Traveling overseas may sound like a luxury you’ll never be able to afford, so you pull out that hammock and have an underwhelming staycation in your own backyard. But here’s the thing: you can travel to Europe and even Asia without breaking the bank, if you just know how to find cheap flights.
As vacation season is kicking in, we’re sharing our hacks for getting cheap international flights with a lesser-known flight finder that’s worth checking out: Kiwi.
How Does Kiwi Find Cheap Flights?
The secret sauce behind Kiwi’s cheap international flights has several ingredients—among them mixing and matching flights in an unconventional way and being more creative with dates and destinations. In a nutshell, here’s how Kiwi gets you those dirt cheap flight results.
- Searches for the cheapest route, regardless of codeshares. A codeshare is an agreement between airlines to share a flight and market it on both their websites. But Kiwi often combines flights from airlines that aren’t affiliated in any way, if that combination results in a lower fare.
- Gives you more flexibility with dates and destinations. Many flight finders are rigid about specific departure dates and cities. Kiwi is more flexible about that, which allows you to book cheaper dates like the weekdays or have different arrival and return airports.
- Includes many low-cost airlines. Vast access to cheap airlines is one of Kiwi’s biggest strengths. Smaller carriers that fly under the radar of Expedia and Skyscanner can pop up on Kiwi with wonderfully low fare.
How to Get Cheap Airline Tickets on Kiwi
Now, the key to finding affordable flights on Kiwi is taking full advantage of the aforementioned flexibility. Here are a few hacks you should try to land the lowest fare.
1. Use “Anywhere” for the Cheapest Destinations
Sure, sometimes you’ve got your mind set on Paris, and no amount of cheap tickets can persuade you to go elsewhere. But that’s not always the case. More often than not you just have this vague thought that a vacation would be nice, and that’s where Kiwi steps in with its Anywhere option.
When you select Anywhere as a destination, Kiwi will show you available options for your time range, plus a convenient map with prices. Then you can dive deeper and search for flights to the destination that’s both appealing and affordable.
2. Try Countries and Regions, Rather Than Cities
Sometimes there are no cheap tickets to the city you want—but you can fly elsewhere in the country and do a road trip that includes that city. Or maybe you don’t have a specific country in mind, but you know you want to do Western Europe or South-East Asia.
Kiwi allows you to select a whole country or even a part of the world where you want to go, so you can compare the prices and decide exactly where you’ll be flying.
3. Select “Anytime” for the Cheapest Dates
Sometimes you know where you want to go, and you know you can take a week or two off work, but it doesn’t have to be a particular month. In that case, being more flexible about your travel dates can save you a lot of cash.
If you enter Anytime as departure date and Trip Length as a return date, Kiwi will find you the cheapest flights within the next six months. It’s likely going to be during the offseason and during the week. Summers and weekends are the most expensive time to travel, and also the busiest, so you might be better off booking a trip in October. As a bonus, you’ll enjoy milder weather and no crowds!
4. Look Within a Date Range
Suppose you want to do a trip for your birthday. In that case, Anytime is not going to work. But you can still select a date range rather than concrete dates and see if you can find cheap flights within that time frame.
Like we said above, flights during the week are often less expensive. So if you enter your date range as departure date and the trip length you want as a return date, you can get an excellent price for your coveted birthday trip.
5. Include Flights Without Checked Bags
Sure, you’d love to bring all your sneakers and seven different jackets with you on the trip, but if you’re pressed for cash, you need to learn to travel light.
Most cheap international flights only include carry-on, and you can save $50 and more by not checking your bag. Moreover, some itineraries don’t even have the option of adding a checked bag. Kiwi has a checkbox Include flights without checked baggage, so if you’re willing to pack less stuff for the sake of saving money, make sure it’s enabled.
6. Don’t Be Put Off by Long Layovers
Spending four hours at the airport, tired and bored out of your mind, is definitely not part of your dream vacation. But oftentimes the flights Kiwi combines are eight hours apart or more. If those eight hours are during the day, that gives you plenty of time to check out the city.
So as long as the layover is morning to evening, and the visa restrictions allow you to go out, view it as an opportunity rather than a snag.
The Caveats of Booking With Kiwi
The money-saver that it is, Kiwi’s not without flaws. Here are some of the things to keep in mind when you’re trying to land a cheap airline ticket with Kiwi.
Adding Bags After Booking Can Cost More
Each airline charges a different amount for a checked bag, and Kiwi just charges an average sum. That means for some flights the bag is going to cost less on Kiwi. But in other cases, it will be more expensive than if you booked directly with the airline.
It Often Combines Separate Flights
When you think of connecting flights, you assume you step out of one airplane and just hop onto the other, perhaps with a couple hours’ wait in between. But that’s not always the case with Kiwi.
Sometimes it combines separate flights to save you money. That means you’ll have to go through security and passport control all over again. It can be done, but you’re going to need more time. So maybe skip the flights with a 1-hour layover, and remember to check your visa restrictions.
Sometimes Booking Directly Is Cheaper
This seems to defeat the whole purpose of Kiwi, but it doesn’t. Kiwi is a flight finder, geared specifically towards finding the best prices. So even if you check the airline’s website and see the route is $30 cheaper, it was still worth using Kiwi to find that flight faster.
Not All Local Airlines Are Included
Kiwi does a great job with European low-cost airlines, which makes it perfect for finding cheap flights to Europe. However, some local carriers in Asia aren’t included, so you might miss out on a good fare.
You May Not Be Able to Get a Refund
According to Kiwi’s support section, you may or may not get a partial refund if you need to cancel the flight. That depends on the policy of the airline. It’s important to understand that most low-cost airlines don’t issue refunds—that’s the price you pay for the lower fares.
If you booked a U.S. inbound, outbound, or domestic flight on the U.S. domain, you can cancel within 24 hours without penalty. Just make sure you contact Kiwi directly with your request.
More Hacks for Finding Dirt-Cheap Flights
In the end, it’s not necessarily about which flight finder you use. The internet is packed full of cheap flight websites that help you score the best airfare. It’s more about how you take advantage of the search tools and options they give you.
From being flexible with your dates to using a VPN to find insanely cheap flights, the lifehacks are aplenty. We’ve shared more know-how for finding travel deals online, so feel free to take advantage.