It is surprisingly easy to find very cheap international flights nowadays. The arrival of low cost carriers to the market has had a great impact on fares. As a result, the prices have plummeted in the last few years.
The number of booking sites has increased dramatically because of the rising number of airlines, flights, routes, destinations and fares. Type ‘flight booking site’ in your favorite search engine and you will get millions of results. The task can be overwhelming…
The best piece of advice that I can give you is to be patient and do your research thoroughly. Hard work is always rewarded!
Here’s how to find very cheapest flights to anywhere in the world (including Spain, of course!).
1. Be flexible
I bet this the process you follow to get your flights:
- You pick where you want to go.
- You pick when you want to go.
- You check what prices are available.
And, of course, the fares that you get are (extremely) high.
Instead, if getting very cheap international flights is your priority, think outside the box:
- Use Google Flights, momondo, and Skyscanner to check what prices are available to several destinations around the world.
- Decide which of the cheap destinations you like the most.
- Select your preferred dates that have cheap fares available.
And of course, be sure to search more than one date: sometimes shifting the dates by even a day can cut the price in half.
2. Fly to Spain (or Europe at least) as cheaply as possible
If you want to get the cheapest flights possible, and you are coming to Spain from across the sea (North America, Australia, New Zealand, Asia, etc.) two consecutive air trips are frequently cheaper than one.
So consider a cheap air fare even if it’s not from your home airport or to your ultimate destination. It is not always the fastest option but it may be the cheapest.
It’s a 2-step trick:
Step 1. Look for the cheapest fare on longer routes. Are you flying from another continent? Look for a transoceanic flight to an important hub (e.g. London, Frankfurt). From there search for a route with a low cost carrier or a train or bus trip.
Step 2. Fly to other airports that are close by. Low cost carriers generally operate in smaller airports to save money. Big airports usually charge very high fees to the airlines to let them use the facilities. These are airports reasonably close to your final destination.
Plus you can stay and explore another Spanish city (or anywhere else in Europe, if you don’t mind) for as long or short as you like.
Needless to say that you need to check the connection time between flights when you’re booking for the second leg of your 2-step journey. Be sure there’s enough time between flights (or between flight and train, etc.) to get from one to the other. And don’t forget to include the time you’ll need to collect your bags from the first flight and re-check them on the next one (unless you plan to go carry-on only).
Rome2Rio is a great tool to help you find out local transport options between destinations.
3. Avoid the usual Spanish peak travel months
In Spain, the cheapest time of year to fly is usually:
- January through mid-March or April (usually right before Easter)
- October and November
The most expensive time to fly is usually:
- Peak summer: mid-June through mid-August
- December: particularly the first week of the month (the 6th and 8th are national holidays), plus any day around Christmas and New Year’s Eve
It will also vary a bit by the specific destination, especially around popular festivals. Fares to Barcelona for Sant Joan’s Day or to Seville for Semana Santa aren’t cheap.
4. Book your flights in advance
It’s not a sacred rule but airlines typically offer an interesting fare 1-3 months in advance for domestic flights and 2-8 months in advance for international flights.
If you intend to travel during peak season add 1-2 months to this estimate. Prices tend to jump in the 1-2 months before your departure, so don’t take unnecessary risks and you’ll manage to find very cheap international flights.
On the contrary, if you plan to travel during low season cheap fares will be published closer to your departure date.
5. What are the cheapest days to travel?
Obviously, this is a tough one as many airlines don’t have a 7-day coverage of all their routes, especially the low cost carriers. So cheap fares will basically depend on the date, and not on the day of the week.
However, if you can choose the exact day of the week of your flight try booking your on a Tuesday, Wednesday, or a Saturday as these are the cheapest days to travel. On the contrary, Friday and Sunday are usually the most expensive days.
6. Use the best tools to search for flights
Google Flights is probably the most powerful flight search engines on the internet, because it’s very easy to use and you can play around with tons of features.
- Google Flights has a simple, intuitive calendar view that shows you the cheapest fare over the next 12 months.
- Google Flights lets you search for the cheapest fare between up to 7 origin and 7 destination airports, without slowing the search down.
- Many times the best fares are found on smaller online travel agencies that Google Flights doesn’t look at.
- Similarly, many mistake fares only show up on smaller online travel agency websites. Google Flights won’t be able to find those.
- Every once in a while, Google Flights will tell you a fare is available at a certain rate, but when you click to continue your booking either the fare jumps in price, or there is no way to book online and instructs you instead to call the airline. Don’t waste your time calling them, the fare simply doesn’t exist.
Skyscanner is one of the most popular and reliable flight search engines as it has been on the market since 2001…
- The site’s flexible search options mean you can browse prices across a full month, or even a year. Again, this is easily customized in the search options. Click on the calendar icon and choose ‘whole month’ or ‘whole year’. A bar graph displays the current fares.
- Skyscanner can also be a travel inspirer if you don’t have a specific destination in mind. As a matter of fact, you can search flights to ‘everywhere’. All you have to do is leave the destination box blank and Skyscanner will display the cheapest countries. You can also type a country and you will get the cheapest destinations of that particular country.
- You always book direct with the airline or travel agent, so you get the lowest price, with no extra fees added.
- If you have set dates and a set destination, you can set up an alert and you will receive email notifications of price fluctuations on that route.
- Their monthly calendar does not live update because the prices displayed are based on other users’ previous searches. So the amount of results will depend on the popularity of the route which is not always handy.
- Skyscanner is not a travel agent so you will need to go through a third party to purchase your tickers.
- Unfortunately, Skyscanner flights are not always the cheapest. That’s why I also use Google Flights and momondo and compare the results I get at the three of them.
momondo is a global aggregator like Skyscanner and I always use it to cross check the results I got previously. It currently searches across 700+ travel websites simultaneously (airline websites and online travel agencies) and its network expands as new travel website are launched.
- momondo is a very user friendly website. All you have to do is choose your language and currency. Once you have set the origin and destination, select your departure and return dates.
- Don’t worry if you don’t have the exact dates yet. When you introduce the dates of your trip a bar chart indicates the lowest fare for each day. Browse across the dates according to the prices displayed. Note that the return fares vary depending on the departure date you set. You will see how the return chart varies so play around until you find what you are looking for.
- In addition to this, you can also use several filters to personalize your search. Select the number of stops, the airports, the alliances and the airlines to what suits you best.
- Finally, you can browse the results by price and time of the flights. No extra fees are added since you book directly with the airline or the travel agent.
- Even though momondo is really good at finding the cheapest price for a specific date, there’s no good way to see the cheapest fare over a number of weeks or months.
- You can only search one specific destination city at a time rather than multiple. The results you get when you type a region (e.g. “Western Europe”) are not reliable.
- momondo is not a travel agency. It’s just a search engine so you won’t able to book or buy a ticket through this website. All you have to do is select your flight and momondo will redirect you to the website (airline or travel agency) where you purchase your ticket.
- It is not as flexible as Google flights or Skyscanner. That’s why I use them all and compare.
7. Don’t get cold feet
You found some very cheap international flights. Congrats!
Don’t think twice and get it… now!
Because no one know how long it will it last. Each airline has its own calendar of promotions and marketing strategy.
But usually the better the fare, the shorter it will last (a few hours, a couple of days…).
8. Compare, keep looking and search once more!
There’s not magic trick when searching for very cheap international flights…
Extra tools to help you with your flights
Apart from the search tools mentioned above, developers have designed some fantastic tools that can complement your search and air tickets purchase. Here are the ones I frequently use when hunting for very cheap international flights.
SeatGuru helps you choose the best airline seats and in-flight amenities. In order to do so, it offers two great features:
- You get a wide range of detailed airplane seat maps. You can look for any plane model that you can imagine and you can even browse by airline.
- It provides seating advice, suggesting you where to seat and why.
It has the ability to search by carrier and flight number, if you don’t know the aircraft type.
Flightradar24 is a comprehensive and user-friendly site that provides real-time flight status, flight delays and other airport information. You can search by flight, airport or route and the results will tell you about the schedule and actual departure/arrival of the flight, the type of plane, etc.
Essential for your own use or if you are expecting the arrival of a relative or friend.
This article is part of a complete tutorial on how to fly to Spain where you can read all the information you need to organize your flights to the country.
Here is a complete summary of all the guide: