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How to find cheap flights from the USA: 9 top tips

02 April 2024

From using the best aggregators to searching flexible dates, here are 9 top tips on how you can get a really cheap flight from the USA.

In this article we outline how to find the cheapest flights online using tried and tested tactics. The strategies used in this article have the potential of saving you serious money when booking your next flight so please read and implement our suggestions carefully.

Table of contents

  1. Compare multiple flight aggregators.
  2. Check surrounding dates.
  3. Check Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
  4. Pack light.
  5. Begin your search early.
  6. Search during the 'Off season'.
  7. Check alternate airports.
  8. Consider a layover.
  9. Bundle your items in a package.



1. Check multiple websites, particularly multiple flight aggregators.

It is a fact that one website never has the best price every single time. Our data at Flights Finder suggests you should search at least four different sites to ensure you get all the cheaper deals. We noticed there could be up to a 23% difference between the aggregators and the flights they find. This is primarily due to the different sources each aggregator scans.

Our Flight Finder makes comparing the world's best flight aggregator/comparison sites easy from one simple-to-use dashboard. You can easily compare flights by clicking the tabs on the search results page.

Flights FInder compares the best sites
Flights FInder compares all the best comparison sites from one dashboard

For example, we searched for a flight from Atlanta, Georgia USA, to Paris, France, from March 14th to 21st. JetRadar priced the flight at $676, KAYAK at $675, Skyscanner at $635, and Kiwi at $623. As you can see in this example, you would save $53 if you booked through Kiwi instead of JetRadar or KAYAK.

Compare multiple comparison sites
You can compare prices quickly using our FlightsFinder search engine.


Here is a quote from Frommers about Flights Finder:

"you have the potential to save hundreds on a single flight and the method usually works fine. Book with a credit card and you'll be protected."



2. Consider checking surrounding dates to see if cheaper flights are available.

Adjusting your flight dates slightly can save you considerable money. If your travel plans allow, consider flying out a day or two earlier/later or arriving back a day or two later/earlier.

To illustrate, a recent search on Flights Finder showed that the price for traveling from New York to London between January 9th and February 15th is $552. If, however, you left two days later, on January 11th, the price drops to $487, saving you $65.

To quickly see if you can make any savings on surrounding dates, use the flexible dates option on our search engine, which will bring up a grid calendar that lets you scan cheaper days to fly.

Our flexible dates calendar lets you find the latest error fares published via broad searches. [1]

Flexible dates calendar
Use FlightsFinder's flexible dates calendar


Here is a quote from the LA Times about Flights Finder:

" said it can find error fares by tracking the lowest fares on “over 1,200 sources” and then comparing those prices with the price for the same flights on other search engines.."

 LA Times Quote


3. Check particular departure days to see if you can save money.

Statistically, Tuesdays and Wednesdays are the cheapest days to fly on domestic routes. This is partly because they are less busy days to travel, so always check those days to see if you can make any savings.

For example, we searched for a flight from Los Angeles to Honolulu, leaving on Friday, March 15th, and returning on March 20th, and the price came to $299. However, if we searched leaving on 'Wednesday,' March 18th, the price dropped to $206, saving you over $90.


4. Try to pack as little as possible to avoid hefty baggage charges.

You can take different forms of baggage onto the plane with you: hand baggage, hold baggage, or checked baggage. Airlines charge a fee for adding any checked luggage and will also charge you extra if your hand baggage exceeds the weight allowance. Pack as little as possible on your trip to avoid these additional fees. You can also check YouTube for tips and tricks on how to pack your bag effectively using little nifty tips and tricks to save space.

Airline fees vary according to the carrier, but you are considering paying $30 for adding hold luggage on a domestic route and around $75 on a transatlantic route. Some travel agents may offer cheaper flights at face value but charge even more for adding checked baggage, so keep an eye out for that.

On our Flight Finder results page, we have a handy filter on the left-hand side, which allows you to check prices with checked bags on specific routes (courtesy of KAYAK).

Add luggage
You can add bags using our fare assistant and compare prices.


5. Search for flights around two months before departure.

It is wise to book your flights as early as possible. Our data at Flights Finder shows that the longer you wait, the more likely prices will rise. Multiple studies corroborate the optimal time to begin your search, recommending booking around seven and a half weeks before departure or around 54 days.

Another option is to set up a price alert, which you can do on multiple websites. This will alert you if there has been a price drop on the route you have been searching.


6. Try to plan your trip during the 'Off season.'

For maximum savings on your trip, plan it when other people are not traveling or during what travel agents call the 'Off season.' This is a time of the year when fewer people travel, and prices for destinations can drop dramatically.

Using our flexible dates search function, you can quickly see the best time to fly to a destination. After entering a departure and arrival airport, select> Flexible dates > Entire Year, and we will show you the optimal date for the entire year to travel.

For example, flying from New York to Orlando could save you around $300 during peak periods. However, our flexible date calendar reveals that if you choose to travel in early February, flight prices come down to around $100 per round trip.


7. Check nearby departure/arrival airports for savings.

Consider making the trip to a slightly further out airport if the price is considerably lower. It is always worth checking different departure points as long as they are accessible to you and checking to see if the flights are cheaper from there.

For example, a March flight from Reno, Nevada, to New York would cost around $350. However, if you could depart from Sacramento (around a two-hour drive from Reno), the price drops to around $250, saving $400 if traveling with a family of four adults.


8. Add a layover to decrease the overall price of your trip.

Experts use a tactic such as adding a layover en route to their final destination to lower the price of the overall trip. This strategy can save money and allow you to take in the sights of another destination.

For example, a one-way nonstop flight to Istanbul from Chicago would cost roughly $816 in mid-April. However, if you add a one-full-day layover in Abu Dhabi on the same date, the price comes down to $510.


9. Buy a package deal to decrease the overall price.

If you need a hotel alongside your flight, check package deal bundles to see if you can save. Our best advice is to search each item separately and then do the exact search by combining the items on a well-known package deal website like Expedia, Priceline, or Travelocity.

Our site also has a cheap flight and hotel package deal search. Just click the flight & hotel tab at the top of the page to access it. Our search compares some of the best aggregators, which check Expedia, Priceline, and, among others.

Flight and Hotel search
You can search for flight & hotel packages on FlightsFinder.


We hope you save a considerable amount using the techniques outlined in this document. 

Page last reviewed: 2nd April 2024
This page was written and reviewed by: Shahab Siddiqui


[1] Hugo Martin (25th November 2017) Travel site looks for errors that produce ultra-cheap air fares - The LA Times.

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