4 Easy Ways To Use Google Flights to Find Cheaper Flights And Organize Your Trips
By: Caroline Lupini
When it comes to finding cheaper flights, there are plenty of options to consider. Do you have the ability to be flexible with your dates, the departure airport, or the arrival airport? How far in advance should you book, and where is the best place to search for flights?
Despite access to a variety of apps and sites dedicated to helping consumers select optimal flight itineraries, sometimes it’s best to go back to basics. After trying several different apps, Google Flights still comes out on top for me. Here are 4 ways to get more out of Google Flights and minimize the cost of your next getaway.
1. Explore Suggested Itineraries
By setting your home airport on the Google Flights page, Google will automatically pull information about cheap tickets to select places. You can explore those itineraries by clicking “Explore destinations.”
This is ideal for travelers who don’t have a specific itinerary in mind. You can change your departure airport in order to explore deals from different places. This is also great regardless of whether you have specific dates or flexible dates because the search function works for both. You can forecast great deals for the next 6 months, search for a particular month, or set specific dates. You can even search for “weekend trips in February” or “2-week trip in May,” depending on your flexibility and travel goals.
The “Explore destinations” page also features a sliding bar that allows you to set the maximum price you’re willing to pay. This is a great way to find cheaper flights because it filters out the ones that are over budget. Play around with this feature to inspire your next trip!
2. Peruse a Variety of Airports and Airlines
Google Flights has the ability to search nearby airports, if applicable, for better deals. This is especially relevant in cities with multiple airports like London. If you can search between Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, City, Southend, and Luton, you’ll be able to catch any deals that are especially pertinent to one of them.
It’s also great when there are multiple nearby airports that aren’t in the same city. For example, you could look for flights from Detroit, Flint, and Kalamazoo all in one search.
On top of that, information is available for multiple airlines worldwide, within a variety of alliances. This way, you have a pretty easy time comparing itineraries not only where the cost is concerned but also total travel time, the number of connections, airline preferences and specific time of day.
Google Flights will also indicate whether or not baggage is included in the reported fare. You’ll see a an icon of a roller bag with a slash through it when baggage costs extra. This is helpful because it isn’t uncommon for airlines to withhold the price of baggage in the advertised fare, and Google Flights lets you know that you’ll need to factor in that cost later.
3. Use Flight Tracking and Price Trends
When searching for a particular itinerary, Google Flights offers insight regarding whether or not you’re seeing normal, high, or cheap fares. You can explore these insights in a variety of different ways including calendar view and price graphs.
Calendar view allows you to compare and contrast price fluctuations by day depending on your departure and return dates. That way, you can select the cheapest combination from an easy to read calendar grid.
The price graph is a similar graphic but the view is more compact, so you’re able to see price trends as they project into the future months. This visualization makes it easy to spot anomaly dates that are either cheaper or more expensive than the average, which is great when you’re looking for the cheapest day to fly.
The assortment of infographics available on Google Flights makes it easier to find cheap flights depending on what you’re looking for and how much flexibility you may have. Information offered in a variety of ways, however similar, tends to be more accessible and useful to different people.
On top of the visual representations, there is also the option to track specific flights or flights on specific dates for the cases where you anticipate or are hoping for a cheaper fare. Simply click “Track prices” and Google will send an alert to your Gmail account whenever the price changes.
In fact, this can be a great way to catch the ever-elusive mistake fare. With flight tracking enabled, you’re more likely to catch a mistake fare if one occurs. Just keep an eye on the emails from Google Flights and you might be able to snag an incredible deal!
4. Link to Your Google Account
Simplicity and organization are key for many of us when it comes to digital accounts. Google makes integrating many parts of your digital life easy. When you book a flight using the Google Flights site or when an itinerary shows up in your Gmail account, Google will automatically save information about that trip in Google Trips. This helps consumers keep everything organized in one spot, including tickets and reservations that were booked separately. Using Google Flights is just one more way to keep that consistency.
Google Trips can also help you find suggested activities when you’re traveling to a new place
If you haven’t used Google Flights yet, it’s definitely a great flight tool to check out. Knowing how to maneuver your way through the Google Flights interface could save you some serious cash on your next itinerary.