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5 money-saving Google Flights tips you need to use

This week we said bon voyage to the Google Trips mobile app. But never fear, the information you found on the travel app is now located on two other Google sites.

Google Maps and Google Flights now have information on hotels, restaurants and other places of interest — just like you found on Google Trips. And new features just added to Flights could help you save some money on your next adventure.

Forget visiting multiple airline websites and travel sites to find a good price. We’ve put together five Google Flights tips to help you find the best deals on airline tickets.

1. Track seasonal price trends

You can almost always find good deals if you’re flexible with your time. If you want to know how prices historically trend over a period of time, click the Price Graph icon.

That will bring up a bar graph where you can see when prices generally increase or drop. For example, if you want to go to London in December, the best time to get cheap tickets is early in the month.

From Dec. 7 to Dec. 11, the cost of a round-trip ticket to London departing from Phoenix is about $720. But if you really want to see London during the holidays, the cheapest price for a four-day, round-trip ticket departing from Phoenix costs more than $1,700 over the same days.

You can keep track of ticket prices yourself with the graph, or you can toggle on the Price Tracking tool. Google Flights will email you alerts on when prices are dropping or rising.

2. Cheapest days to fly

Again, this tool works better if you’re flexible. Click on the Date Grid icon and a calendar will pop up.

Unless there’s a holiday, you’ll find that prices are generally cheaper if you travel on Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday. Prices start climbing Thursday through Sunday.

If you have a general time when you want to travel, hang loose and the Price Tracking tool will alert you when prices are going down. Then you can make the decision on when to book your flight.

3. Buying separate one-way tickets

If you think you can find great deals by booking your departure and return tickets separately, think again. Airlines don’t like one-way tickets because they’re inconvenient to the flight crew and it disrupts their flying schedules.

That’s why more often than not, the separate one-way ticket route is much more expensive than buying a round-trip ticket. Buying separate one-way tickets from Phoenix and Las Vegas, for example, costs a total of $933. A round-trip flight can be as cheap as $166.

Using the Google Flights Date Grid allows you to research whether you can save money on one-way tickets. Occasionally the option may appear on the site if an airline needs to open more flights.

You can also use the Price Tracking tool to alert you if the cost of a one-way ticket drops.

 

Related: 6 travel tips and hacks you’ve got to know before summer vacation

 

4. Calculate baggage fees

 

The initial price you see on the Google Flights site doesn’t take into account baggage fees. However, the site makes it fairly easy for you to find out how much each airline charges.

Click the bags option on the toolbar directly under your travel destination. This should provide you with the option of choosing carry-on or the number of bags you’re going to check. Google Flights then automatically changes the price of the flight to reflect baggage costs.

But the program still has some bugs. Once you select a flight you’ll get a choice of, say, business or economy coach. Along with descriptions of what you do and don’t get, you can see the fee for checked bags. Hopefully, the bags option will be fixed soon because it provides you with a quick and more complete picture of what your flight will actually cost.

5. Google Flights guarantee

This is Google Flights really putting some skin in the game. For some flight prices, Google claims its algorithms are showing you the lowest-available price before the flight departs. Once you book the flight, Google will keep monitoring the price until takeoff.

If the price does drop before takeoff, you’re automatically refunded the difference. The price difference must be greater than $5 and no more than $500.

But act fast. This is a temporary offer only available for select flights booked between Aug. 13 and Sept. 2, 2019. You’ll see the price guarantee badge on select flights where travel is completed by Nov. 24.

 

Related: 12 incredibly useful travel apps you didn’t know about until now

 

When searching for the cheapest flight, don’t forget to look at the big picture. In some cases, the cheaper the flight, the more stops along the way.

In our London example, the $1,700 ticket makes for a 20-hour flight with a five-hour stop in Portland, Oregon, followed by a 90-minute layover in Iceland and finally a three-hour flight to Heathrow.

The return is a 46-hour ordeal with overnight layovers in Iceland and Vancouver. If your time is valuable, you may prefer a $2,800 round-trip ticket with no stops and a flight time just over 10 hours. So, what’s your time worth?

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