In his Netflix stand-up comedy special, Trevor Noah laid down one universal truth: “If there’s one thing you won’t waste your money on, it’s travelling.” But that still doesn’t mean you should spend more than necessary.
Regular travelers know the ins-and-outs of getting great offers on flights. They’ll search the right websites to find cheap fares, figure out “hidden city” routes, and regale you with tales of the amazing deals they got.
So how do you take advantage of the wonderful deals that regulars get? By knowing where the travelers look! Try these apps and sites to get started.
1. SkipLagged (Web, Android, iOS): Find “Hidden City” Fares for Huge Discounts
You know that flights often have layovers. But you probably didn’t know that getting off at layovers can save you big bucks. Such layovers are “hidden city” deals.
For example, let’s say you are travelling from New York to San Francisco. If there’s a New York–San Francisco–Seattle flight, then getting off at the SF layover will be much cheaper than a regular NY–SF flight. But airlines don’t usually show these layover stops. San Francisco, thus, is a “hidden city” deal in this case.
SkipLagged specializes in finding hidden cities across the world, but mainly in the U.S. The savings are substantial. Just to compare, we looked up New York–Los Angeles flights on SkyScanner, one of the best flight comparison tools. The best deal was $240, while SkipLagged found an alternative for $215.
The reason layovers are cheaper is because it has restrictions. You can only use carry-on luggage, and such flights don’t count towards your frequent flyer points. But if the deal is good enough, those are small sacrifices.
2. Hopper (Android, iOS): The Best Time to Buy to Get the Lowest Fare
Ticket prices for flights keep fluctuating based on the number of days left. Usually, there’s a “sweet spot” where you will find the lowest fare. It would be ridiculous to keep checking every day for this, nor would you be able to figure it out. So, let Hopper do it for you.
Add your origin, destination, and travel dates to the “Watch” list on Hopper. Based on historical data and its algorithms, Hopper will alert you on the day of that magical sweet spot. You can book through the app itself, or use your favorite flight ticket app.
You can add filters stating the number of layovers or if you’re okay with basic fare seats. Hopper will also tell you if the price you are looking at is a good deal or not, based on its historical data.
3. MadFientist CardRatings (Web): Get the Best Credit Card for Bonuses
If you plan to travel, you need a credit card that gives you the maximum benefits on miles. But the offers are overwhelming, the details (like flexible points) are hard to find, and you need to calculate if you’ll actually use them. MadFientist made a fantastic tool to help the confused traveler.
The CardRatings app caters to new subscribers because it’s all about the sign-up bonus. It will tell you the card’s sign-up bonus and its terms and conditions. More importantly, it shows how much you’ll need to spend on the card and in how short a time, to be eligible for that bonus. This is the most crucial detail of credit card points, so pay attention to this factor.
MadFientist gives his own recommendations for the best cards, and adds hotels, miles, and other details. You can also sort the cards by personal or business, and check out their annual fee.
4. TripStreak (Web): Rank Your Preferences
Travel search engines do a great job of showing you every detail you need. And then you need to further filter those details to your taste. Adjust the layover time, and refresh. Check your favorite airline, and refresh. Then check the other preferred airline, and refresh. Tick the box for Wi-Fi, and refresh. It’s annoying!
At TripStreak, you can enter all your preferences for a flight and rank them. If layover duration is more important than Wi-Fi in the air, rank those two accordingly. When you search for flights, TripStreak will take all your flying preferences into account to return the best flights based on those. It’s a major change from how you filter results right now.
The priority list includes lowest cost, fewest connections, type of aircraft, preferred airline or frequent flyer program, layover duration, miles/points type, refundable tickets, avoid red-eye flights, and Wi-Fi on board.
5. All The Flight Deals (Web): Amazing Deals, When Any Destination is Fine
Airlines often have limited-period deals for some routes. Keeping track of them all would be insane. You can rely on bloggers like The Points Guy to find them for you, or use All The Flights Deals.
The app asks you to enter your origin location. With that, it will show you all the current deals to fly out from your city, whether domestic or international. All The Flights Deals grabs data from all other resources to find last-minute deals. It’s a game-changing experience if you’re looking to just travel without having a specific destination in mind.
You can still filter your destinations a bit, either by the continent, the country, the city you’re interested in. But that’s a matter of being in the right place at the right time, so don’t rely on that luck factor.
Your Best Travel Deal?
The only thing better than travelling is travelling on a fantastic deal. What’s the best travel deal you ever got?