Buying plane tickets is often the biggest upfront cost when it comes to traveling the world. Sometimes, this cost alone can turn people off from traveling at all. But with a little luck, some research, and that pesky travel bug on your shoulder prodding you to “buy!” as soon as you possibly can, sometimes you can find some really incredible deals that make traveling much more attainable. I’ve bought plane tickets from so many different sites before, but I find myself using these three sites consistently, and in my opinion, they’re some of the best in their field.
If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, Skyscanner is one of the best sites for buying plane tickets specifically because they have a built-in “everywhere” option. For example, let’s say you know that you want to travel from June 1st to June 14th, but you really have no idea where you want to go. In my case, I would be flying out of Las Vegas, but instead of choosing a specific destination, I can simply type “everywhere” and get results from every country, every airport, in descending order from the cheapest destinations to the most expensive.
This allows me to get extra adventurous, and opens up a world of opportunities and travel destinations that I maybe hadn’t even considered!
Bottom line: Skyscanner is fantastic if you have a date in mind that you would like to travel, but no specific destination.
I recently discovered Momondo when I was interested in finding the best flights, not necessarily the least expensive. “Best” can mean many different things to a ton of different people, but Momondo lays it out in a way that is pretty easy to understand. In this case, let’s try to find a couple of tickets from Las Vegas to Bangkok, Thailand from June 15 to June 29.
The first thing that jumps out to me is the Estimated prices bar above the search results. This is a great way to figure out which specific day would be cheaper to fly from Las Vegas to Bangkok. Depending on the destination and the time of year, there may be large discrepancies in price even within the same week, so it’s great to see those results right at the top, especially if you have a flexible schedule.
Underneath that, we have three different tabs: “Cheapest,” “Quickest,” and “Best.” The Cheapest ticket is $1250, the Quickest ticket is $1628 and the Best ticket is $1373. Generally speaking, the “Best” ticket tends to be the best price-to-flying time ratio, and can be determined by the little smiley face and scale from 1-10 toward the right, above the price of the ticket.
Even though the cheapest flight is roughly $100 cheaper than the “best” flight, it’s nearly 30 hours of travel time. Therefore, it has a score of 7.9 out of 10.
However, the best option, according to Momondo, is the flight that is $1373 and 7 hours less travel time.
Bottom line: if price isn’t as important to you as staying out of airplanes and airports for as long as possible, Momondo is the site for you.
Google Flights is probably my all-time favorite resource for buying plane tickets. Similarly to Skyscanner, you aren’t required to put in a specific destination that you’d like to fly to. Instead, you can browse a map of the world to see where you’d like to go, and choose airports accordingly. As an extremely visual person, I get more of a kick out of using Google Flights because of the incredible map integration. Plus, it makes it extremely easy to see if it’s cheaper to fly into a nearby airport. In this case, let’s assume we want to fly from Las Vegas to Seoul, South Korea.
Using the map feature, I can see that for only $100 more, I could fly to Beijing instead. Or for $60 less, I could fly to Hong Kong. We’re just going to stick with Seoul though, just to keep things consistent.
When we see the flights for this specific trip, there’s a little tip above the flights that says “Save $182 if you leave on Sun, Jul 3” which is a pretty decent savings if you’re flexible in your travel dates or times.
If you click on the date you plan to fly, you can pick from the calendar cheaper dates to fly for both your departure and return tickets. In this case, even though the tip said that it was cheaper to fly on July 3rd, it’s even cheaper to fly on the 4th. Opening up the calendar to see all the dates gives you total control over how much you’re paying for tickets, and when the best times to fly are.
The map integration also allows you to see when it’s cheaper to buy round trip tickets, or separate one-way tickets. Usually, round trip tickets are almost always cheaper. But sometimes, if you do a search for one way tickets, you might surprise yourself with hundreds of dollars of savings.
Bottom line: if you like maps, and you’re a sucker for using calendars that show cheaper dates to fly, Google Flights is awesome for buying plane tickets.
I was stumbling through Reddit once, dreaming about my next adventure, when I came across some guy talking about his email list where he sends out cheap flight deals for everybody to cash in on. Sometimes, airlines accidentally post fares that are… well, incorrect. These fares can be absurdly cheap, and sometimes it takes a little while before the airline actually realizes that they posted a fare that was wrong. This is where Scott and his email list come in.
Almost every day, I’ll get an email from Scott with amazing deals all over the world. Here’s one example of a past deal from Los Angeles to Melbourne or Brisbane, Australia, a flight that would normally cost $1100 round trip.
Somehow, Scott and his magic ways found a flight as low as $546 round trip. Almost every day I get at least one email exactly like this from him. Cheap flights to Bermuda, the Azores, Australia, Milan, Philippines, etc, are all fares that I’ve seen recently just for being apart of this incredible email list.
The only reasons I didn’t include Scott’s list as a main resource for buying plane tickets are
- Currently, the list only benefits those living in the US and Canada, so the deals just aren’t as good if you’re in another country
- It’s a paid list. I pay $29 per year to be on this list to get every single destination sent to me. He has a free list, but those that are subscribed to the free list only get 1/3 of the destinations sent to them.
I have yet to actually use Scott’s list, but I would be absolutely amazed if I didn’t use it once within the next year. The deals are just too amazing.
All in all, these have been my top three sites for buying plane tickets for a while now. Not only are they incredible on their own, but using them in conjunction with each other gives the best opportunity to actually find cheaper tickets.
What are your favorite sites for buying plane tickets? Why are they your favorite?