I’ve made a promise to myself that once I can, I’ll visit at least one new place a year. While I have a travel bucket list, we all know that travel aint cheap so for the past couple years my ‘one place’ has been chosen based on price – whether I know someone there who I can stay by to save accommodation costs, or whether a round trip ticket won’t devastate my pocket.
Once I find a trip that looks doable, the next step is to track the flight. For this, Google Flights is my number one, trusted advisor. If you don’t use Google Flights when planning a trip, here’s why you should:
1. Save Time and Money
Rather than individually searching for prices on different airlines or third party websites, Google Flights searches (almost) all airlines and possible routes and gives you the best option in terms of price, duration of flight, stops etc.
It may also prompt you to change your dates if you can get a cheaper ticket if you fly the day after or before your selected dates. If you’re flexible with your dates, there’s a calendar view and it’ll show you which travel dates result in the cheapest ticket.
You can also click on flexible dates which creates a grid, again showing you the cheapest days to travel. You can save a lot of time and money this way! There are also filters if you’d like to travel at a particular time, on selected airlines etc.
Sometimes, if you’re heading to countries or places with more than one airport, it may be worth it to fly into an airport close to the city and then travel to your accommodation on a bus, taxi etc. Google Flights lets you put in a country (or place) rather than an airport. When you do this, you’re able to see which airport in the area has the cheapest flight for your dates. Once you don’t have time constraints and don’t mind the extra land transport, sometimes you can save a lot of money this way.
2. Indecisive? It gives you options.
If the travel bug is biting you but you’re not sure where you want to go, use the Explore Map feature.
With this, Google Flights lets you put in your dates, your region (if you have a particular one in mind)and your interests (adventure travel, beaches, nightlife, culture etc). You then click ‘explore destinations’, put in your budget and it shows you the cost of round trip travel to a number of places from your home airport within your budget.
If you want to live your best life and explore in this way but may have some budget constraints, get in on this Google Flights feature.
3. Monitor flight prices
When you finally find the best (read cheapest) ticket for your pocket, unless you’re ready to purchase immediately, you can track the specific ticket. Any time the ticket price increases or decreases, Google sends you an email and you can grab it quickly if it went down, or sulk and pray if it went up. This is my favourite feature. Just select the ticket you want and scroll to the bottom of the page. It also sometimes gives you notifications if your tracked ticket price is about to increase.
If you find a number of good tickets, rather than tracking them separately you can just switch ‘track prices’ on and Google will automatically track the cheapest flight for your trip and email you if that one goes up.
As with everything in life, Google Flights sometimes has its hiccups. Sometimes it shows a particular price for a ticket and when you click through to purchase it (purchases are made via airline websites or third parties like cheapoair or booking.com) the price may have increased. This is rare but it does happen. It also does not show prices for all airlines – the majority, but not all.
My only wish is that Google Flights had an app – that’d be perfect. Do you use Google Flights, if not are there any other websites you use? I know there’s an app called Hopper which has good reviews. Try Google Flights when booking your next lah hay and let me know how it goes! You can also use my trusted Travel Planners to plan that lah hay right!