Skyscanner has become one of the most popular websites for booking flights around the world. For the past five years, it has been my go-to whenever I’m planning (or just dreaming) of a new travel adventure. During this time I have learned a lot of great tricks and tips that I would love to share with you!
I’m sure you’re sick of hearing how it’s cheaper to book flights on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays. You can also get a VPN and pretend you’re in the location you are trying to get to (don’t forget to search prices in that currency). Then there’s that formula for getting the cheapest price by buying the ticket exactly six weeks before the trip. But that’s not always possible, so here are some useful tips.
If you’re looking to book on the spot, make sure you don’t start your search at 19:55. Every hour, airlines refresh their offers. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the price will change, but it’s a pain to F5 your entire search. Despite knowing this, I always end up swearing and refreshing anyway… so try to be smarter than me.
Sometimes you have zero flexibility with when and where you need to go. If this happens far in advance, you should take advantage of Skyscanner’s notifications. All you need to do is search the day and place you want to go, and set an email alert for any price changes. This can easily be canceled at any point in time and it doesn’t let Skyscanner spam your email.
Flexibility makes things a lot more interesting. If your dates are set but your destination is up in the air, you can just search “everywhere”. This will show you a list of countries/cities starting with the cheapest price. If your destination is set but you are looking for the cheapest time to go, you just need to select “cheapest month”. Best of all, you can select both “everywhere” AND “cheapest month”!
There are easy and cheap ways to squeeze more out of your trip. For example, we knew we wanted to go to the Philippines for Chinese New Year 2018. Just to see what would happen, I searched a one-way flight from Manila to “everywhere” and found that it costs less than $100 to fly between Manila and Bali.
Most people would just search multi-city flights from Shanghai – Manila, Manila – Bali and then Bali – Manila. But that would be skipping a step! When you search multi-city, you can’t select “whole month” which lets you see the cheapest days to fly on. So open up Skyscanner in three tabs in your browser and search for each flight separately. Record the cheapest days to fly and input those into one multi-city search.*
*Disclaimer: this might still cost more than booking a three-in-one flighta. However, while you’re booking one flight, one of the other might sell out or change. There are just so many variables to consider based on what’s best for you.
Finally, there’s a magical inspiration map that Skyscanner keeps hidden away. I didn’t notice it until a few months ago. In the top right of the flight search is the word “map”. Click on it for your world to change. You can see for yourself below, but the map allows you to chose a departure city and departure month and it shows you the prices to fly to major destinations as well as lots of green and red dots.
Green shows direct flights while the red dots have layovers from your chosen departure city. Hover/click on any dot and you’ll get more information about the price and cheapest times to fly there. I don’t know about you, but I could spend an hour pretend trip planning on that inspiration map.
Why do you love Skyscanner? Share in the comments below!