As you may have noticed, traveling has been a big priority for me lately. I didn’t really travel internationally until about three years ago, and I’ve gotten completely hooked on the refresh and inspiration that traveling to a new place provides – there’s nothing better! With my wanderlust also comes two realities that I’m sure most others face: I don’t have unlimited time off of work, and I don’t have unlimited piles of cash at my disposal. Womp womp.
But travel (and lots of it!) is still totally doable. It just takes a little more prep and planning while booking and if you’re like me, with a “places to travel” list a mile long, finding cheap flights to book affordable travel is actually pretty easy. My #1 tip? Google Flights.
Google Flights is basically a search engine for flights that pulls in pricing from numerous airlines into one place so you can easily browse prices by destination and date. It’s great for when you know exactly where you need to go and when because you can set price alerts to track flight prices so you’re able to book when prices drop. But it’s even better when you’re don’t quite have a destination in mind because you can really easily browse flights from you’re home airport, here’s how it’s done:
- Add in the airport you’ll be traveling from, and select your anticipated travel dates (I’ll usually play around with this quite a bit, either by a few days on either side or by entire weeks since prices can swing so much by days)
- Layer in any other filters you’d like to browse by, like price, airline of choice, number of stops or flight lengths (I have status on United so I typically only fly Star Alliance airlines so I can get the miles and rarely spend over $1,000 on any flight, so I always add that filter on)
- Leave your “to” destination blank and click on the “Explore Destinations” map – here you can get a quick world view of flight prices.
- See something that looks good? Click on the location to get a rundown on flights (sometimes they’re cheap for a reason, like an 18 hour layover)
- Once you’re ready to book you can select the flights right within Google Flights and then click over to the airline’s website to book your travel
Most of my recent trips have started with Google Flights, both just browsing travel options from San Francisco, and then by tracking tons of flight prices and pulling the trigger when I’m able to find a good deal (you’ll receive email alerts with all of your tracked flights in one place – it’s amazing). For many international destinations, especially to places like Asia and South America, your flight is really the most expensive part of your travel, so a little extra planning upfront can really help make the entire trip very affordable.
Have you used Google Flights before? What are some of your own tips to make travel affordable?