Until last year, I had never been on a flight. In fact, the very idea of taking a flight seemed so foreign and out of reach that I had never even considered it.  I always imagined plane tickets were expensive and the thought of crossing the Atlantic seemed like an impossible feat, especially since no one in my family had ever done it either.

Where would I even try to go on my own? I had been on road trips with my friends to the surrounding states, but never anywhere on my own.  I didn’t even know how an airport worked or how to pack.

Fast forward about 15 months and now I’m checking for flights almost daily and I’ve been on well over 20 flights, including crossing the Atlantic several times. I’ve been to airports across the eastern seaboard from Miami to Boston and many airports across Europe.

How can I afford this without being stupid-rich?

Well, I wouldn’t have gone on all these trips if I bought them for a normal price. Here is my go-to process for searching for cheap flights:

Scott’s Cheap Flights

I found a thread on reddit about how people find their flights and saw a service called Scott’s Cheap Flights get mentioned. I checked it out and did not regret it. The service is basically just people dedicating themselves to finding the best deals available and emailing you the offers.  You simply select what countries and airports you are likely to depart from and they send you the deals that depart from those airports.


There is a free service and a premium membership.  Premium offers access to more deals, faster alerts and more mistake fares (super cheap fairs that airlines mistakenly post.)  On it’s main page, SCF posts all the latest deals and whether they are expired or not.  The page also gives you instructions on how to find and book these deals as you can see here:


SCF also has a page dedicated to giving tips, which you can find here. Highly recommend this service. The free service is fine, but the premium service for $39/year is worth it if you plan on traveling a lot.

Google Flights

Thanks to SCF, I discovered Google Flights. It is honestly so fun to search on this. The platform is so smooth and seamless, plus it has a ton of features! As you can see in the following video, you can search multiple departure airports and destinations at the same time. It will give you the cheapest options first. This helps search and find which routes can lead you to your preferred destinations faster, or help you choose between options. Google Flights also gives you a quick glance at the cheapest ticket prices on the date selector. It shows the calendar and puts the days with cheapest cost in green. It is very helpful in finding the cheapest timeframe to travel in and helps you choose dates if you don’t already have dates in mind.


Have no idea where you want to go? Google Flights also has a cool feature to help you find travel destinations. You can put your departure airport and it will search the area on the map for cheapest deals. You leave the destination space blank and select whether you want to search weekend, one-week or 2-week trips over the next six months.



Momondo is recommended by SCF and is touted as the best option in terms of searching for the absolute cheapest price. It is simple enough, but doesn’t have nearly the speed, smoothness and features that Google Flights has.  Another downside is that it can sometimes be painfully slow to search, but you will be getting the cheapest price nonetheless.  I choose to use this in conjunction with Google Flights.  G Flights helps me find what dates to travel and then I use Momondo to find the actual tickets.


SCF has a guide on how to use Momondo that I found very helpful.

Another website I like to use that is very similar to Momondo is Skyscanner. Skyscanner sometimes has better deals on it, so I usually check both sites just in case.

Other Tips

  • Search for airports around you, sometimes airports that are a little further away may have better deals.  For example, I bought tickets to New York last year. They were much cheaper leaving from Greensboro then from Raleigh. Charlotte tends to have cheaper international flights to Europe from what I’ve noticed, however the best option for cheap international flights would be to leave from Washington DC airports.
  • On the website mentioned above, especially Momondo and Skyscanner, don’t just check the US version of the website. Check the international versions as well. This can be time-consuming, but sometimes a certain country has cheaper fare options than other countries.
  • I’ve found and booked round-trip flights from RDU/Charlotte to Madrid for about $400-$500. From Washington, the best prices are typically in $400s.
  • If you’re going to Europe, Madrid tends to among the cheapest options. I’ve probably been in that airport over 10 times at this point.
  • If you’re going to Europe, sometimes it’s better to go to the cheapest option and then book a separate flight to your actual destination. Flying across Europe is very cheap. I recommend Ryanair for some of the cheapest deals.

Looking for the best place to stay?

Hostelworld and Airbnb are your best options. I use them all the time and it has given me the best experiences at a low price. Airbnb’s are better if your splitting it with a group. Hostels are anywhere from $10-$30 a night and are an amazing experience. Meeting random people and staying in bunk beds in rooms with as many as 16 people creates such a unique environment, all for an affordable price.



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