The airplane has unveiled for us the true face of the earth. (Antoine de Saint-Exupéry)
The Definitive Guide: How to Find Cheap Flights
Believe it or not, but you may often find yourself sitting on a flight next to someone who paid half — sometimes third — of the price you paid for that same flight. How is that possible? What does he or she know that you don’t? And most importantly, how can you find cheap flights in the future?
I’m here to help.
I have traveled to about 25% of the planet. Interesting part? Besides doing it with minimum travel gear, I spent very little money on flights. I flew to Switzerland for $24. I found a flight from Sweden to Poland for $2. I flew from Israel to Seychelles — round trip — for $650. Those are amazing prices, and I’m going to show you exactly how I always find cheap flights like those.
Our main tool…
For years, I used to recommend a tool called ITA Matrix. It was a very effective tool for finding cheap flights, so effective that Google bought it. But I don’t use it anymore. Reason? It lacks the simple option to quickly search for all available flights from a certain location, plus Skyscanner is faster to use. And prices are pretty much the same anyway, if not cheaper on Skyscanner.
But Regev! Don’t travel agents get the best deals on airfare?
Not exactly. Travel agents guarantee the lowest price allowed to advertise by an airline, not the lowest price possible. Often prices are significantly cheaper online. And these days, when you can compare all airline prices and purchase tickets within minutes, there’s no real need for a travel agent.
So, How to Find Cheap Flights Online?
As a rule of thumb, the more flexible you are with your dates, the higher your chances to find an insanely cheap flight. Even if you have the flexibility of + – a week (an not months), this can still cut your ticket price by half, sometimes a third. And when you just want to travel and don’t mind where so much, this is where you’re going to find really unbelievable prices. I’ll demonstrate.
Say I feel like going abroad sometimes this year. I make money online, so I’m very flexible with dates, plus I don’t really mind where (as long as I haven’t been there yet). Therefore, I’ll run a search for a round-trip flight from Tel Aviv (closest airport to my home) to “Everywhere”. I’ll choose the “Cheapest month” option for Skyscanner to search all across the year:
Here are some of the results:
The “Stitching” Method:
The strongest technique that I use is something I call “stitching”. Very often you’ll be able to stitch together two or three separate flights for significantly cheaper than if you’d have booked them all in one ticket.
When I use this technique (almost always), I try to find big stitching airports with lots of traffic (Bangkok in the east, Addis Ababa in Africa, New York in America, pretty much every big city in Europe, etc). Prices through these connection points are very cheap usually.
If you don’t have a clue where to begin, simply check which connection airports the airlines themselves use! Most often, booking each ticket separately will end up much cheaper. I’ll again demonstrate. Say I want to take the family to Australia in August. Skyscanner gives me this:
Not cheap at all. When I click on Melbourne, I find a bunch of flights through various connection airports. Flights with two stops (Belgrade and Abu Dhabi) cost $1472-1520, and a one-stop flight (Bangkok on the first flight, Hong Kong on the returning) for $1615:
Obviously, we’re not going to pay such a high price. What we are going to do is try to stitch a few separate flight tickets. To see where the best connection point is, I looked for flights from all the stops we saw above. The flights through Hong Kong or Bangkok are very good. Here’s how stitching through Bangkok looks like. Tel Aviv to Bangkok:
And then a ticket from Bangkok to Perth, Australia:
Overall: ~$950 instead of $1500-1600! Now all that’s left to do is make sure those tickets align well in departure and arrival times. If they don’t, it’s possible to just spend a day or more in Bangkok, and this way enjoy Thailand a little! And voilaaaaaaa, you’ve just saved yourself $600. Knowledge is power. Apply the stitching method, and your return on time investment will be huge.
Bonus: How to Devour Many Countries on the Cheap
If you feel like seeing a lot of different nations in one trip, you can use my tricks and stitch many tickets together. You don’t have to do it all in advance, you can just get a one-way somewhere and get the rest of them as you travel. Let’s run a little simulation to demonstrate. I’ll begin with a one-way from Tel Aviv:
Not bad! There’s a flight to London on the 22nd for… $53. Let’s say I’m going to spend about a week there, and see where else I can then fly out to:
I really dig a short visit to Dublin, Ireland! There’s a flight for $22 on the 30th. Let’s run another search and see where I can fly to from Dublin:
There’s a flight on the 7th to Oslo, Norway for $20. I’ve always wanted to visit the fjords of Norway, so that’s a great opportunity. And from Oslo?
$5 to Poland :)
Now You Know How to Get Cheap Flights
Keep looking and you’ll find cheap flights online that will make all your friends go, how the heck can you afford all those travels? But you’ll know better. You’ll now that you can easily stitch up a trip going between a dozen countries for less than $300. Of course, you can use the same techniques to also visit more, hmm, exotic locations. Think Madagascar, Kyrgyzstan, Polynesia, etc.
And don’t sweat it too hard.
Finding cheap flights shouldn’t be hard. Time is money, and if the time spent is more valuable the money saved… slap yourself for poor resource management. I allocate about half an hour even for big trips. It’s usually the sweet spot, and spending a lot more time will save just a little more money. Not worth it.
Good luck, and don’t forget to fasten your seat belt.