Remember those scenes in movies where a character walks up to the airline counter and asks “give me your cheapest flight out of here”? Turns out you can do this online as well. It’s a sure-fire way to cut down on your flight costs, and it might just take you to an exciting destination you wouldn’t have considered otherwise.
Here are two online tools that will allow you to do this.
Skyscanner is a flight aggregator in the vein of Expedia or Kayak, with one additional and powerful feature: you can submit a search without a complete date or a destination airport.
Let’s say you live in New York City, and want to fly somewhere nice in August 2013 for two weeks. You would enter your search thus:
You can select the whole month of August instead of specifying a date. To do this, click on the calendar icon in the date field, and use the arrows to scroll to the month. When you reach the month you want, click on “whole month” at the bottom of the calendar window.
Click ‘Search’, and Skyscanner will list destinations in order of price. Pretty cool, huh?
Google’s Flight search engine is not as powerful and useful as Skyscanner. For starters, it doesn’t let you input flexible dates, and it doesn’t work for all airports in the world. (I’m based in South Korea, and it doesn’t work here.)
It does, however, have one pretty cool feature: it displays your search results on a map.
Just make sure you zoom out the map using the zoom icons on the left, and you’ll see some popular destinations with their associated prices.
In the example above, seeing that flights to San Juan, Puerto Rico are fairly cheap in July ($324 CAN), I might decide to use Skyscanner to search for flights in the whole month of July. At the time of this writing, a Skyscanner search reveals a cheaper flight, at the price of $313 CAD, on July 18-24.
Flying somewhere exciting is a lot cheaper than you might expect; it just means letting go of your expectations and go with the flow. Check it out!
(This post is based in part on information from this Reddit thread.)
(Top image source: Associated Press)