You like to travel, right?
Well, who doesn’t?
And you must like cheap flights?
I mean, if you are reading an article with this kind of a title, you definitely want to learn a way how to hack the system and find those sweat-cheap flights.
So, how do you get to that? Do you just visit your favorite (or least favorite but cheap) airline website and start checking places and dates?
Of course not. That’s a lot of work and you have to be lucky to find something that would really impress you.
What would be the better alternative, you’ll ask.
And I’ll tell you.
It’s Google! Yes, the good old Google.
Just google “Google Flights” and start exploring.
Too many googles in the last few sentences? Well… we certainly wouldn’t want to “bing” that.
Let me show you how this whole thing works.
Find the cheapest flights in the next 6 months
If you go to the main Google Flights website you’ll be greeted by a mountain, an airplane, and two people (probably a mother and a child) saying hi to that same airplane flying over the mountaintops.
It looks nice. Simple, but nice.
But we are not there to look at pictures.
What we really like to know is if we can get the hell out of here for a hundred bucks.
And it seems like we can definitely do that.
Since your writer’s location is Chicago, he was able to get a nonstop flight from Chicago to Miami for only $87, a nonstop flight to Orlando for $96, or a flight to Los Angeles with one stop for $177.
If you go to the website (stick with this article to the end to get the direct link and some more tips along the way), you can see this for yourself and your destination (and other dates in the near future).
If you like everything outlined there (location, date, and price) you just have to click on the city you like to visit and you’ll get the details for the actual flight and some more flights for those same dates (with higher prices though).
Of course, you can explore some more.
Just click on the map or the “Explore destinations” link and you’ll go to the next screen where you will be able to see more destinations and prices. You can zoom in and out of the map or even go out of the USA if you need to.
And there are some options on the left.
You can change the starting airport and/or the destination airport and choose when the flight should be and how long should it last. You can choose a month when you want to fly, should that be over a weekend, a one-week trip, or maybe a two-week trip.
Find the cheapest flights for a specific week(end)
The default option is one week in the next six months.
But let’s say you don’t have a whole week for this mysteriously surprise trip – you only have one weekend in May.
Click on the calendar field, choose the month (in our case May), the duration (in our case one weekend), and click “Done”.
You can see that there are some different options and prices now. We were able to find a return weekend flight to Miami for $88.
And that’s great but as you can see, the option is set with Thursday and Monday as default days for the weekend trips.
So, let’s see how we can make some changes there because sometimes you don’t want to use days off. Let’s say you want to get on the plane after work on Friday and be home just in time to get in your bed on Sunday night so you can be ready for work on Monday.
Also easy. Just change the days to Friday and Sunday on the next screen and then go to the filters, click on “Times”, and set the Outbound departure to be sometimes after your work hours on Friday and the Return arrival to be sometimes in the evening hours of Sunday.
Now we can see afternoon/evening flights for Friday from Chicago and for Sunday from Miami.
The best option is slightly higher this way and it’s $148 (May 12 – May 14).
Explore the Date grid
Want to find something with an even better price for your destination? Click on “Date grid” and start checking different date combinations.
As you can see, we couldn’t find anything better for any Friday-Sunday in May but if you are somewhat flexible you can find some great deals this way.
Oh, and do you want to see the actual flights for our price of $148?
Here they are:
Customize and find the cheapest flight for you
A night in Denver on the way there… sounds great. Or complicated. I guess it depends on how you look at things. A chance to see something more for your 150 bucks or an unnecessary complication, and cutting down on your time in Miami.
There is a solution for that as well.
If you want to be at your final destination faster, you just have to go back to the filters and choose either nonstop from the “Stops” option or “Under 6 hours” from the “Duration” option.
As you can see, by doing this we were able to find two nonstop flights for $265. That’s pretty good, considering we were not that flexible with the dates, the time of day, or even with our time spent in planes and airports.
And remember – the more flexible you are, the cheaper the flights are. The more filters you add, the fewer options you’ll get and the price will be higher. But there are still many options if you have some time to play around with Google flights.
And finally, here is the itinerary for the flights we found:
There you go – 44 hours in Miami for $265 without using a day off work. And we got there with only a few clicks around Google flights.
Now go and find something for yourself. The link we promised is here. Have fun!
Written by: Jovan Postoloski