How to find the cheapest flight to a specific destination

 

So you are decided to travel to a specific destination. You are traveling here for a specific event, concert, wedding, visiting with a college friend or family, vacation or maybe just because you have never been there. This post is specifically for people traveling to a location that cannot change. If you are looking to book cheap flight to a location that isn’t set in stone, (i.e., you can be flexible) read this post (pending).

Lets say you have a family reunion in Kansas City in three months. You haven’t booked your flights yet but noticed that the prices are rather high. You really want to visit your family as you haven’t seen them for quite sometime so you are going to make this work. This is how I would go about finding a cheap flight to this specific location (this is hypothetical and the specifics can be changes to fit ANY location.)

Here are the details for hypothetical event;

  • Location: Kansas City, MO
  • Date: October 7th (Saturday)

Here is what I would do;

  1. What are the dates I can take off of work?
    • I can take off only 2 days, so I will be taking off Friday and Monday?… Lets see
  2. Am I staying with Family members while there or staying at a hotel?
    • I am staying with a family member so I don’t have to worry about a hotel*
  3. Search for Flights using google flights
    • I am traveling from BOS (Boston) to MCI (Kansas City)
      • Friday to Monday = $304 with a 5am departure to MCI and a 1159pm arrival home to BOS… not the best flight and quite expensive.
      • Saturday to Monday or Tuesday = $195 with an 830am departure to MCI and a 1159pm arrival home to BOS… not the best flight arrival time but this can be changed to a 1225pm arrival home for $9 more dollars… WORTH IT!

Now you notice that I found a better price for a Saturday to Monday or Tuesday… Be flexible. But maybe you cant and need to leave on Friday?

  1. Search for Flights again
    • Friday to Monday/Tuesday/ Wednesday = $304 STILL not a good price.
  2. Look at Southwest.com because their flights are not listed on any search engine or travel site.
    • Using their Flexible Calendar view, I found that flight to MCI are $156 on Friday AND $94 returning back to BOS on Monday… lets keep that $94 in our back pocket
  3. Go back to google flights and search one way ticket BOS to MCI on Friday
    • $210… hmm still not the best.
  4. I now check nearby airports… lucky for me, there are many options around the Boston Area (Manchester NH, Providence RI, or Hartford CT).
    • Nothing is better than the $304 Round trip I first found for a Friday to Monday trip.
  5. Go back to google flights and search better arrival time in MCI to see if I can find a flight out on Saturday.
    • $226! Arrive at MCI at 849am and return to BOS at 1159 Monday. But 1159 is too late…
    • Remember that Southwest had a flight on Monday for $94… that had an arrival time at 1120pm, better than 1159pm!
  6. Search google flights for one way ticket BOS to MCI on Saturday
    • $133 for the 849am arrival at MCI and $94 for the Southwest ticket.
  7. That is $227… by booking with Delta for the first flight and Southwest for the second flight, I saved myself $77 and a vacation day because I don’t need to take Friday off anymore.

Now this in total took me 15 minutes in total to research. I have been doing this type of research for some time now and may take you 30-40 minutes the first few times. The more you do this, the easier and faster you will get! Was saving $77 dollars and a vacation day worth it to me? Yes, and I think the same is true for you… I mean you are reading a blog about budget traveling.

There are many tools that you can use to search flights, like mentioned in my post about 3rd party travel sites, booking with an airline directly is best, but using the travel sites services can help you find the cheapest flight offered by a handful of major airlines. Interested in my view on travel sites? Read my blog post (pending).

Happy Travels and I hope this helps.

-Myles

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