How to Find Cheap Flights
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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!
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?
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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!