Unleashing the Power to Find Your Dream Trip:Take Flight: How Google Flights Can Help You Plan Your Ultimate Vacation on a Budget
Unleashing the Power to Find Your Dream Trip:Take Flight: How Google Flights Can Help You Plan Your Ultimate Vacation on a Budget - Set Your Destination Without Limits
One of the best parts of using Google Flights is the ability to easily search for flights all over the world without being limited to specific airlines or regions. You can literally search for flights to any airport on the planet and compare prices across countless options. This opens up a world of possibilities when planning your next vacation.
With most airline sites, you are restricted to searching their specific network of routes and partners. But Google Flights allows you to think outside the box and set your sights on more exotic, off-the-beaten path destinations you may have never considered before. Dreaming of island hopping in the South Pacific? Google Flights has you covered. How about a safari adventure in Africa or a trek in the Himalayas? No problem - you can search flights to remote airports deep in the wilderness.
The flexibility to search worldwide without limits is incredibly empowering. It enables you to find the best deals to places you actually want to visit, rather than limiting yourself to where certain airlines fly. This has completely changed how people can plan dream trips on a budget.
For example, one couple had always wanted to visit Southeast Asia but found mainstream destinations like Thailand too expensive. By using Google Flights' worldwide search, they discovered an amazingly cheap fare to Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam. This led them to plan a whole backpacking adventure through Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos - something they never would have considered without Google Flights.
Another solo traveler used the worldwide search to find a cheap flight to Nairobi. This inspired him to plan an incredible safari trip he'd been dreaming about for years but thought would be out of his budget. Thanks to Google Flights, he was able to make it happen.
Even if you have a destination in mind, don't limit yourself. Try searching for nearby airports as well. You may find a much cheaper flight to a nearby city you can use as a launching point for your travels. The worldwide search possibilities are endless, which opens the door to planning your ultimate dream trip no matter how remote or exotic the locale.
What else is in this post?
- Unleashing the Power to Find Your Dream Trip:Take Flight: How Google Flights Can Help You Plan Your Ultimate Vacation on a Budget - Set Your Destination Without Limits
- Unleashing the Power to Find Your Dream Trip:Take Flight: How Google Flights Can Help You Plan Your Ultimate Vacation on a Budget - Compare Prices Across Airlines and Dates
- Unleashing the Power to Find Your Dream Trip:Take Flight: How Google Flights Can Help You Plan Your Ultimate Vacation on a Budget - Use Flexible Dates to Uncover Deals
- Unleashing the Power to Find Your Dream Trip:Take Flight: How Google Flights Can Help You Plan Your Ultimate Vacation on a Budget - Filter by Stops and Airlines
- Unleashing the Power to Find Your Dream Trip:Take Flight: How Google Flights Can Help You Plan Your Ultimate Vacation on a Budget - Track Prices and Get Notifications
- Unleashing the Power to Find Your Dream Trip:Take Flight: How Google Flights Can Help You Plan Your Ultimate Vacation on a Budget - Maximize Miles and Rewards Programs
- Unleashing the Power to Find Your Dream Trip:Take Flight: How Google Flights Can Help You Plan Your Ultimate Vacation on a Budget - Use Tools to Find Nearby Airports
- Unleashing the Power to Find Your Dream Trip:Take Flight: How Google Flights Can Help You Plan Your Ultimate Vacation on a Budget - customize Your Search for Exact Needs
Unleashing the Power to Find Your Dream Trip:Take Flight: How Google Flights Can Help You Plan Your Ultimate Vacation on a Budget - Compare Prices Across Airlines and Dates
One of the most valuable features of Google Flights is the ability to easily compare prices across different airlines and travel dates. This allows you to find the best possible deal for your budget and maximize savings.
For example, when planning a trip to Europe you may initially search for flights on your preferred airline during the dates you have in mind. But after comparing across multiple airlines and flexible travel dates using Google Flights, you could uncover savings opportunities you’d never find just by checking one airline.
I recently used this feature when booking a trip to Oslo. I first checked flights on my usual airline for the dates I wanted. The price was higher than I hoped for the peak summer dates. But then I searched on Google Flights, leaving the dates wide open. I found tickets on a competing airline for half the price if I traveled just two weeks earlier. This flexibility allowed me to save hundreds of dollars without sacrificing my trip.
Other times, Google Flights has helped me save money by showing cheaper flights on less convenient routings. I may have to connect through a different hub city or take a layover I'd rather avoid. But the savings of $150 or more make the extra hassle worthwhile.
For example, when booking a trip to Hawaii, I was ready to pay more for the convenience of a nonstop flight from my hometown. But Google Flights made it easy to compare the price of a connection through Los Angeles versus the nonstop. The layover added a few hours, but saved me $350. An easy call with savings like that!
Beyond airlines and dates, the price graph tool in Google Flights allows you to visualize prices over an entire month at a glance. You can quickly identify the cheapest travel windows for your route. This visualization makes it easy to shift your dates around by a day or two if it unlocks significant savings.
While flexibility with airlines and dates takes some effort, the savings you can unlock with Google Flights make it well worth your time. Being open minded and avoiding locking in on a single option before comparing can lead to hundreds in savings. This allows you to afford trips that may have otherwise been out of reach.
Unleashing the Power to Find Your Dream Trip:Take Flight: How Google Flights Can Help You Plan Your Ultimate Vacation on a Budget - Use Flexible Dates to Uncover Deals
One of the best tricks for saving money with Google Flights is being flexible with your travel dates. This opens up opportunities to uncover deep flight discounts you’d never find if married to specific dates.
Travelers often get stuck on rigid date ranges for trips, whether due to work schedules, school calendars, or simple inflexibility. But avoiding this tunnel vision and keeping an open mind on dates can lead to huge savings. Google Flights makes it easy to painlessly search across flexible date ranges and pinpoint the cheapest options.
For example, one family was planning a summer trip to visit relatives in Chicago. They initially searched flights for the 2 weeks they had available in July. Prices were steep at $500 roundtrip per person from California. But when they opened up the dates in Google Flights, they found tickets for just $198 roundtrip per person...if they traveled in late May instead.
This wasn’t an ideal time due to school still being in session. But the dramatic savings allowed them to pull their kids out for a couple days and make the trip work. The family saved nearly $1,000 overall and got to enjoy the trip without breaking the bank.
Another way Google Flights’ flexible dates help is by revealing one-way discounts. Roundtrip airfare is essentially two one-ways bundled together. But airlines don’t always accurately price each leg. Being flexible on return dates allows you to mix and match one-ways.
One traveler found a $499 roundtrip fare to Europe for August. But when he searched one-ways, the outbound was $480 and the return just $180 with a more flexible return date range. Buying the one-ways separately saved him nearly $200 without altering the length of his overall trip.
Beyond date flexibility, Google Flights makes it easy to visualize prices across an entire month. The graph highlights cheap zones your specific dates may fall outside of. You can then shift your dates around by a few days or weeks to capitalize.
Using this view, one couple realized moving their Italy trip up two weeks would save them $350 per ticket. Rather than refusing to budge on dates, they decided enjoying Rome in September vs October was no big deal. Their flexibility paid off.
Unleashing the Power to Find Your Dream Trip:Take Flight: How Google Flights Can Help You Plan Your Ultimate Vacation on a Budget - Filter by Stops and Airlines
One exceptionally useful feature in Google Flights is the ability to filter your flight search results by number of stops and specific airlines. This allows you to zero in on the options that best fit your ideal trip parameters. Whether you are willing to compromise on stops to get the cheapest fare or prefer the convenience of flying nonstop, Google Flights has you covered. This can lead to hundreds in savings by tailoring options to your needs.
For many travelers, a nonstop flight is the goal to maximize time at the destination. But nonstops frequently come with a hefty premium, especially on competitive routes. This is where Google Flights’ filter shines. You can set the filter to only show nonstop flights and easily compare pricing across dates and airlines. If the price difference versus a connection is minimal, the nonstop may be worthwhile to avoid the hassle.
But don’t rule out connections too quickly. I’ve often saved $200 or more by opting for a layover to save money. For example, on recent trip to Costa Rica, the nonstop from Los Angeles priced out at $482. However, an option with a brief layover in Dallas was available for just $328 roundtrip. For my beach vacation, an extra 90 minutes each way was a small sacrifice for $154 in savings!
Beyond number of stops, filtering by specific airlines can also lead to big savings. Maybe you have miles or a credit card with one airline and want to maximize benefits. Or you have elite status with an airline that gives you perks like free checked bags and priority boarding. In those cases, filtering to see only your preferred airline may make sense.
But don’t get airline blinders on. In many cases, opening up your search to alternative airlines surfaces much cheaper fares. I’m a hardcore loyalist on my preferred airline. But searching Google Flights flexibly has saved me hundreds when other airlines offer better deals.
For instance, I recently needed to book a last minute trip for a family emergency. My preferred airline wanted $642 roundtrip with only a few days notice. However, Google Flights showed another reputable airline had tickets for just $492 on the exact same route. As much as I wanted to stick to my preferred program, $150 was too substantial to pass up. While it took me out of my comfort zone, the savings were worth it.
Unleashing the Power to Find Your Dream Trip:Take Flight: How Google Flights Can Help You Plan Your Ultimate Vacation on a Budget - Track Prices and Get Notifications
One of the most useful features of Google Flights is the ability to track prices and set up alerts for when airfares drop. This eliminates constant checking and gives you peace of mind knowing you'll be notified if a good deal pops up for your routes.
I like to set price alerts for trips I'm planning 6+ months out and keep an eye on fares. Airfare fluctuates often, so a price that seems high today could be hundreds less next week. Google Flights makes tracking effortless.
Simply enter your route, travel dates and desired cabin class. Before searching, click the "Track Price" button. Google will then monitor fares and email you if the price drops significantly. I recommend setting alerts if prices are higher than you hope. There's no downside to monitoring and you don't have to book if notified.
Price drop alerts have helped me save big time. I was planning a trip to Asia and saw flights for $780, more than I wanted to pay. But I set a Google Flights price alert anyway. Sure enough, just two weeks later I got a notification the fare had dropped to $642. I jumped on it right away and saved $138 without any extra effort on my part.
Beyond individual routes, you can track prices for entire regions too. For example, you may want to visit Europe sometime in the next year but don't have set plans. Just enter "Europe" as the destination and Google will monitor cheap fares across the continent. When a good deal pops up, you can then build a trip around the fare.
I had a friend who wanted to get to Europe on a budget. He set a Google Flights price alert for the region. When he got notified of a $398 fare to Milan in late September, he quickly planned a whole Italy trip around the cheap flight. Without the alert, he likely would have paid hundreds more booking last minute.
Even for domestic trips, price alerts pay dividends. I was recently notified by Google Flights when the fare for my routine cross-country route to visit family dropped by $63. I rebooked my existing ticket in minutes and saved enough for an extra nice dinner on vacation. Small savings add up.
Beyond airfare, you can also track prices for hotels through Google Flights. This syncs with Google's powerful hotel search that aggregates prices across booking sites. Price drop alerts ensure you don't overpay if rates decrease.
Unleashing the Power to Find Your Dream Trip:Take Flight: How Google Flights Can Help You Plan Your Ultimate Vacation on a Budget - Maximize Miles and Rewards Programs
One of the best parts of Google Flights is how it helps you maximize your airline miles, points, and loyalty program benefits. No matter your preferred airline or hotel rewards program, Google Flights makes it easy to put your hard-earned points and elite status to use finding the best deals.
For instance, I religiously collect points with Delta Skymiles. When searching for award flights, most airline sites restrict you to only seeing their own awards inventory and partners. But Google Flights allows you to input your loyalty program while still comparing prices across all airlines. This helps reveal instances where it may be cheaper to book with cash versus miles on Delta's site.
On a recent trip to Cancun, the Delta site wanted 70,000 miles for the roundtrip award flight. But when I searched the route in Google Flights and entered my Skymiles account, I found I could book with United for only 12,500 miles instead. This enabled me to save my Delta miles for another high-value redemption.
Beyond miles, Google Flights makes it easy to filter flights by amenities like free WiFi, seatback entertainment, and meals. This is hugely valuable for maximizing the elite perks and status benefits you’ve earned. As a Diamond Medallion on Delta, I enjoy complimentary upgrades and access to their Sky Club airport lounges when flying Delta. By filtering for only Delta flights, I can use Google to find the cheapest fares that maximize my elite perks.
For hotel programs, Google Flights also syncs up seamlessly with your loyalty memberships. Connect your account with any major chain like Hilton, Marriott or Hyatt. Google Flights will then display your member discounts and rates when searching hotels. This ensures you never miss out on exclusive elite discounts and bonus point earnings.
One couple planned a vacation to Miami unsure whether to pay cash or use Marriott points. By searching in Google Flights while logged into their Marriott Bonvoy accounts, they could easily compare both options. This allowed them to determine that using points for 5 free nights was a better value than paying cash. Linking programs provides all the info you need to maximize value.
Unleashing the Power to Find Your Dream Trip:Take Flight: How Google Flights Can Help You Plan Your Ultimate Vacation on a Budget - Use Tools to Find Nearby Airports
One clever tip for unlocking savings with Google Flights is taking advantage of their tools to search for nearby airport options. Oftentimes, expanding your search beyond just the main airport in a city can reveal dramatically cheaper fares. Google makes it easy to input alternative airports within driving distance of your destination. This opens up deals you’d otherwise overlook.
For example, when traveling to Los Angeles I instinctively want to fly into LAX. But by putting “Los Angeles” as my destination in Google Flights and leaving the airport code blank, I can see prices for nearby options like Long Beach, John Wayne, and Ontario airports.
On a recent trip to LA, the cheapest fare into LAX was $412 roundtrip from Denver. However, flights into Long Beach were only $328 roundtrip on the same dates – a cool $84 in savings! The airport is just a quick 30 minute drive from central LA, so I had no problem using the smaller airport to save big.
The same concept applies for New York City. Rather than locking in on JFK or Newark airports, expand your search to include LaGuardia and smaller regional airports across New Jersey. I’ve flown into airports like Atlantic City and rented a car to New York to save hundreds over crowded hub airports.
Google Flights makes this so easy by showing all nearby options on a map when you search a city name without an airport code. You can quickly filter and compare prices, drive times, and convenience.
Europe is another great example where expanding your airport search pays dividends. I was flying to London and assumed I’d have to fly into Heathrow or Gatwick. But when I searched London in Google Flights, I found Stansted Airport offered fares over $300 cheaper. The airport was a bit farther out from the city, but still connected by convenient train lines. Well worth the extra time for those savings!
The nearby airport tool also helps for travel planning beyond just flights. For instance, you may find cheaper rental cars or hotels near alternative airports farther from the urban core. Factor in those ancillary savings with the cheaper flights and expanding your airport search makes even more sense.
Be flexible and use the tips and tricks Google Flights provides to consider all options within reasonable driving distance of your intended destination. Avoid getting blinders on and only seeing one airport choice.
It does take extra effort to consider additional airports and how viable they are for your particular trip. But escaping high prices at main hubs is easily worth an extra 30-60 minutes of transportation time.
Plus exploring new airports can lead to exciting discoveries and adventures a bit off the standard tourist trail. Some of my most memorable local experiences have come from trips routed through alternative airports.
Unleashing the Power to Find Your Dream Trip:Take Flight: How Google Flights Can Help You Plan Your Ultimate Vacation on a Budget - customize Your Search for Exact Needs
Google Flights offers robust customization tools that allow you to filter flight searches to match your exact travel preferences. While the basic search gives a helpful starting point, taking the time to tailor options to your needs unlocks huge savings potential.
For example, one traveler was planning a long-haul trip from the west coast to Asia. He needed a flight with a premium economy seat due to medical reasons. Just searching basic economy fares brought back prices over $2,000 for the dates he wanted. But when he filtered by premium economy specifically, he uncovered an itinerary with his required seat type for just $1,142.
Beyond cabin class, Google Flights has filters for amenities like seatback screens, power outlets, WiFi and more. One couple prioritizes having inflight entertainment on long flights. By filtering their Australia flight search for planes with seatback screens, they avoided cheap-but-boring budget carrier options prone to restlessness. Sometimes paying a bit more for the right amenities makes travel more enjoyable.
If you need to get work done inflight, filtering by WiFi can ensure you stay productive. One executive had to book last minute Los Angeles to New York flights for an urgent business trip. Filtering for WiFi made sure he could get online to prepare rather than being disconnected. Worth the extra cost in his case.
For taller travelers, the “extra legroom” filter pinpoints seats with more space. One frequent flyer used this to isolate flights with Economy Plus seating for his long legs. He didn’t mind paying $25 extra each way to stretch out, which Google Flights made easy to identify.
Beyond amenities, you can filter by specific flight times. Only see morning departures to get a full day on arrival. Or late-night red eyes to maximize your last day before leaving. One couple filtered by early morning east coast arrivals for a long weekend trip. This let them take the first flight out, sleep on the plane, and hit the ground running with a full Friday itinerary.