Stop Using Expedia or Kayak: Use Google Flights to Find Cheap Flights

Google Flights price protection

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There are plenty of options and search engines out there to find a cheap flight. But in our opinion, there’s a clear winner to find the cheapest flight possible: Google Flights.

Google Flights is our favorite tool to find the flight deals you find here on ThriftyTraveler.com and through Thrifty Traveler Premium. It’s a robust tool, with some powerful features to help zero in on the best prices. And it’s got a bevy of filters that can help you narrow down the flight you really want.

We’ll show you some of the best tips and tricks to book your next cheap flight. When you’re done, you’ll never use another flight search engine again.


How to Find Google Flights?

Start your flight search by visiting: google.com/flights/.


Google Flights

Visit Google Flights at www.google.com/flights


How to Navigate the Google Flights Homepage

The homepage is user-friendly and provides immediate updates based on selections you may make in regards to your departure location, travel destination, dates & more.

  • The Menu: on the top left corner (three dashes), gives you shortcuts to Search Flights, Explore Map (also known as Explore Destinations) and Tracked Prices (where you can track price changes for a flight). This is a great option when you have specific dates in which you need to travel. You can track flights on any airline and you will be notified immediately by email when prices change.
  • Flight Search: this is where you can enter information to start your flight search. You can provide any of the following:
    • Departure Location: You can choose up to five locations
    • Destination Location: You can choose up to five locations
    • Dates of Travel
    • Type of Trip: Roundtrip, One Way, Multi-City
    • Numbers of Passengers:  Adults, children, infants in seats and infants in laps
    • Airline Class:  Economy, Premium Economy, Business Class & First Class. Note that there is not a “Basic Economy” filter at this time. However, you can use this hack to remove most Basic Economy fares from your search.
    • If you see a fare in the color green throughout the platform, know that this is showing you the lowest airfare for the dates or duration you are seeking.
  • Popular Destinations: on the bottom left, Google recommends some top destinations based on the location you are departing from.
  • Explore Destinations: on the bottom right, can give you ideas for the cheapest place to fly anytime you want to get away. It’s one of our absolute favorite features.


Google Flights

Navigating the Google Flights Home Page


Filter Down to Fit Your Travel Needs

Sometimes we have preferences on our travel. Looking to take a first-class flight for your honeymoon? Only want to depart out after a certain time? Only want to fly a specific airline? Don’t worry, Google Flights has taken these things into consideration with their search functionality. Here are all of the things you are filter when searching for flights on Google Flights:

  • Overhead Bin Access: This new feature is a way to filter out most Basic Economy Fares. Basic Economy fares that allow free carry-on bags (like Delta or American Airlines) will still be included.
  • Stops: You can select how many stops you’re willing to make during your trip or note if you only want nonstop flights. You can also filter out flights with extra-long layovers. 
  • Price: You can set the maximum price you want to pay for a flight.
  • Times: Only want to depart in the morning? Or know you must arrive by a certain time? Use this filter to identify flights that fit the range you are seeing.
  • Airlines: Whether you have airline loyalty or are looking to finally take a flight on a five-star premier airline, you can use the Airline filter to only see flights for specific airlines or alliances that you seek.
  • Baggage: Need to make sure you get a checked bag or a carry-on for your fare? Filter out the tickets that don’t get you the bags you need.
  • Flight Duration:  Have a maximum length you’re willing to be a plane? This is an important feature that will filter out fares with longer layovers.
  • Separate Tickets:  You can determine whether or not you are open to flying on separately booked tickets (for instance fly out to a destination on one airline and return on another) or note that you only want to see tickets booked on the same itinerary.


Google Flights

Bonus: If you’re using Google Chrome, add the Legrooms extension to your browser. This handy plug-in will automatically show you how much legroom you’ll get on the plane, what kind of aircraft you’ll be on, whether you’ll get WiFi or power and seatback entertainment, and a handy icon showing if a carry-on will be included in your fare or not.


Google Flights


Let Google Flights Find the Cheapest Getaway For You

Not sure where you want to go? Know you want to travel somewhere in June but need ideas? The “Explore Destinations” feature is a great way to find flight deals during your dates of travel. Here are some tips on how to use “Explore Destinations” on Google Flights:

  • Enter your departure city and a destination as specific (or as broad) as you want to check out. California, United States, Europe, South America – they’ll all work.
  • Select the dates you’d like to travel or select flexible date guidelines. Play around with dates as pricing can greatly fluctuate.
  • Move the map around to see new destinations and prices.
  • Once you find a destination that you’d like to explore further, click the name of the city, then “View Flights” and it will populate the search information with flight options and additional details.
  • If you see a fare in the color green throughout Google Flights, know that this is showing you the lowest airfare for the dates or duration you are seeking.


Google Flights

Here is a preview of how to use Google Flights’ “Explore Destinations” Feature to Find a Flight Deal


Use Google Flights to Book a Flight Featured on Thrifty Traveler Premium

Here is a preview of how you can you Google Flights when taking advantage of one of the insane international flight deals you found through Thrifty Traveler Premium.

Thrifty Tip: Don’t have Premium yet? Learn more about how Thrifty Traveler Premium works.


Google Flights

Using Thrifty Traveler Premium with Google Flights


Bottom Line

Google Flights should be your go-to tool to book your next trip. We search thousands of flights every day, and it is without a doubt the most robust tool to find amazingly cheap fares. It’s leaps and bounds better than any other flight searching tool and it’s the key ingredient in what makes Thrifty Traveler Premium such a powerful and easy-to-use service.


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Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews, or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.

2 Responses

  1. Leianna Hellinga says:

    I just found a great deal that was only cheapest through Expedia. I Emma’s very surprised. I got from Omaha to Maui for $492. Minneapolis would have been $700 or $800. All other sites were that high or higher as well!

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