How To: Find the Cheapest International Flights

If you’re a savvy (or just really cheap) traveler, your plane ticket will likely be the biggest expense for your trip. I spend way too much time on too many websites to find the best deals on flights because who wants to spend $1,000+ to sit on a plane for hours on end? Not me. Below, I have listed the methods that I use to save money on flights and I hope that you can use them for booking your next adventure!

TIP1: Be flexible. It is much easier to search for inexpensive tickets if you do not have a predetermined timeframe for your trip.

TIP2: If you’re flying far, look to see how much cheaper it is to fly out of LA or New York (or your country’s bigger cities) instead of your dinky home airport. Chances are, it’s a lot cheaper to buy roundtrip flights from big cities and then separately buy one way tickets to and from those airports.

  • I recently bought tickets to Australia from LAX (which is very far from Indiana) and then bought a one way ticket from Chicago (a 2.5 hour drive from home) to LAX for $80, and two flights from LAX>ORD>FWA for $130. I saved a buttload of money. To book tickets directly from my home airport to and from Australia would have cost me and additional $600 on top of the $210 I spent. WIN.

TIP3: Utilize reward points through a credit card and book directly through the credit card’s website for maximum rewards! Check out my post on Why You DO Want a Credit Card to see how I spent $455 on my flights to and from Australia.

Okay, now here is my method:

  1. Start by figuring out where you want to go, then look up your home airport and the destination airport on Skyscanner. Choose to search for dates by whole month, then by the cheapest month. It will show you a calendar of the cheapest dates to fly.
    • Another benefit of this website is that you can search for your destination by choosing “Everywhere”, and it will list the cheapest countries to fly to from your home airport.
    • Kayak Explore also has this option, but it shows up as a map with the cheapest prices for each city. I actually like this one better because you get a visual representation of the cheapest flights instead of a list. You can also adjust the timeframes and duration for which you want to travel.
  2. Using the dates from Skyscanner or Kayak Explore, go to your favorite airline’s website or look at another booking website to compare prices (I typically use Kayak or Priceline). I usually spend a couple of weeks monitoring the prices on various websites to make sure that the dates are consistently the cheapest (and so I don’t feel like I need to bite the bullet and buy a ticket quickly).
    • Be sure to look at the overall travel time for each flight. Saving $200 isn’t worth it if you will be spending 20+ hours on layovers each way on a 2 week trip.
  3. Before buying a ticket through one of the travel websites, check to see if you can buy the tickets directly from the airline for the same price– it will save your inbox a few extra emails.
  4. Once you spend time monitoring the tickets and find flights that work for you and your wallet, it’s time to bite the bullet and celebrate!!

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