AC’s picks: Travel tools you need to start using now

One of the questions we get asked the most is “how can you afford all these trips?” Well, kids, here’s the secret: it’s not about affordability so much as flexibility. For example, returning from a weekend getaway on a Monday morning is generally less expensive than flying back on a Sunday night (depending on where you’re coming from of course). Many airlines offer more early morning flights on Monday than they do evening flights on Sunday to cater to their business travel market, anyway. So, you can have that last Sunday evening dinner with family or friends, AND get to Monday’s 9AM conference call on time, AND save $$ on airfare. It’s a win-win-win. Plus, bringing a fun weekend to an end on a Monday morning instead of a Sunday night will temper the effects of those Sunday scaries, big time.

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Okay so it’s not ALL about flexibility, it’s also about making the best use of the right travel apps, websites, and search engines out there to hunt down a juicy airfare bargain. AC has perfected the art of working this system (remember our Ecuador trip? We spent just over $150 on our roundtrip airfare. Yep, that’s US dollars). 

So how do we afford all these trips? We’re so glad you asked! Here’s a list of our favorite travel deal apps and websites we can’t live without:

AirFareWatchdog 

  • What we love: The sheer variety and number of airfare deals these guys are able to scrounge up. From daily featured fares, to daily domestic fares, international fares, blooper/mistake fares, big fares, small fares, fat fares and skinny fares, not finding an incredible price on your next flight would be tough. You just have to be somewhat flexible in your travel plans. Also, you can designate your home airport and receive flight notifications for that, too.
  • What we don’t love: The user interface. The emails are spammy-looking and the website is aesthetically displeasing. 
  • Link here 
  • Download the app here

airfaredog

Dan’s Deals

  • What we love: Dans Deals is a subscription-based daily deal tracker specializing in maximizing, and earning, miles and points. Not only does Dan send you daily deals for airfare, but he’s also an expert finder of just about every other type of deal and perk under the sun, from hotel stays in San Fransisco to Children’s Advil on Amazon to HD Dell monitors on Ebay. You can also get his daily alerts via SMS. 
  • What we don’t love: Nada. We ain’t got nothin’ but love for Dan. 
  • Link here 
  • Follow Dan’s blog! Blog sees blog, blog supports blog, yay for blogs.

dansdeals

The Flight Deal 

  • What we love: The Flight Deal’s mantra is that they only seek out fares that are 6 cents per mile or less. This is equivalent to a round trip airfare of $425 or less from New York to Barcelona. Like some of the other sites we’ve mentioned, The Flight Deal finds airfare deals based on precise or generic destinations. H
    owever, the major differentiating factor is that all the deals are divided by airline. So if you’re particularly loyal to a specific airline or airline alliance, this site caters to you. 
  • What we don’t love: The name. Too basic.
  • Link here

the-flight-deal

Google Flights 

  • What we love: The “Discover Trips” tool. Using this feature on the website allows you to search airfare deals in any given month to any given continent. The “Discover Trips” tool will search cheapest airfare based on airline, dates, and departure/destination airports. You can even narrow down destinations by interest (adventure travel, beaches, culture, honeymoon, food, wildlife, winter sports, etc.). Thinking about planning an ecotourism trip to Asia in August? This site is for you. 
  • What we don’t love: No app! What’s up with dat? 
  • Link here 

google-flights

Hopper  

  • What we love: This app’s price predictor feature, it’s one of the most precise we’ve encountered. Once you start “watching” a flight, Hopper will lay out a detailed price prediction timeline leading up to the departure day. The timeline offers insight as to when (as in the exact week, or even day in some cases) prices are expected to increase, as well as by how much (down to the  exact dollar amount).  We also love that you can get push notifications via text the instant your watched itinerary drops in price.
  • What we don’t love: Hopper only lets you “watch” specific itineraries. So you have to have an exact destination and exact travel dates in mind. Not the best app for free spirits and wanderers looking for their next spontaneous getaway.
  • Download the app here

 hopper

Skiplagged

  • What we love: This search engine is the con artist of the travel search engine community… but in the best way possible. As well as finding regular airfare deals, Skiplagged finds deals on “hidden city flights,” flight routes in which you get off at the layover rather than the final destination. In other words, if you need to get to Phoenix from Miami, Skiplagged will find you a bargain fare on a Miami-Phoenix-Las Vegas ticket, and you’d simply hop off in Phoenix and skip the Phoenix-Las Vegas leg of the trip. Sneaky sneaky. We also don’t hate the easy-on-the-eyes user interface (we’re big on UIs, can you tell?) and their clickable price timeline, which breaks down a historical account of which days have had the cheapest fares for the trip you’re looking for. 
  • What we don’t love: Because of the stealth nature of this setup, you need to keep certain things in mind. Don’t check bags (they’ll end up at the final destination) and don’t associate airline frequent flier accounts with the hidden city booking because some airlines might invalidate any accrued miles. So, use this at your own risk.
  • Link here
  • Download the app here 

skiplagged

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