The ability to find the cheapest flights on the web is a skill that every traveller should have in their arsenal.
There are lots of different methods out there to choose from. Some use travel hacking. Some use credit card points. Others scour the web for error fares. But, to be honest, I find these methods pretty complicated and I’m too lazy to bother learning them.
Luckily, I have a much easier solution that will let you find the cheapest flights on the web. And, even better, you won’t need to take an online travel hacking course to decipher what I’m about to tell you!
Last year, I discovered an awesome website called Kiwi.com which revolutionised the way I find the cheapest flights online. Before that, I was always a Skyscanner gal at heart! I can’t even count the number of hours I spent on Skyscanner planning theoretical trips around the world. It was a bit of a problem…. not to mention, a time drain. However, after I found Kiwi, I quickly jumped ship. (I’m still looking for a cure for my theoretical flight shopping addiction, though….)
Kiwi has not only helped me save money on flights but has also helped me see more places, too. As an example, when we were leaving Korea, we booked all of our flights on Kiwi and managed to take 9 flights and travel between four continents for less than £1,500. Like the idea of saving more money and seeing more places? Here’s the method that I followed!
How to Find the Cheapest Flights on the Web
When we left Korea, our plan was to travel around Latin America, starting in Mexico and working our way South. First, though, we had to stop into our home countries and visit our families. I’m from Scotland and Veeran is from South Africa but we both have family living in Europe; my dad in The Netherlands and his aunt and uncle in Switzerland, as well as my friends in Malta.
We’re lucky that, as a couple, we have so many excuses to visit such cool places. (And Veeran is even luckier to have a girlfriend with a flight comparison website addiction who’ll find the cheapest flights!) But, we’d be lying if we said that the thought of booking all those flights didn’t make our bank balances shudder.
We needed to hit up Scotland, South Africa, Switzerland, Malta and The Netherlands before crossing the Atlantic. And we needed not to bankrupt ourselves in the process.This is how the trip panned out.
Seoul to The UK: £195 pp
We decided to go from Seoul to The UK first since my sister was heading to Canada for a uni placement. That was the easy part. We had an exact date that we wanted to leave Korea (March 1st) and knew that we wanted to fly somewhere within The UK. Luckily, we found an Air China flight from Seoul to London with just one stopover in Beijing for £195 each. Bingo! London to Glasgow is a quick train journey which is cheap if you book in advance.
The UK to South Africa: £382
Planning the second leg was a bit more complicated.
Really, going from The UK to Europe seems like the logical option, right? I mean, it is en route to South Africa so it’d be silly to choose anything else.
Actually, no. We worked backwards and checked out flights from South Africa to Mexico vs flights from Europe to Mexico and soon realised that flying from South Africa to Mexico was out the question for a few reasons:
- The flights were long- like a couple of days long with a ridiculous amount of stopovers
- They were also ridiculously expensive since it’s not a well traversed route
- And they had stopovers in the states which would be an extra $160 visa cost for Veeran, as a South African, to JUST STEP FOOT IN THE AIRPORT!
And that’s why we decided to criss-cross.
We had no time restrictions for getting from The UK to Johannesburg so we could give ourselves a 10-day search window. Luckily, we managed to find an Etihad flight from London to Johannesburg, stopping off in Abu Dhabi, for peanuts. Although a direct flight would have been quicker, we didn’t mind taking a detour to the middle east to save a few hundred pounds. Especially when we were getting fed, watching movies and taking full advantage of the wine trolley!
We only stopped over for an hour and a half in Abu Dhabi which went by pretty quickly in their comfy terminal.
South Africa to Rome: £280
And then, we needed to get from South Africa to (anywhere in) Europe.
One of the best things about Kiwi is their anywhere tool! Skyscanner has something similar but because Kiwi is a much more visual search engine, it’s a lot more inspiring! Rather than seeing random names of cities, you can see their pictures, too.
(I mean, 9 times out of 10 a city looks nothing like their marketing pic but it’s still nice!)
All we knew was that we wanted to leave South Africa and be somewhere close to either Malta, Switzerland or The Netherlands. That leaves a lot of possibilities so we left our end destination up to the Kiwi Gods.
And, yup, that’s how we ended up in Rome. Not a bad place to be, eh?
I took a note of all the best options and double checked to see if the onward routes would be just as cheap. From doing this, we realised that Rome is actually the perfect hub for flying to Malta with Air Malta. Not only are their flights cheap and frequent, they come with lots of little perks like free baggage and on-board sandwiches! (I’m always happy if there’s free food….)
Rome to Malta to Zurich to Amsterdam: £155
So, after we found our cheap flights from Johannesburg to Rome and Rome to Malta, I needed to find the cheapest onward route. I tested all the flight possibilities and kept a note of each price in a little spreadsheet so I could find which was the cheapest and would take the least amount of time.
The thing about flying in Europe is that it could be extortionate to fly between two countries that are right next to each other. You have to throw all your logic out the window really. The route that makes sense on the map, might not make financial sense. And, since Europe is so small, flight times aren’t usually too high so going a detour doesn’t eat up too much time.
This time, though, the map was right and the cheapest flights followed the way the crow would fly.
We flew from Malta to Zurich with Air Malta and then Basel to Amsterdam with Easyjet.
These were the costs:
Rome to Malta: £50
Malta to Zurich: £65
Basel to Amsterdam: £40
Cologne to Cuba: £240
So, you might be wondering why the next leg of our journey was Cologne to Cuba when we had no intention of visiting either place. Again, this was down to Kiwi and our flexible schedule.
Our last destination was Amsterdam which is close to a lot of major European hubs. We used Kiwi’s radius search feature which let’s you drop a pin on the map and highlight the radius that you want to search flights from.
In Europe, we searched around the countries surrounding The Netherlands and from Mexico, we wanted to search the whole country to see if it would be cheaper to fly to Mexico City, Cancun or even a smaller airport in the country.
Funnily enough, Havana got picked up in the radius and flights were dirt cheap from Cologne. (Which is a short and cheap train journey from Amsterdam.) We double checked and the price of a flight from Cologne to Havana plus a flight from Havana to Cancun was less than a flight from anywhere in Europe to anywhere in Mexico. So, we got a holiday in Havana, too!
Cuba to Mexico: £130
And, that brings us to the final leg of our adventure. We managed to find a cheap flight from Havana to Cancun but we knew that we wanted to see more places in Mexico like Guadalajara and Mexico City. So we gave ourselves a week in the Yucatan as a holiday and then flew up to Guadalajara on another cheap flight that we found.
Havana to Cancun: £90
Cancun to Guadalajara: £40
In total, all of these 9 flights cost £1,480. Meaning that, we managed to travel between 4 continents for less than £1,500!
More Tips for Finding the Cheapest Flights Online
Use a Spreadsheet to Compare Prices
When we were looking for this particular path, I kept a spreadsheet with every flight combination and its cost. This is a simple thing to make up and, to be honest, you could even do it on the back of a piece of paper if you’re an excel-a-phobe. (I’m certainly not!) I had about 10 different journey combinations jotted down and chose the cheapest one with the best destinations and quickest flight times.
Check out other Flight Comparison Sites
Although I love Kiwi for its functionality, I always check other comparison sites before booking a flight, too. After Kiwi has shown me the cheapest journey, for example, Cape Town to Rome on the 16th May, I’ll pop that into other websites to see what gives me the best price.
Most of the time, Kiwi has the cheapest flights, or the difference will be so minuscule that I’ll stick with Kiwi for the sake of having all my tickets uniform. But, there have been times when I’ve been assisting travel clients to find flights and I’ve found better prices on other websites for them.
It costs nothing and takes no time to do a quick cross check.
These are the other websites that I also use:
I really hope that these tips can help you save lots of money on your next trip- or even discover a new destination that you love! There’s no need to spend so much money on one standard package flight somewhere. With some smart planning, and a side trip to another place, you can easily save yourself hundreds of pounds on the cost of your flight!
Ready to find the cheapest flights on the web? Have a look at Kiwi.com and use my tips!
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Disclaimer: This post was in no way sponsored by Kiwi.com. I’m just a huge fan of the website and wanted to let you know how to find the cheapest flights, too. That being said, I am an affiliate and will get some commission if you use my links to book your trip. As always, I appreciate your support in helping me run Wee Gypsy Girl! All thoughts, words and opinions are my own.