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How to Find Cheap Flights

19 December 2012 18,236 views 12 Comments
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If you’re looking for cheap flights, how would you go about it? A lot of my readers have asked me this question; as a backpacker, I’m always looking out for the best deals, and usually, I do get them using several strategies.

Skyscanner

For domestic trips, I’m always updated with regards to seat sales. I have found the best deals so far with local budget airlines (P50 for a return trip to Davao City from Manila!). What happens is that I go directly to the airlines’ websites and compare prices manually. However, this strategy takes time (especially since I have a slow internet connection), and I’m limited only to the airlines that I know.

Qatar Airways

I found cheap flights to Europe via Skyscanner.

For my international trips, therefore, I use another strategy to find cheap flights: I go to the flight search engine Skyscanner. It allows me to compare flight prices per location and date, covering a lot of airlines in one go.

There are other websites offering this service, but I have always turned to Skyscanner because it’s very easy to use. The features are intuitive, and when I wanted to change the search parameters, I didn’t have to go back to the homepage to start all over again.

Yeepeng Festival

I looked for cheap flights to Thailand to observe the Floating Lantern festival.

Here’s how I found cheap flights through Skyscanner for my trip to Thailand last month, to observe the Yee Peng Floating Lantern Festival in Chiang Mai.

First, I went to the site, Skyscanner, and in the search field, I entered “From: Manila” and “To: Bangkok” plus the inclusive dates of my travel. After pressing Enter, I got the following result, with the cheapest flight at P14,155 from Cebu Pacific. The other flights from Tiger Airways and Philippine Airlines were more expensive, at P16,357 and P17,565 respectively.

Skyscanner

First search showed expensive flights.

Still, I found P14,000+ to be over my budget, so I decided to do another search, this time changing the From field to “From: Clark” but using the same destination and the same dates. The following results came up:

Skyscanner

By changing the airport of origin, I finally found tickets I can afford.

Tiger Airways was the cheapest at P8,396, followed by Tiger + AirAsia (P13,701) and AirAsia + Tiger (P14,207). I decided to take the first choice (of course), and clicked on “Select.”

Now, this is why I love Skyscanner. You don’t book through the site; you just use it to compare flights. Their charge for your use of their site is zero. When you choose a flight (by clicking “Select”), you will be taken directly to that airline’s website where you can do your booking. Other websites don’t have this feature!

Skyscanner

Skyscanner transfers you to your airline of choice—free of charge.

Skyscanner

Booking will then be done on the airline’s website.

I first used Skyscanner when I was looking for cheap flights to Belgium from Manila, and I used it again when I was already in Europe, not having any idea what budget airlines were flying from Italy to Belgium.

I got the cheapest ticket possible—only 30 euros from Verona to Brussels! If I didn’t know about the site, I wouldn’t have gotten the deal. It’s no wonder, then, that Skyscanner was included in the list of the best websites for travel by The Telegraph in 2009 and was called the best site to compare flights in Europe by MSNBCnews.

So next time you want to find cheap flights, you already know what to do.

How about you? What’s your strategy for finding cheap flights for your travels?


 Aleah Taboclaon is a freelance writer and editor. She likes running (completed one marathon, training for the next!), diving (PADI open water diver), and traveling with her Kindle. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus. You can also email her; she would love to hear from you!


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12 Comments »

  • Traveling Ted said:

    I often use CheapoAir, but I will give Skyscanner a shot next time.
    Traveling Ted recently posted..Anaconda envy in the Iwokrama Rainforest, Guyana

  • Salika Jay said:

    Nice tips to find cheap flights. I usually use CheapOAir when booking flights from Canada, and so far I’ve got the best prices from them. I found that prices are usually lower when traveling between Tuesday through Thursday. Also the prices are quite low if you check prices in the late night hours.
    Salika Jay recently posted..Banff National Park Photos

  • Aleah said:

    @ Ted: Have heard so much negative publicity about CheapoAir. Skyscanner is better because you don’t book with them, they take you to the airline’s website itself, so there’s no misrepresentation of fees or anything.
    @ Salika Jay: Good tips on the booking days and time! I have noticed that too. :)
    Aleah recently posted..How to Find Cheap Flights

  • Alice said:

    Great tips, Aleah. I wonder, how far in advance do you plan your trips, esp the trips overseas? I am a beginner blogger and traveler, so I am very green at this. Would appreciate all the help that I can get! =)

    Thanks! Alice
    Alice recently posted..My Experiences: The Right Travel Partner for the trip YOU planned

  • Aleah said:

    @ Alice: I use budget airlines a lot, and for those, I need to book months in advance and wait for seat sales. There’s a lot of LCCs operating here in the Philippines, so I’m lucky. As a beginning blogger, you’re doing well already by reading other blogs and interacting with fellow bloggers. You will learn more that way :D
    Aleah recently posted..How to Find Cheap Flights

  • paul | walkflypinoy.com said:

    Skyscanner’s great. Pretty nifty with the comparison tools and even the trending tools. I even get to use it for the travel writing work that I do.
    paul | walkflypinoy.com recently posted..Hoi An, the Prettiest Little Town That I Ever Did See

  • Aleah said:

    @ Paul: I don’t know about the trending part, but yeah, I find it really useful when I’m not booking via Cebu Pac.
    Aleah recently posted..How to Find Cheap Flights

  • Mary @ The World Is A Book said:

    Great tips here, Aleah. I wish we had those budget airlines that you have over there in Asia or the ones in Europe. The US airlines barely have any sales. I use Skyscanner and Kayak for comparisons too but also set up airfare alerts on Kayak and airfarewatchdog. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
    Mary @ The World Is A Book recently posted..San Juan, Puerto Rico with Kids: 5 Free Attractions

  • Aleah said:

    @ Mary: Merry Christmas to you and your family, too, Mary!
    Aleah recently posted..How to Find Cheap Flights

  • Susan @ Cruise Packages said:

    Actually I always often to use cheap flights because of the US airlines barely have discounts. I think I should try out this Skyscanner.

  • Aleah said:

    @ Susan: We’re lucky to have a lot of budget airlines here :)
    Aleah recently posted..Traditional Christmas Celebration in the Philippines

  • Tips to Travel Cheaply | Solitary Wanderer said:

    [...] Most of my friends and colleagues wonder how I can travel so much in and outside the country. The secret? Cheap airfare! Since the budget airline industry exploded in the market a few years ago, I have flown to various destinations paying only a fraction of what the ticket usually costs. (Read: How to Find Cheap Flights) [...]

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