Dark Light

When it comes to frequent travel, good deals are critical. One of the main reasons we have been able to travel so much comes down to finding the best deals on flights. Here are 4 apps that we use whenever we are hunting for our next destination.

1. Google If this list could have only one thing on it, it would be Google flights. There is a massive assortment of filter options that make this the #1 travel planning necessity. When it comes to booking, you are typically directed right to the airline’s website. I always feel safer booking without a 3rd party. This tends to be helpful if there is a customer service issue.
If the journey is more important than the destination, be sure to check out the “explore” feature where you put in your dates and see where it is cheapest to fly! This is definitely a favorite for us.
One downside is that Southwest does not share information with the algorithm so you need to check SW airlines independently (more on that later).

Here is an example of a quick search for flights to “Europe” from Denver using the Explore feature:
*Be sure to play with dates and the price slide-bar to find your perfect destination! (Helsinki is looking pretty good in early October!)

Another thing I like about Google flights is the price comparison indicator. This can really help you know when to pounce or wait a little longer on that route.

In our experience, Google flights is one of the most comprehensive and user-friendly travel resources. I almost never use any travel websites like Kayak, Orbitz, or Expedia.

2. Hopper Hopper is another great tool that we use. There are similarities to google but it also has great notification features if you are watching out for when a price drops for a specific route. This is best used in the mobile app format and is available as a free download.
Hopper tends to have more detailed information regarding the timing of your purchase. They will make specific recommendations as to wether you should buy a flight or not, including specific dates and amounts fare is expected to change.

Staying on the Helsinki example…
It is easy to identify the best days to travel.
Hopper will specifically tell you if it’s a good day to book.
The “Price Prediction” tells you exactly when they they fares will change and by how much!
When it finally comes to selecting the exact flights you will be taking, Hopper even identifies things like “best flight”, “cheapest”, “fastest”, and “best refundable”. This can really increase your confidence when it comes to booking that trip.

3. Skiplagged Skiplagged is not for the travel novice or the faint of heart! But if you are serious about finding killer deals the airlines don’t want you know know… read on!

The main idea behind Skiplagged is finding routes the airlines don’t want you to find! For example, let’s imagine I want to fly Denver to Detriot this weekend (Friday to Sunday ) on Delta. A quick look on Google has a nonstop route priced at $410

However, skiplagged searches for flights going through your destination and you just hop off at your layover! In this example, if you book your flight to New Orleans, you actually take the exact same flight (12:46 am – 5:35 am) to DTW. Instead of carrying on to MSY, you skip off to Detroit and save a big chunk of change! The skiplagged price is $280!

*IMPORTANT*  when flying with skiplagged there are a few things to b keep in mind. If you book the “skiplagged rate” you cannot check a bag. The checked bag would arrive in a different city than you. You also should not use any frequent flyer programs so you are not as identifiable to the airline. This is not illegal, but it’s also not a way to win favor with the airline. Best to forgo the points in exchange for the big savings.

4. Southwest – When it comes to domestic travel, this is our go-to. Most typically we don’t look anywhere else! If we are going somewhere in the USA, we nearly always fly SWA. The mobile app is easy to use, the fares are competitive, and the service is second to none. On top of all the, perhaps the crown jewel of Southwest is the rewards program (especially if you hold the credit card! Linked at the bottom).
In a future post, I will share a few of the ways we leverage Southwest’s rapid rewards program. As for today, I will simply say they are a must due to the fact that they tend not to show up in any of the search algorithms so you have to check independently. They also have the best baggage policies so if you travel heavy, go this route!
When searching southwest, if your travel dates are flexible, be sure to use the full website on a computer to access the “Low Fare Calendar” that shows best prices across every day of the month. Also, join the Rapid Rewards program and get the emails for timely sale notifications. Finally, be sure to always check back, even if you have already booked because changing your flight is always free! When we book on SWA, we rarely worry about the price because we can always check back and change it to the lower fare if the price ever drops. You can also cancel your trip for a full refund (cash, credit, or points) right up until the doors close. This makes booking that crazy trip so much more doable because your never fully committed in the event your wild plans don’t come together!

Hopefully this inspires you to take to the skies and fly somewhere you weren’t expecting! And hopefully it helps save a little money along the way.

What are some of your favorite tools for researching flights? We’d love to hear from you. Comment on this or send us an email!



  1. Thanks for the great tips Kevin!!! We already know where he are headed to Orlando in February and have our lodging booked. Is it better to look for flights now or wait 60 to 90 days out? Just curious what your experience has been :-). Since Southwest doesn’t fly out of Kearney and we’d like to leave from here, will be checking with United.

    1. Hi Jan!
      Great to hear from you! First thing I’d do is check google.com/flights and see if they indicate where current prices stand relative to price trends.
      Secondly, I would familiarize myself with the cancellation policy of the airline you are looking at. Southwest, for example never has cancellation fees. So when I book on SW I book early and check back often. If I find a cheaper option, I simply cancel and re-book! Since travel has been so affected by the pandemic, many airlines have been more generous on their cancellation / flight change policies.

      From Kearney you’re probably going through Denver, so maybe also consider booking two separate flights..
      1 round trip from Kearney to Denver &
      1 round trip from Denver to Orlando!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *