Updated: Jun 17, 2019
Searching the net for great flight prices can be quite the task. Finding a decent price is only half the battle, let alone deciphering what constitutes as a great price in the first place. I too tussle with this dynamic, despite how many trips I’ve taken, so I figured I’d share with you some of my favorite tools!
The following list are some of my personal favorite flight aggregators, in no particular order, all of which are guaranteed to find you something sweet regardless of what your definition of a great price is. Of course, signing up for the paid versions of all of these services simultaneously might be counterproductive to some (if your goal is to save money), but hopefully this list will give you some insight into what services may be best for you. I’d highly recommend signing up for one if not two of these.
As a final disclaimer before you start, the vast majority of the deals found on sites like these are considered flash sales and on some occasions error flights, meaning they will expire after a short window of time (varies between a few days and a few weeks). It’s best to have a saving plan in place so that you have cash saved to jump on a deal when it appears. A credit card is another great option so you can pull the trigger on a sweet deal and then pay it off later while racking up the rewards. Just a tip. Now, without further ado…
This list is in no particular order, but since I am an official affiliate of Dollar Flight club, I might as well start here. Dollar Flight Club is as good a flight aggregator as you will find in today's market.
The premium plan cost $40 per year (not month) and offers decent customization. It allows you to choose your specific departure airports and even favorite airlines if you’re particular, which it then uses to tailor your deals specifically to you. Once you set your preferences you should start receiving deals fairly instantly, both via email and on your dashboard.
Here’s a peak at my dashboard.
In true “flash sale” style, many deals have expired already, but I wanted to show you what to expect.
Sensational price for a Colombia flight! If I didn’t have trips planned already I would definitely jump on it! Here's what it looks like when you click on a deal.
There is a toggle for domestic flights as well which is a nice touch. A nice weekend getaway comes in the clutch when you are low on vacation hours at work or funds in general (or just suffering from tripophobia).
The company prides themselves on offering an average of $500 in savings per flight. That obviously depends on many variables such as where you are going and when, so I’m not sure how accurate that is or how exactly they arrived at that number, but they for sure find great deals that WILL save you money.
To put a nice red ribbon on this package, Dollar Flight Club also offers you exclusive discounts with select partner brands offering gear and expeditions. I can't give you the code as that would be dishonest of me as an affiliate, but join and you will get access too.
Gripes: There aren’t too many things I don’t like about the service, but the one gripe I do have is that you can’t handpick a specific place you want to travel to or even a region or continent. Instead, they search from any and every flight that leaves from your preferred airport and leaves it to you to wade through the findings. This is a pretty good “problem” to have admittedly, and the deals are spectacular enough to dry my tears, but it is still a bit annoying. I wouldn’t be me if I wasn’t transparent at all times. Affiliate or not.
There is also no app, although they remedy that by offering optional text notifications.
Price: $40/year (per YEAR, not month)
Is there a Free Version?: Yes. The free version is purposely watered down, and only offers a fraction of the deals and only from departure regions as opposed to specific airports. The limited deals they do send are also delayed as well, so it is safe to say the free service is just to give you a taste of what lies ahead. There is also a free trial of the premium service that you can opt into for a week and then cancel before being charged, but again you probably won’t find much.(7 days of full premium service)
Worth it? Definitely. $40 a year is a great price
Are you subscribed? – I was approached to be an affiliate (meaning I was granted a free premium membership), so yes. Would I have signed up if I wasn’t and affiliate? I can honestly say I would. Dollar Flight Club is one of the few that offer both international and domestic flights and the discounts to dope travel gear is a nice touch as well! Those two features really set them apart from their competitors, and the creators seem like really genuine people (having spoken to them on several occasions). They could easily charge a lot more for such a great service, but they are sticking true to their goal which is to make travel more affordable and accessible. I salute them 100% for that.
Booked a flight through them? – Not yet, but I will for sure
Next Vacay is similar to Dollar Flight Club in the way they find their deals (Google Flight scan), but varies in delivery as all deals are presented via email entirely. There is no dashboard or account to log into, just several email blasts per day. You simply supply an email and preferred airport, and watch the deals pour in (after you pay your $35 fee that is). What I love about Next Vacay is the fact that they include deals from nearby airports as well without the user having to verify.
I for instance live in Maryland and my closest airport is BWI (Baltimore Washington International). Next Vacay sends me deals not only from BWI, but also from both Washington D.C. airports (DCA, and IAD), as well as New Jersey, New York City, and Philadelphia.
Take a look at some actual emails from Next Vacay. Never mind the time disparities, I dug these out of my deleted folder just to show you examples.
I love the conversation language in these messages; “we know you don’t live in Philadelphia…” very well done.
Gripes: As for gripes with this service, the interface was little wonky initially. The landing page looks a little gimmicky and you have to enter your airport and email on two separate screens which is strange. I would be far more efficient to offer an all in one form since they opted out of a dashboard. I also noticed a pattern where although I get deals from several different airports near me, these deals are often to the same exact destination which kind of defeats the purpose. There have been other instances of repetitiveness as well over a few years (deals to the same location around the same time of year) that have been disappointing. Lastly, there is no app. Great deals nonetheless though
Price: $25/year (per YEAR, not month)
Is there a Free Version?: Yes there is a free version which will show you less deals at a delayed rate
Worth it? Yes
Are you subscribed? – Yes
Booked a flight through them? – Yes! I've been to Thailand for a little over $600, Ecuador for around $400, and Nicaragua for around $400. Head over the vlog section to check them out if you haven't already!
Secret Flying is probably one of my favorites on this list because it is 100% free for all users! The deals are comparable to any other flight finders on this list and beyond. I love Secret Flying because there is a site, an app, and a facebook page, the latter two in which you can enable notifications for and catch deals in real time. And did I mention it's Free? There is not really a dashboard here either, but instead a sleek three part search function that leaves lots of open ended options for you to play with. Take a look
You can fill out just one bar if you please, just to see what deals pop up, and that search can be as broad as an entire continent or a specific city. I searched Baltimore in the first field and left the other two blank and the search returned all deals leaving from Baltimore regardless of destination and time of year. Alternatively I could have searched United States, and it would have presented deals from multiple cities to any and everywhere at at any time (since the last two fields were left blank). The same applies for the other two fields, you can fill out or leave blank whichever you see fit and enjoy the game of cat and mouse that ensues.
If you download the app you can customize your notifications by setting your desired departure and arrival regions. The facebook page notifications pretty much just spit out all deals though unfortunately.
Gripes: Not all deals from Secret Flying go to Google Flights or directly to the airline, so you sometimes have to wade through quite a few links which could get annoying. I personally don't trust many third parties so any links that don't look legitimate get disregarded. Even the deals that do lead to an airline's website don't always take directly to the exact flight you found so you have to plug in the exact dates and destinations mentioned in Secret Flying to find your deal. It's not that hard, but still a slight inconvenience. Lastly, although the dashboard shows deals from your preferred airport, the notifications from the app and facebook page pretty just spit out all deals and force you to wade through for the deals you want which is a little annoying but that could just be my own impatience.
Is there a Free Version?: The whole thing is free, so yes
Worth it? Yes
Are you subscribed? – Yes
Booked a flight through them? – Yes! I can't disclose where I'm going yet but I will say that I scored an amazing deal to an east African country from Washington D.C for just over $600. You can't beat that price for anywhere in Africa! It will be my first time visiting the motherland too so I'm super excited. #mapdlife
Somewhere in between Next Vacay and Dollar Flight Club lies Scott’s Cheap Flights. Scott’s allows you to select your departure airport and “follow” any surrounding airports in order to populate a dashboard of deals. Deals will also be emailed to you which is a nice touch, and like the sites above, the deals will usually lead you to a pre-populated Google Flights search. You know the drill here, dates will be selected for you based on when the prices are the lowest, so a little bit of flexibility will serve you well here. Here is a look at my dashboard.
I'll click through the deal from Baltimore to Puerto Vallarta to show you how it looks.
The link takes you to pre-populated Google Flights query. If those dates work for you, that is a pretty good deal!
Gripes: I'm subscribed to the free version, so I'm only exposed to a small portion of Scott's capabilities. I have no real qualms other than the fact that the email notifications can be a bit misleading at times. The headline of the message might say "X country starting at $400", but the "starting" price may only apply to a certain airport which probably isn't yours. When you open the message, your preferred airport might be far down the list and at a higher price point. They should cater your email notifications to your preferred airport.
This could well be a side effect of the free version, but it is worth noting.
Is there a Free Version?: Yes, as well as free trial of premium
Worth it? Yes
Are you subscribed? – I am subscribed to the free version. I plan on giving the premium service a try for a year or so
Booked a flight through them? – No