Skip to main content

You’re planning trips all wrong — the best hack for the cheapest flights

Want to get the cheapest flights? The travel planning mistake you're probably making

No one likes to be told they’re doing something wrong. However, you can’t fix what you don’t know, and what you don’t know could be costing you big when you’re travel planning.

Travel planning typically follows a similar itinerary: You choose a destination and a date, often around your work schedule. Teachers usually select summer. Accountants probably won’t be jetting off anywhere during tax season.

The problem? You’re probably boxing yourself into a specific price tag on flights— even with deals from sites like TripAdvisor and Expedia.

Massive flexibility will give you more runway to score deals on the cheapest flights. Obviously, this luxury isn’t available to anyone, but if you have wanderlust and a spontaneous side, read on.

airplane in blue sky

Prioritize the fare over the destination

The destination is often the primary driver in our travel planning process. You may have a list of places to go and attractions you’d like to see during your lifetime. However, there are so many places to travel to that you may have never considered. Keeping an open mind could help you maintain a hefty wallet.

Instead of keeping the destination top-of-mind when traveling, prioritize the best fares during your search. It can seem overwhelming, though — there are so many airlines. A few tools will streamline the process for you. Skyscanner’s Everywhere Search and Google Flights Explore Map can help you find the cheapest flights from your local airport. You’ll just need to input your airport, and you might want to use the price slider to give a maximum spend amount to ensure you stay within budget.

The key: Leave the destination blank. Then, watch as the app populates the cheapest flights around.

If you can’t see yourself being that spontaneous, enter a region, country, or continent. For example, maybe you’ve never been to Asia. Visiting all seven continents is on your bucket list. Putting in Asia but keeping an open mind about the places to travel to when you’re there is a good compromise. There are a lot of places on your bucket list — why box yourself into one this time when you can go with the cheapest option and save the other locations for your next trip?

Be flexible on dates

Perhaps you truly have your heart set on a destination. If work and lifestyle allow, consider being super flexible on the dates you choose to travel — we’re talking six to 12 months flexible. It’s not feasible for everyone. Parents have school and sports schedules to revolve their vacations around, and some employers simply aren’t that flexible.

Still, you can snag a deal. In the tool, enter your desired departure and arrival dates. Then, hit the 7-day fares button. You can see how certain days offer significant savings, often during the week versus the weekend when more people are looking to fly. You could save hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars.

Play around with it and see, if only because it’s fun to dream.

Editors' Recommendations

BethAnn Mayer
Beth Ann's work has appeared on and In her spare time, you can find her running (either marathons…
Travel tips for a better flight: The secret airline perks you didn’t know about
Knowing these secret airline tips could make travel a little nicer
Man seated on airplane speaking with flight attendant


With the average price of flights on the rise and many airlines charging more for perks that used to be included in your ticket price (hello, window seat), you might long for the good ole days when fliers were pampered with little extras like, say, dinner on a domestic flight. While those times are likely gone for good, there are still plenty of free or low-cost benefits out there for air travelers that the airlines don’t always tell you about—and most of them are available even if you’re not in the airline’s frequent flyer program.

Read more
These are the best airlines for every type of traveler
Have certain requirements for your travel needs? Look through the best airlines to fly to find your match
Passengers boarding a flight.

Are you the kind of traveler that needs to know the flight will always leave on time? Or that your precious fur baby will travel as safely as possible? Or how about the passenger that needs to know the seat isn't going to break your spine during the flight? Flying with a dog, wanting the most comfortable airline, or the one that will get you there without an issue - the best airlines to fly in every category are right here, thanks to a study conducted by WalletHub.

WalletHub compared 11 airlines — the 9 largest U.S. air carriers, plus two regional ones — across 14 different metrics, including cancellation and delay rates, baggage mishaps, and in-flight comfort. The study also took into account cost so that low-cost carriers wouldn't be penalized for not providing amenities their passengers don't expect.

Read more
This is the best time to visit Hawaii for an unforgettable trip
If you want to know the best time to go to Hawaii (and the worst time), here's when to plan your trip
Surfboards that have aloha spelled out on them.

If you want a vacation filled with gorgeous hikes, stunning beaches, delicious food, and getting safely close to volcanoes, then Hawaii is your final destination. With an endless list of reasons to visit the aloha state, the hard decision isn't if you should go or not — it's when you should go. Whether or not you've ever been, here's the best time to visit Hawaii to get the most out of your trip.

Time to book
Everyone has their preferences when it comes to the timing of their vacation. Some of us hate going during the hottest months, and some hate going during the busiest months. Pick your preference and see which month is best for you.
The off seasons

Read more