If you're thinking about finally taking that long overdue vacation, chances are you're going to head somewhere far-far away. Flights for trips like this can cost a pretty penny, though. That's why you need a little help finding the best deal possible.
Over the past several years, flight comparison sites have exploded in popularity, and new ones have popped up right and left. The good news is you can find great deals with the click of a button, but with so many sites to choose from, how do you know that you're getting the best deal? Here's our countdown of five sites you should visit to make sure you save.
As one of the largest travel sites in the world, Travelocity is a great source for deals. We like this site, particularly when you're creating travel "packages," combining your airfare, hotel, rental car, etc.
Surprisingly, many people don't plan their trips this way, but if you're not using rewards points to fly, this is one of the best ways to save money on the overall cost of your trip. According to Travelocity, people who combine even just their flight and hotel save $525 on average.
Travelocity has a free app for Apple and Android users, and a service called Farewatcher that monitors deals on locations you're interested in. Just set your parameters, and you'll receive notifications as prices drop.
One downside, there have been reports that Apple users actually score better deals on Travelocity than those booking through Android. This is great news if you have an iPhone. But, Android users? Not so much.
If you're able to take off as deals become available, Airfarewatchdog is the perfect place for you. Rather than simply browsing posted deals, the site employs staff to monitor airline sites in anticipation of sales and discounts.
View these staff members as your personal travel shoppers. Site owners say, "think of Airfarewatchdog as a friendly and knowledgeable neighbor who always has the inside scoop on the latest clearance sale at your favorite store."
Staff members even sign up for rewards programs from airlines and travel sites and pass along any discounts and promotional codes they find. Sometimes these alerts even include "blooper" fares that allow you to book flights for ridiculously low prices. Oops! The airline's loss, your gain.
Another key feature is that it includes smaller airlines in the search results. Airlines like Southwest and Allegiant may not be included in search results of larger sites like Priceline. So this is a great way to save money if you're not tied to a particular brand.
By using the Travelzoo site, or its downloadable app, travelers can often save up to 65 percent. Travelzoo is a global site that acts as a search engine for travel deals, but the company also partners with over 2,000 companies that send it their best offers.
Currently, the site has 27 million members, and it continues to grow. Beyond booking travel deals, the app allows users to arrange their car rentals, recommends featured destinations, and offers deals for local restaurants, spas and shows.
How do you know that you're getting a good deal with Travelzoo? Well, company CEO Chris Loughlin boasts that the site never publishes a deal he wouldn't book himself. And, it has staff on hand in the Test Booking Center to research every Top 20 deal before it goes live on the site.
Travelzoo trips aren't limited to U.S. destinations. In fact, it offers amazing deals for destinations in Europe, Canada, Japan, China and more. It also has pre-set searches that automatically pull the best deals. Click "SuperSearch," for example, and your search will tap into multiple search engines. Click "North America," and your search will generate the best deals for all destinations in the U.S.
The major benefit of using Kayak is that it searches hundreds of sites, from travel sites to online travel agencies, rather than merely its own database. This places all of those resources at your fingertips and generates some results you likely won't find on other sites.
In addition, Kayak has tools that suggest locations you could travel to within a certain budget, making it easier to travel on a whim. The site's "Explore" tool generates a map that highlights each destination that can be reached for a particular fare.
Kayak also has a "Price Predictor," which estimates if prices will go up or down prior to booking. These estimates also have confidence rates, so when you book your ticket you can rest assured that you received the best deal.
To make planning your trip easier, Kayak also offers a mobile app for Apple and Android, which allows you to monitor deals even when you're on the go.
1. Google Flights
Ranking number one on our list is Google Flights because anyone who has traveled knows there's a major difference between a good and cheap flight. This is why travel sites often miss the mark with consumers. If prices are the only factor, any site can pull those results. But to find the best flight, you'll need a better resource.
Google Flights takes many things into consideration when compiling its results. You'll probably agree that the best flight isn't one that departs at 3:13 a.m., or one that charges you for extra luggage. However, it's also true that some airlines offer "perks" that are really just "fluff," so why pay extra if you don't have to?
The best deals on flights can be found by travelers who are flexible. You'll find better deals if you enter a wider date range for when you'd like to travel, and are open to suggestions on the location. Make sure you know the best days to both fly and buy to save the most money.
Google Flights makes it easy to do both with a map showing every airport in a region with the lowest prices. Plus, you can see the lowest prices per day on a calendar, so you don't miss a deal. Get the full details on these features and more secrets to using Google Flights to save big.