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August 1, 2014

5 Must-Know Sites for Finding the Best Airfares

delta airplaneThere’s no question that flying as a family can be expensive. I’ve got four kids, so I oughta know. So I’m always on the hunt for online tools to help me find the absolute best fares. Take a look at five airfare search websites you need to bookmark today.

1. Kayak.com: Last week, Kayak.com introduced a new price forecasting feature to give you better insights into whether to buy your airline tickets now or wait a few days. Once you enter a flight search query (U.S. and U.K. routes only) look for the “Price Trend” graphic to the left of your results to let you know at-a-glance whether prices are expected to go up or down in the next seven days.

Click “Fare Charts” for a more in-depth analysis, as well as price trends over the last 90 days and cheapest departure dates. Click “Price Alerts” to have Kayak.com alert you when the price is right for you to jump in and make your booking.

2. Bing: Similar to Kayak.com, Bing has the Bing Travel Price Predictor to advise you on whether prices are expected to rise, hold steady or increase over the next week. Just above the fares you’ll find one line that either reads “Tip: Wait” or “Tip: Buy.” This was helpful, and Bing also let me know at-a-glance that they have 80%+ confidence that the fare for my select route would drop by at least $50. Definitely useful in my decision-making process.

3. Airfarewatchdog: I’ve mentioned Airfarewatchdog many times. I love the service and love how easy it is to find great airfares, even when you don’t know where you want to go. I’m set up to get daily email price alerts to receive the best fares to a variety of cities from my home airport. Many of the airfares are unadvertised, and they even break-out weekend fares if you have last-minute flexibility.

It’s easy to set up fare alerts, whether you have a specific city you plan to visit or would like to receive a grab bag list of all cheap round-trip airfares from your home airport. It’s also worth visiting the Airfarewatchblog for fares of the day, like a round-trip flight from New York to Honolulu for $422!

4. Hipmunk: Sometimes you want the absolute cheapest fare, and sometimes you just want the least painful flight for you and your family. Fortunately, Hipmunk can give you both. In addition to sorting flights by price and duration, as well as departure and arrival times, Hipmunk lets you sort flights by “Agony,” which is a combination of price, duration and number of stops.

On Hipmunk, it’s also easy to see only non-stop flights after you’ve started your search (which you can’t do on some of the bigger fare search engines). It also color codes each airline on a grid, and even identifies which flights are on wi-fi enabled airplanes. You can set up fare alerts too, of course.

5. Skyscanner: If you have a lot of flexibility, then Skyscanner is a great tool to have in your flight-finder arsenal. Search an entire month or even an entire year for the best outbound-inbound flight combinations that will save you the most money. This is a great tool if you’re planning a summer vacation right now and can be flexible across a span of several months.

What are some of your go-to travel planning tools? Let me know in the comments section below.

Photo Credit: Jonathan McDonnell


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Comments

  1. Terry Jones says:

    Here are a few more options:

    Booking Buddy tracks low fares & sends you alerts as to when a fare is low or the price is going up.

    Farebuzz often has automatic $10-$20 off coupons on airfare. The also have air hotel deals that are great for any budget!

    CheapOair lets you know exactly how many seats are available on all flights for the fares they show. This is helpful even if you need to split reservations to get at least a couple of tickets at the lowest rates. I do caution to always look for actual number of people traveling, because if you get a price for 1 person traveling & there are really 3 people traveling, you’ll be quoted a higher fare for all three!

    1. Erin Gifford says:

      Thanks, Terry. Lots of great tips. Plus, I do love coupons!