If a trip is in your future, consider using Google Flights to help you save a few dollars on your airfare. There are all sorts of tips on how to find the best prices when flying, but Google Flights has a few tools available that can help us find airfare that are the right price on the right dates:
Find the Cheapest Months to Fly
Let’s say you know where you want to go, but you don’t know when. Maybe you want to sip Mai Tai’s in Hawaii, but you can’t afford to spend $800+ on a ticket in high season. You could research the cheapest months to fly, on average. Those estimates are usually pretty accurate, but obviously, your actual results might vary when it comes time to actually booking your tickets.
Instead, plug in your destination from Google Flights, select “flexible dates,” and you can browse real, current prices by month. The “flexible dates” tab shows you a calendar view of fares, but the price graph will give you a more visual, general idea of prices. It’s also a little easier to navigate, because you can see a wider and more specific range at once.
Browse Cheap Travel Options By Month
On the other hand, maybe you know when you want to travel, but you’reopen to destinations. Let’s say you can only take vacation in May, and you just want to get away for a couple of weeks—without going broke.
Google Flights recently released a new tool that lets you find destinations based on month and duration. Navigate to the “Discover Destinations” window, then Instead of selecting exact dates, select a month and a general time frame: weekend, 1 week, or 2 weeks.
The tool will populate a list of popular destination cities and prices. You can even filter by region (North America, Asia, Oceania, etc) or interest (honeymoon, food, adventure, wildlife, etc.). If you want to take a food-focused vacation in North America, for example, you’ll get a list of affordable cities where you can munch all day.
Get Notifications for Changing Flight Prices
Regardless of the trip you’re planning, it’s smart to start tracking flight prices as early as you can. Prices fluctuate quite a bit, and you want to swoop in and scoop up the best deal.
According to data from CheapAir.com, the sweet spot for finding tickets at their lowest price is about 54 days advance. Track your flight well in advance, then pay close attention to fluctuating prices as you near that time frame. Google Flights makes it easy to do this, because you can save your itineraries.
Browse your flights as usual, pick a departing and returning flight that look good, then select “Save This Itinerary.” Google Flights will keep track of all of your saved itineraries in one spot, and you can see how the price changes every day. You can also get alerts via Google Now when prices change.
I’ve also used this feature to save some money myself. When I was planning my trip to Japan, for example, I saved a handful of different itinerary options that varied by day, flight time, or even airport. Every week or so leading up to the trip, I checked how the prices fluctuated and then picked the cheapest option.
Search for “Hidden” Layover Cities
One of my favorite ways to use Google Flights is for finding “hidden” layover cities. This is basically finding a flight with a long layover in a different city. This way, you get to enjoy a whole other city on the way to your destination. It’s like a vacation bonus!’
Optimize Your Airline Miles
If you’re a fan of travel rewards, you’ll like this one. Google recently added a tool that makes it easy to search based on airline miles. Under the “Airline” tab, you can search for flights by a particular airline or alliance. An alliance is basically a rewards networking program that includes a bunch of different travel rewards programs. This way, if you’re a UnitedMileagePlus member in the Star Alliance Network, you can select “Star” as the alliance, and Google Flights will show you all the related flights in that network so you can earn (or use) points for the flight.
SRC: Find more details about these airfare tips here: lifehacker.com/the-best-tips-for-finding-cheap-airfare-with-google-fli-1756974585