Last updated: February 14, 2024

Written by travel expert: James

Navigate the skies with ease using our comprehensive guide to Google Flights, the ultimate tool for finding the best airfares and planning your journey efficiently.


Ever dreamt of snagging that perfect flight deal that feels like a steal? 

Well, your dream is about to become a reality. Welcome to your ultimate guide to mastering Google Flights, the secret weapon of savvy travellers worldwide. 

This guide is your ticket to discovering the best hacks to secure cheap flights, making your travel dreams more affordable than ever. 

By the end of this journey, you’ll be a Google Flights wizard, ready to conquer the skies without breaking the bank. So, buckle up and let’s take off!

Google Flights’ best features at a glance

  • Explore Destinations: If you’re flexible with where you fly, leave the destination field empty. Google Flights will show you the cheapest flights available.
  • Flexible Dates: If you’re also flexible with when you fly, leave the Departure and Return date fields empty. Google Flights will look for a one-week trip anywhere in the next six months. It offers a calendar view, date grid, and price graph options, allowing you to view the cheapest flights by date.
  • Price Tracking: If you know when and where you’re going but are not ready to book, set a price alert. Google Flights will track prices for specific flights or the lowest trip price. You’ll receive notifications when the price changes, saving you the hassle of manually checking daily.
  • Map View: See the cheapest flights across a region on a map. You can zoom in and out to see more fares and even enter entire countries or continents as the destination.
  • Multiple Airports: If you’re flexible on which airports you fly from or to, enter multiple airports in either field. Google Flights will find the cheapest combination. It’s handy when planning where to go or travelling to a city with multiple airports.
  • Price Prediction: Google Flights uses historical flight data to predict whether the price for a flight is likely to increase or decrease in the next 7 days.
  • Baggage Fees Information: If you’re taking luggage, select this from the filters to update the price list. Google Flights provides information about airline baggage fees, helping you avoid unexpected costs.
  • Best Time to Book: Google Flights provides data on when it’s typically cheapest to book flights to specific destinations, helping you plan when to buy your tickets.
  • Error Fares: Though rare, Google Flights can be used to find error fares where airlines accidentally list flights at much lower prices than intended.
  • Multi-city Flights: Google Flights allows you to search for flights between multiple cities, which helps plan complex itineraries.

Explore Destinations

Unleash the Explorer in You

Have you ever felt adventurous and thought, “I don’t care where just take me somewhere!”? Google Flights has got you covered. 

The ‘Explore Destinations’ search engine feature suggests the cheapest flights to locations worldwide.

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How do you get the best out of this feature?

Leave the ‘where to’ field empty. Google Flights will present the most affordable flight destinations for your chosen date range in the results. It’s like a lucky dip for travel, and who doesn’t love a good surprise?

Suggestions

  • Embrace spontaneity. This feature is your best friend if you don’t have a specific destination. It’s an excellent way to discover new places that might not have been on your radar.
  •  Use this feature to inspire your next adventure. You might end up in a city you’ve never heard of, creating memories that will last a lifetime.

Be Flexible with Your Travel Dates

The Power of Flexibility

Google Flights is best used when you have no travel dates, so if you can be flexible when you fly, the world is your oyster.

Google Flights offers several ways to view the cheapest flights by date, including a calendar view, date grid, and price graph.

The price graph function is convenient, showing if there is a trend in prices for any you’re tracking.

Suggestions

  • Use the calendar view to get a two-month snapshot of the cheapest flights for each day. It’s a quick and easy way to spot the best deals and see if there are particular days in the week when it’s cheapest to fly.
  • The calendar view is perfect if you’re flexible with your travel duration. You can adjust your trip length to find the most affordable options.

Track Prices

Stay Ahead of the Game

Google Flights isn’t just about finding flights but also tracking them. 

With the price alert feature, you’ll receive notifications when the price changes, saving you the hassle of manually checking daily. 

It’s like having a travel agent keep an eye on your flight prices.

Suggestions

  • Use price tracking for specific flights or the lowest trip price. It’s a great way to stay informed and snag a deal when prices drop.
  •  Remember to sign in to your Google account to track flight prices. It’s a small step that opens up a world of savings.

Use the Map View

A Bird’s Eye View of Savings

The map view is a hidden gem in Google Flights. 

It shows the cheapest flights across a region, allowing you to zoom in and out to see more fares. You can even enter entire countries or continents as the destination rather than specific airports. 

It’s like having a bird’s eye view of all the best deals.

Suggestions

  • Use the map view when you’re open to multiple regional destinations. It’s a great way to compare prices and find the best deal.
  •  Don’t forget to zoom in and out. You can find a great deal further away from your initial destination.

Finding the Cheapest Airport

Expand Your Horizons

Did you know that Google Flights can find the cheapest airport to fly to or from by entering multiple airports? 

This can be especially useful when planning where to go or travelling to a city with multiple airports. It’s like having a secret key to unlock even more savings.

Suggestions

  • Use this feature when you’re flexible about your departure or arrival airport. You can find a significantly cheaper flight by travelling a little further to a different airport.
  •  Don’t limit yourself to one airport. By considering multiple airports, you’re expanding your opportunities for finding the best deal.

How to use Google Flights case study: London to anywhere

Parameters

We’re looking for a week-long trip for two adults, with luggage included, flying from any London airport. We have no set destination and are open to travel on any date. We’re also open to taking one connection if it saves money. Our main goal is to find the cheapest possible destination.

Step 1: Basic Search

 Enter your departure location (London) but leave the destination field blank. Since we have no set dates, leave the date fields blank. Enter two adults and select economy class.

 Step 2: Explore Destinations

 Click on the ‘Explore Destinations’ button. This will open a map showing you the prices of flights to various locations worldwide. You can filter the results by price, flight duration, and more.

 Step 3: Choose a Destination

 After exploring the map, let’s say we find a cheap flight to Lisbon, Portugal. Click on Lisbon to see more details about the flight.

 Step 4: Use the Calendar View

 Before you choose your dates, click on the date field to open the calendar view. This will show you the prices of flights on different days. If your travel dates are flexible, flying a day earlier or later could save you money.

 Step 5: Filter Your Search

 Now hit the search button. Use the filters at the top of the results page to narrow your options. For example, you should filter by ‘1 stop or fewer’ if you prefer not to have multiple layovers. You can also filter by airline if you have a preference.

 Step 6: Check Nearby Airports

 Google Flights allows you to check nearby airports. Add nearby airports like London Gatwick and London Stansted in the departure field. This could potentially find you a cheaper flight.

 Step 7: Compare with Other Destinations

 Before finalizing Lisbon as your destination, return to the ‘Explore Destinations’ map and compare the price with other destinations. Repeat the steps above if you find a cheaper or more exciting destination.

 Step 8: Track Prices

 Once you’ve decided on Lisbon and found a flight that you’re interested in, click on it and then click ‘Track Prices’. This will send you email notifications when the flight price increases or decreases.

 Step 9: Book Your Flight

 Once you’re happy with the price, you can book your flight. Google Flights will redirect you to the airline’s website to complete your booking.

Remember, the key to getting the best deal is to be flexible with your travel dates and to book your flights well in advance. Happy travels!

Advanced Google Flights Hacks

Master the Art of Booking

Google Flights isn’t just a search tool; it’s a powerful ally in your quest for affordable travel. 

From allowing separate tickets to setting flight alerts, Google Flights offers many advanced features to save money.

Suggestions

  • Consider booking separate tickets for your round-trip journey. Google Flights will highlight these results if they’re cheaper than a single-ticket itinerary.
  •  Set a flight alert for your desired route. Google Flights will notify you when the price drops, ensuring you never miss a deal.
  •  Use the Google Flights Explorer for extra flexible parameters. If you’re open to adventure and have a flexible budget, this tool can show you a world of affordable options.

Final Thoughts

Congratulations, you’re now equipped with the best Google Flights hacks to find the cheapest flights. 

Flexibility is your best friend, and tracking prices can save you time and money. 

So, what are you waiting for? It’s time to put these hacks to the test and start planning your next adventure. Happy flying!

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About the author, James

James and the team at Turtle Trip are seasoned travelers with experience in the travel industry. We've worked for major holiday booking sites, and have explored the world on foot for our own travels.

Our goal is to make travel accessible to everyone, by providing you with the most comprehensive and easy-to-digest guides about the destinations you’re traveling to.

We believe that planning a trip should be fun and exciting, not overwhelming, so, whether you’re a first-time traveler or a seasoned adventurer, we’ve got you covered.

We wrote this Turtle Trip guide to give you our best tips all in one place, so thanks for reading and have a great time!


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