7 flight booking apps every traveler should download
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Jumping on a fantastic deal you saw on The Points Guy, using those hard-earned points and miles for an incredible award redemption and hunting for low fares on Google Flights are usually our preferred methods of booking travel — but you may also be able to find a great deal or route by using an app, which could offer valuable perks such as exclusive pricing, flight status updates, trip inspiration, airport maps and more when booking or researching your next trip. So check out (and prepare to download) this list of go-to, TPG-approved apps for searching and booking airfare.
Flexible travelers looking to save cash should immediately download Hopper. Once you enter your home airport and preferred destination, the farecasting app uses years of historical data to generate a calendar of the coming year with dates color-coded to reflect prices. Days in green are generally the cheapest, followed by light orange, coral and red — the latter of which are the most expensive to fly. Hopper (which you can also use to book hotels) has a Watch This Trip feature that sends you alerts if the price changes, and lets you know if the price is the same to fly nonstop. You can also choose to exclude basic fares from the results. But arguably the most useful feature is the price predictor, which explains if and when the price will rise and by approximately how much, allowing travelers to decide whether or not to book or wait. Now, if only Hopper could do the same for award-ticket availability! Download Hopper for free on iTunes and Google Play.
Skyscanner is great for travel inspiration, as it has special sections for categories such as solo travel, quick getaways and kid-free vacations. It also has recommendations and deals for last-minute trips, providing you with pricing for a variety of destinations. The app pulls in the best deals by month and includes photos of each city, making sure you get a solid dose of wanderlust as you organize your trip. If you happen to know your destination and dates already, the app’s clear, concise interface makes it easy to see prices and itineraries. The Best Deals by Month feature is particularly fun, allowing travelers to find the coolest and most affordable destinations at any time of year. Once you select a flight, you’ll be transferred to the airline’s website or an online travel agency to book. You can also use Skyscanner’s app to shop for rental cars and hotels. Download Skyscanner for free on iTunes and Google Play.
For travelers who want to explore new destinations and book everything in one place, you can book your flight, hotel, car rental and even activities and tours using Kiwi.com. In the app, you can also click on the specific airports you’ll be flying into and out of to locate the lounges, ATMs and luggage storage areas. Kiwi.com has thought of everything — there’s even a special feature that lets you measure your bags with your phone camera. And booking flights is fairly simple: You can choose from round-trip, one-way, multicity and the special Nomad feature, which has interesting flight itineraries mapped out for you in packs, like the Tour South America option, which has a customizable itinerary including three- to five- nights in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; three- to five- nights in Buenos Aires, Argentina; and three- to five nights in Santiago, Chil. Download Kiwi.com for free on iTunes and Google Play.
Using a hip chipmunk find an airfare deal may seem weird, but the Hipmunk app really simplifies trip planning, with user-friendly charts that filter your journey by price, time of day, airline, length of layover and even whether or not your aircraft has Wi-Fi. The app also tracks flight prices and notifies you when it’s the best time to buy. The Discover feature offers deals on destinations like Canada or Mexico, and also provides inspiration for trips based on your interests, like the nightlife or foodie-favorite cities. Once you’ve booked a flight (the app will transfer you to airline websites and OTAs), you can also reserve a hotel or rental car. Download Hipmunk for free on iTunes and Google Play.
This app is great for the initial destination and fare search, especially if you know you want to go on an affordable vacation but aren’t sure where to go. Instead of searching Instagram hashtags, check out the Explore tab on the app, which gives you a selection of weekend getaways or destinations like Japan or Italy to check out. The search function populates nearby destinations starting at the lowest price. Once you’ve explored a bit, you can save your favorite places to your Hitlist tab, which shows all your preferred spots. Then, the app notifies you of price drops for your dream destinations. You can also sign up for a premium version of the app starting at $3 a month, which gives you access to a personal travel planner and members-only fares. Download Hitlist for free on iTunes and Google Play.
Like some of the other apps on the list, Momondo is another airfare metasearch app that finds you the most affordable airfare and then reroutes you to other websites to actually book. However, Momondo’s main emphasis is clear: cheap fares, not travel inspiration. The app searches over 1,000 different airlines and online travel agencies to find you the best price, also offering a price calendar so travelers with flexible dates can identify the absolute cheapest day to fly. The site locates the fares and will autofill your information for booking once you’re rerouted. You can also use the app to track your flight status or measure your suitcases. Download Momondo for free on iTunes or Google Play.
Kayak isn’t new or groundbreaking, but it’s a dependable flight search app you can count on to find affordable airfare. The airline pulls in information from a number of airlines, and when you click on your desired flight, it offers options for booking on the airline itself or through other OTAs. And in many instances, you’re quoted mobile-only rates that are unique to the app. Similar to Momondo (the two apps are owned by the same company), you can also book hotels and car rentals, track the status of your flight and measure your bag. The app allows you to add flights, hotels and car rentals to your watchlist, and will send you alerts when prices drop. Newer features allow you to create destination guides to share recommendations with other users, and play a game where you jump over virtual obstacles in an airport — the perfect way to deal with boredom when your flight is delayed. Download Kayak for free on iTunes or Google Play.
Featured photo by oatawa/Getty Images.
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