Wait! Don’t Book Your Flight Until You Read This!
Posted: January 14, 2017
Author: Marie Elena
I was trying to fall asleep the other night and was partaking in my usual nightly routine of lying in the dark with only the glaring and totally unnatural light radiating from my beat up Droid Mini underneath the covers (trying not to think of how cold my bedroom was). Mind-numbing content matter hits my retina as I peruse useless information that would likely make reappearances in a dream several hours following. What? You mean memorizing every capital in the world and dreaming about places like “Episkopi Cantonment” at 3am isn’t natural? I promise that is a real place. It’s in Cyprus. Look it up…but not a bedtime. Well, I guess that night, I was taking a break from my usual nerd-mania. I happened to be on Facebook instead. I don’t always make comments on posts…but when I do, it’s usually related to an airplane!
So, I came across the following post:
“All you travelers out there, how do you book your flights? What companies do you recommend to get the best deals?”
I scrolled down to find all of the previous fallacious comments and cringed as I scanned through the hot mess of terrible recommendations. Of course, I had to put in my two cents! Well, really it was more like my one cent, as this response was a no-brainer to me and it consists of only one website. So, what do I use to book my flights being such a frequent flyer? What is this magic site I love and cherish so much?
Drum roll please….
In fact, if there is such thing as website addiction, I definitely need to go to rehab for this one!
Skyscanner is like church for travelers like me and it must be visited regularly just to assure it’s still in full operation! Every morning at breakfast, I sit down with my peanut butter toast and try to avoid spilling copious amounts of crumbs into the crevices of my keyboard as I search and fantasize about all the places I could go this year. I’m not even really sure where or when I’m looking to go most of the time. Luckily, Skyscanner forgives me on this and allows me to search from wherever to wherever from, well, whenever to whenever!
I am surprised that this form of “church” continues to remain such a hidden gem among travelers. I have been reading other travel blogs for years and have seen countless other posts about the “top flight booking sites” to use thinking there might be others out there that could be better. What was I thinking?! I personally hate lists of suggestions when it comes to things like this. It takes entirely too long to visit and familiarize myself with the ins and outs of each one (but I did and this one is, by far, still the best!). Just give me a number one answer and I will trust you it’s the best and use it! Well, that’s what I am trying to provide to you all; just one answer! I’ve occasionally seen Skyscanner listed hiding in the middle of a laundry list of other booking sites on other bloggers’ pages, but it has never truly been given the attention it deserves. Actually, speaking of attention, no one will judge you if you divide your focus between a scrumptious dish like peanut butter toast and flight searches. That’s totally an exception and should be welcomed!
Alright, alright. I suppose you’d like to hear my reasoning for why use of this site has basically become a rite of passage to the start of everyday for me. After all, without Skyscanner and peanut butter, the day just simply cannot continue and you should probably just go back to bed! So without further ado, here you go!
Skyscanner is pretty much exactly what it sounds like. It is essentially a database which searches an enormous amount of airlines and travel agents and provides results comparing prices across each one based on your given search criteria.
Price updates are live and can change by the minute. If you sign up for alerts, you can receive price change notifications without having to reload the page compulsively…although you can…just because it’s fun! Sshh… I don’t do this at all! Yes, I’m aware that other websites have many of these similar features, but I find that many of them only compare a handful of airlines and remain rigid in search criteria (i.e. you must provide a set date and city for your departures and arrivals). I will talk more about this later. Just know that this site automatically spits out results from millions of databases all around the world to find you the best deals.
Flexibility, flexibility, flexibility!! Oh, and did I mention flexibility?
Ok, so like I said above, you don’t even need to know when you are looking to leave or even where! Of course, if you do, that’s great, but when you have a wandering fickle mind like me, you might just decide you want to take a trip SOMEWHERE at some point this year! Does that sound familiar? We’ve all been there!
You can search departures from entire countries like “United States” and even search destinations to “everywhere!” Do you have a vague idea of where you want to go? You can plug a city into any of the searches and still search to “everywhere” or even “United States to United States.” It really is a wonderful thing. Once you select a country, you can clearly see which city is the cheapest to fly into given your dates. If you know you need to leave from a specific area or arrive into a specific area, you can also check the box “add nearby airports” and it will also search for deals from those airports for you. Sometimes you just KNOW that you need to fly to the Mata-Utu region (another real place), right? RIGHT??
Did I mention flexibility yet? I can’t remember.
Well, this time, Skyscanner is forgiving us for not even knowing WHEN we want to go! It allows us to search by “whole month” or “cheapest month.” You can search by specific dates if you feel like you have your life together that day, but just in case you don’t, there is no need to stress! You can even view calendars in each month and view the prices on specific dates directly on this calendar. Just remember, green means cheapest, yellow means moderately priced, and red means pricey (just in case you failed math class and forgot $400 is cheaper than $1,500).
Reason #3 and a half:
And speaking of prices, they make it very visually pleasing to search. There is even an interactive map which consists of outgoing cities, destinations, and prices (in case you’re a visual learner and the color coordinated prices didn’t get the job done).There are also price charts and graphs you can view in case you still just can’t make it work in your mind!
Flexibility not for you? Maybe you like your flights nice and rigid!
You want to know exactly what to expect and how long your layover is going to last (AKA exactly how long you are going to have to sleep on the floor, in Atlanta, next to the man who hasn’t showered in a week). Skyscanner allows you to narrow your search by number of layovers (or by nonstop flights if you’re into keeping your nostrils clear). You can also filter results by outgoing and arrival times. If you just REALLY can’t miss that meeting at work about “being a team player” or more importantly, about “who ate that last doughnut in the conference room”, you can search for departure times after a certain time of day. You can do the same with arrivals! Brilliant for MISSING that “critical” gathering about printer paper saving scheduled at 8am in Baltimore tomorrow morning! Skyscanner, you’ve done it again!
Skyscanner now allows us to search multiple cities and plan out routes.
This one is awesome for our longer trips. Given whatever dates you need, you can search from one city to another city, to another city to…well, you get the point. The beauty is that you can add as many flights as you want! If you want to go from Cairo to Paris to Los Angeles to Sydney to Dublin to… Episkopi Cantonment (you know I had to), you can! But don’t do that route. That might be kind of expensive. Actually, I just looked that up on Skyscanner out of curiosity and apparently it doesn’t appear that Episkopi Cantonment has a commercial airport. My entire world has been shattered.
You can search by currency, language, and country of origin so that results are easily understandable and translatable in your familiar currency.
Gone are the days of having to open up a separate Google browser to look up currency equivalents! But not really, because I still do this…but not when I’m using Skyscanner!
There are no hidden fees or charges.
When you find a flight you want to book, Skyscanner will redirect you directly to the airline or travel agent for booking. There is no nonsense booking tax of something ridiculous like $3.50, which makes you completely reconsider your life’s existence.
Because there is nothing better than inhaling peanut butter toast while looking at flights, avoiding smelly people in Atlanta, controlling which “critical gathering you’re “able to attend” at work, and not having to compare prices without color cues.
Because I said so!
Just kidding. The OCD in me made me put a number 10 to make it even. But really, I travel a lot and I live by Skyscanner and it has always saved me a ton of time, money, and headaches. So kind of, just a little bit, this is a real reason!
So there you have it, ladies and gentlemen! Did you learn anything today? Hey, even if you don’t want to use Skyscanner and you swear by some other tried and true site, cool…but at least you now know that a place called Episkopi Cantonment exists and that it’s in Cyprus and they don’t have a major airport. You’ll thank me later when you win thousands of dollars at trivia night and then don’t need to worry about getting cheap flights.
So if you ever hear or see someone asking about flight-booking sites, you can just refer them directly to this blog. You’re welcome! Maybe if I had written this before seeing the post, I could have just copied and pasted the link in the Facebook comments box and saved myself a few dreams about flight searches gone bad later that night.
Until next time, my friends, don’t look at Facebook before bed. Nothing good can come of this. Memorize world capitals instead! Just kidding. Don’t do that either. Get some sleep so you can have a fresh mind to browse flights on the best site ever while eating peanut butter toast the next morning. Happy booking!