention and come prepared.
For example, if you don’t print your boarding pass at home before a flight, RyanAir charges $30 to print your boarding pass at the airport. This is absurd, but it is also easy to just make sure you print your boarding pass at home. So always check if your airline has any random policies that you may get charged for.
Similarly, to save money on buying food and drinks on the airplane, bring you own. Just research whether your airline provides food beforehand and pack accordingly.
Another example is Spirit Airlines and their baggage policy. This is one of the most affordable airlines in the USA and around. I flew from Florida to Costa Rica for $100 two years ago, and just last month I flew from Boston to Guatemala for $120, both using Spirit.
However, Spirit Airlines allows each passenger only one personal item on board. Any checked baggage, or even a carry-on bag larger than a personal item, costs at least $20 extra.
Below is the chart for baggage costs with Spirit Airlines for a flight from Boston to Guatemala. The flight initially costs only $127, which is crazy cheap. If you need to bring extra bags, the cheapest way to do it is checking a bag and paying for it during booking, so it will only cost $26.
See how the bag prices increase the longer you wait. Always research your airlines baggage policy beforehand to see how much you’ll be paying for extra bags.
The best way to save money while flying budget airlines: PACK LESS!
More often than not, people over-pack for trips. Having less stuff while you travel not only saves you money, it is way more convenient. Learning to pack lightly can save you HUNDREDS of dollars in the long run if you consistently fly cheap, budget airlines.
TIP 5: TRAVEL DURING OFF-SEASON
Though Skyscanner can help you find cheap flights abroad all year round, every country has a peak season and an off season. It is usually cheapest to fly during the off season.
Peak season is when the country is the most popular for travelers. This usually revolves around the weather. For example, Australia is the best during summer, which is December through February. Flying to Australia during these months is overall more expensive because the demand for flights is higher.
Flying to Australia during the winter, June through August, is significantly cheaper because it is off season and less people want to travel during that time.
Flying to Europe is also more expensive during the summer (June through August). This is mainly because people are on holidays, so more people are vacationing around Europe.
The weather can be very hot during European summer, so the best time to visit Europe is actually during the shoulder season, which is April & May, or September & October. Flight prices vary at these times of the year, so you can still find cheap flights with decent weather during shoulder season.
Just look at this comparison: The first photo shows flights from London to “Everywhere” in the winter. The cheapest flights are all less than $13.
Now look at the flights from London to “Everywhere” during the summer. There is one cheap flight, but every other flight has jumped up to $25 because summer is peak season to travel around Europe.
If money saving is your biggest priority, fly during the off season and sacrifice a bit of warm weather for cheaper flights.
Sometimes the price differences from peak season to off season may not seem too substantial. The above example only shows about a $10 increase for flights during summer.
But sticking to this habit will help you save lots of money over time if you travel often. Off season usually means less crowds and cheaper prices for tourist attractions as well. So I find off season travel to be even more enjoyable for those reasons in addition to cheap flights.
Those are all my most important tips for finding cheap flights abroad!
I hope this article was helpful, and for anyone interested in reading even more budget travel tips you can check out these articles: