Booking a flight, like traveling itself, is the kind of experience that always has the potential for stress and confusion. And while the proliferation of flight apps has made most millennials their own travel agents, it can still seem like an overwhelming landscape of deals and destinations.
When it comes to mastering travel search engines, sometimes it’s not what you’re using, it’s how you’re using it. Since different platforms have different advantages, Inverse has compiled a list of some of the most user-friendly, personalized options out there. Whether you want to compare the cost of gas to the price of a flight, or just get out of town tomorrow morning, these resources will help you get from point A to point B.
Rome2Rio is cool because it combines all your travel options and doesn’t limit you to just flights. If taking a train, then a plane, and then a bus makes the most economic sense, it will map it for you. It also breaks down how much each step will cost, including public transit or gas for your car.
The Thrifty Traveler
This is a blog that covers a lot of ways to save when you travel. There’s a section that deals with how to accumulate loyalty points and miles through credit card sign-up bonuses to help get cheaper flights and hotels. The Thrifty Traveler Facebook group also offers regular updates on great flight deals if you want something directly in your feed.
Hopper is a popular mobile app that lets you choose your ideal destination and length of trip, and then updates you on its price from week to week. It’s a good feature if you’re feeling hesitant and want to wait until the right (aka cheapest) opportunity. Hopper’s notification service also tells you whether the flight price will likely increase, or whether it predicts it will become cheaper in the future.
Hopper also makes a really fun app called GTFO (Get The Flight Out) for spontaneous travelers. You plug in your location, and the app shows you the best round-trip flights leaving today and tomorrow.
Skiplagged calls itself a “pro-consumer” website that lets you plug in a location and date range, and it will show a huge selection of inexpensive flight options. In 2014, United Airlines, Inc. and Orbitz Worldwide, LLC sued Skiplagged for helping consumers buy what they called “hidden city” flights. A hidden city trip is when a consumer buys a multi-city flight that goes through major flight hubs — making it cheaper — and then only completes a portion of the trip to reach their actual destination. Via a gofundme campaign, Skiplagged raised $80,000 for its legal defense.
Kayak Travel Hacker
The Kayak Travel Hacker platform provides a lot of useful information, from when to book your flights, to what places are trending, and what destinations are always popular. Their lists have been informed by over one billion searches on the Kayak site.
The Flight Deal
There are a lot of cheap flight accounts on Twitter, but @TheFlightDeal is a solid one. It only posts deals out of major American flight hubs — which is convenient if you live in one of those places.
The Skyscanner website is cool because it lets you look at a number of destinations through an entire month. Hit the “everywhere” option, choose a month, and a list will appear, showing you flights to different countries based on price in ascending order.
The mother of all search engines also predictably has the mother of all flight apps. Google Flights is an interesting platform, especially with its user-friendly layout. If you’re looking to book a multi-trip flight, it’s very easy and Google Flights gives you a great array of options organized around price and trip-length. Or, you can use the very fun time killer that is Google Flight’s interactive map. It gives you a geographic image of flight deals all over the world. It also features Google’s “I’m Feeling Lucky” button, which for some reason wanted to send Inverse to Manchester for $710.