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While Tuesday evenings are still regularly the least expensive time for passages, you don’t have to watch the clock to know when to begin seeking on the United site. Presently, keen travel applications do all that reasoning and administration for you. Simply connect to your destination, date range, and spending plan, and let them take it from that point.
Navigate for magnificent applications and administrations that will take the worry of finding a shoddy flight so you can concentrate on what truly matters: having a ton of fun once you touch base at your destination.
Best For Finding Major Airline Deals In One Place: RetailMeNot
You might associate RetailMeNot with apparel discounts, but the site has a robust selection of travel discount codes and deals, too. Opt for the website over the app, though, to search specifically for flight deals. Before testing a code, be sure to check out the user comments to see if others have tried and found it successful.
Best For Finding What’s Possible On A Budget: liligo
If you want to get away, but aren’t sure what’s possible for your budget, download liligo. In addition to comparing prices across plane, train, and car, the app lets you put in a departure city, month, and budget. Then, it will map out the deals for you and show you where you can go on the fly.
Best For Business Travelers: Upside Travel
The genius of Upside Travel is that it rewards you for work travel. Book your flights and hotel as a package online. The lower-priced bundle means that your company gets a better deal. Every time you book, you’ll get a gift card to use for yourself, some of which can total hundreds of dollars, to places including Amazon, Target, and Whole Foods. Plus, you still get to use your own frequent flier miles when booking, so it’s really a win-win situation.
Best for knowing what you’re getting: TripAdvisor
In addition to offering helpful alerts that will tell you when prices drop, TripAdvisor’s app (free, iOS and Android) provides what the site does best: reviews. Photos and write-ups from other travelers will give you inside intel on your plane, so you’ll know which seat to pick and can judge if the low price is worth the minimal legroom.
Best for Curated Deals: Travelzoo
If you don’t feel like scrolling through tons of deal listings, just read Travelzoo’s Top 20. The app (free, via the App Store) researches the best deals across across the web and compiles them into one, easy to digest list every week. Not all of the packages include airfare, but many do.
Best If You’re Still In The Planning Stages: Google Flights
You want to take a vacation at some point a few months from now, to somewhere… But, while you have an idea of what you want, you don’t have anything pinned down yet. That’s okay! You may not have ever realized it, but Google actually has a powerful flight search built into its browser, and if your travel plans are a bit open-ended, it’s excellent for exploring your options. Here’s how it works: Enter your search, like “Flights to Paris,” for example, then in the search results, click “Flights” across the top navigation bar. There, you can customize the date range and budget and see a list of options from a variety of airlines neatly listed out. If you’re not sure (or you don’t care) which airport you want to travel to — say you just want the cheapest flight into Europe, it doesn’t matter if it’s actually Paris or not — Google shows a map that plots out other airports and their prices for the same travel dates. You can click a result for more details, like whether it has in-flight TV, Wi-Fi, and how often it’s usually delayed. Then you can choose what site to actually book the fare through.
The latest update to Google Flights includes notifications that let you know when fares are expected to go up or down to help you decide whether to hold off or book right away. If you’re having trouble picking a flight, use the site’s tips on finding low airfare to guide your choice.
If your plans are more flexible, tap the “Explore” tab to see suggested destinations and accompanying flights.
Best If You’re Not In A Rush: Lola Travel
If you want to take a trip at some point in the future, but you don’t want to spend a lot of time planning it yourself, check out Lola Travel. This invite-only app gives you access to real, human travel consultants who will help you plan everything from your flight and hotel stay, to what you do once you get to your destination. You can be as specific or as general as you want in your requests (say you want a romantic week-long getaway with flights under $1,000, or a trip to the Bahamas during the cheapest time of year), and Lola will help solve your needs.
Best If Your Flight Might Get Cancelled: Freebird
When you’ve got to get to your destination tonight, and your flight’s been cancelled, it can be a nightmare to deal with your airline, finding a new flight, and trying not to spend an insane amount of money. If you’ve got an important flight — or know you’re traveling a route that often gets delayed or cancelled — pay $19 (one-way) or $34 (round-trip) for Freebird instead. Freebird is a lot like flight insurance, but it takes the cost of your new flight out of the equation entirely, so all you have to focus on is picking one of the available flights that best suits your needs.
Best For Bargain Hunters: Hopper
You’re one of those people that manages to find the cheapest deal on everything, aren’t you? You should check out Hopper (free on iOS and Android), which provides an overview of when you can get the best deals on flights, and when’s the best time to purchase them. The app “analyzes billions of flight prices daily” so you can save up to 40% on flights. When you search a particular route, the app clearly tells you what the lowest price available is right now, whether you should purchase now or wait, and the latest date by which you should book tickets. The app also notifies you as soon as prices drop, and when they’re about to go up, thanks to a price predicting feature. If you’ve got some wiggle room when it comes to purchasing your tickets, Hopper is an excellent choice for figuring out the best deal.
Best For Travel Dates That Can’t Change: Kayak
If your upcoming travel dates are set in stone, there’s no point in browsing the deals you could get on other days. You just want the best available price, and Kayak (free on iOS and Android) can help with that. Kayak surfaces great deals from sites like Orbitz and Travelocity, as well as its own specials, so you find the absolute best rates for a particular day. The app organizes flights in order from least to most expensive, along with how many seats are available for each option. The app is super straightforward and easy to use, particularly since you can book flights straight through the app, rather than being redirected to another app or site. It’s also great if you’re looking for car rental and hotel deals after you’ve purchased your flight.
Best For Spontaneous Getaways: Hitlist
When you feel an itch to hop on a plane and go somewhere, Hitlist has you covered. The app will show you the best deals on upcoming flights to locations nearby. You can also search for the cheapest flights by region, such as those to Europe and Southeast Asia, as well as those for timely events, like Art Basel in Switzerland, for instance. If you’re really feeling adventurous, select the “Best of the Rest” category. This will show you the best flights for the rest of day as determined by destination, duration, and price.
Best For Gaming The System: Skiplagged
If you’ve ever booked a trip to L.A. and then booked a trip to Portland with a layover in L.A., you may have noticed that airlines charge less for the latter trip to L.A. Well, Skiplagged has found a way to get you those cheaper “layover” flights when they’re actually your last stop — which can mean savings up to 80% off the normal ticket price. The app is also great for finding inexpensive fares and fare comparisons by date and airport, so you’re guaranteed to get a good deal wherever you’re headed.
Best For Getting Extra Deals: CheapOair
In addition to helping you find the cheapest days to fly that month, CheapOair partners with airlines to give you extra deals on flights. You can also earn Loyalty Rewards for flights that you book through the app (in addition to your frequent-flier miles), that you can use to save on hotel stays. You’ll save money all around.
Best For Avoiding Extra Fees: Cheapflights
That great price you got on your flight to Zurich can easily get canceled out when you add in all the hidden expenses that come from baggage costs, payment fees, and more. But the Cheapflights app can help make sure that doesn’t happen. After you’ve entered your travel details and are presented with possible itineraries, press the credit card icon in the center of the bottom toolbar. Here, you’ll see what extras have additional charges, so you can be sure to avoid those in order to get the best deal possible.