While the purpose of a vacation is to relax and unwind, the lead-up to a trip can have the opposite effect. Between trawling flight websites, finding the best currency exchange rates, and researching global roaming fees, the entire process can leave you exhausted.
If you're planning a spring escape, Matthew Kepnes, author of New York Times best seller How to Travel the World on $50 a Day, suggests there is an art to finding the best flight deals. Known as Nomadic Matt on his blog, Kepnes has traveled to over 80 countries and is privy to insider hacks that could shave thousands of dollars off standard flight costs.
Don't book a flight without trying these three expert-approved travel tips.
Search for Flights on Momondo
Kepnes swears by travel booking website Momondo to find the best-ever flight deals. "I start all my searches with Momondo because it searches all major and budget airlines, non-English websites, English websites, and everything in between," he explains on his travel blog. "[They're] one of the most comprehensive booking sites out there, they have the lowest price 99% of the time, and it's the search engine all the other travel experts I know use too."
Consider a Stopover
If you can be flexible with time, consider flights that have a stopover—they'll be significantly cheaper than direct options. "To do this, I find out how much it is to go direct to my destination. Then I open Google Flights and type in that destination's continent to look at prices to nearby airports," he says. "If the difference is more than $150, I look to see how much it is to get from the second airport to my primary destination."
Earn Points With Airline Shopping Portals
Smart travelers know that everyday purchases can fund your next trip. Kepnes explains, "All airlines, hotels, and travel brands have preferred merchants. These companies—ranging from clothing retailers to sporting good stores to office supply businesses and everything in between—partner with airlines' special shopping malls. By ordering online through an airline's website, you can earn additional points."
For example, Kepnes earned 5000 frequent flier miles by purchasing Netflix through American Airlines' website and three points per dollar spent by using Chase's online shopping mall to buy Target goods. "You can use Evreward or Cash Back Monitor to discover the current best deals across various programs," he explains.
How do you find the best flight deals? Share your insider tips and tricks in the comments.