It's time for your vacation, and you know what that means: Get the heck out of here! You haven't booked a flight anywhere. Or maybe you've just returned from a big trip, and need to plan a quick weekend getaway to ease the re-entry pain. These are the best websites for finding flights. Just because you've got a tight budget or are looking last minute doesn't mean you can't travel.
USA TODAY columnist Kim Komando says some of these sites are like having a personal travel shopper. With a little work now, you can avoid pinching pennies in the fall. Summer is in full swing, and millions of Americans are raring to take a trip. But where should they go, and how much should they budget? I've been an avid traveler since I was a kid when I would hop planes with my father, who worked for the airlines.
If you've been procrastinating purchasing a ticket to visit your family these holidays or simply decide to pull a The Holiday and jet off to your dream destination last-minute, you'll need to know where the travel deals are at. As it's very late in the game, we're here to give you some guidance on where to find the best holiday flight deals. Directly checking airline sites is a great first step to take. Many airlines have special deals listed for U.S. travelers around this time of year, and some are specifically marked "Holiday Deals," which means you can plan a trip for New Year's Eve, too. Here are some of the most exciting deals we've stumbled upon: United is offering over 40 discounted holiday deals on select flights out of Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles and more from $121 to $408 roundtrip.
The holidays are supposed to be a joyous time of the year, but making Thanksgiving and Christmas travel arrangements can bring about a ton of stress, especially when planning trips at the last minute. However, deciding to jet-set to grandma's house just a few weeks before Turkey Day or Santa's arrival doesn't have to cost travelers their paychecks or their peace of mind. One of the first rules of thumbs for planning last-minute getaways is to stay flexible. Many sites dedicated to travel offer flexible dates options that help travelers find the best deals that don't necessarily line up with exact holiday dates. John DiScala of JohonnyJet.com told the Travel Channel that travelers can find some of the cheapest flights during the "dead weeks" – the weeks after Thanksgiving and after New Year's.
Google on Thursday announced new flight, hotel, and trip planning features that could save travelers money, from offering tips on whether an airfare will go up or down to showing dates when hotels will be cheaper. On Google Flights, users can now get advice -- provided through machine learning and historical airfare data -- on when to buy, like "prices are less than normal" (so maybe you should buy) and "prices won't drop further" (again, so maybe you should buy). Similar advice will be available in hotel searches: Google will now show if room rates on certain dates are unusually high -- and even help travelers understand why, whether it's a holiday, festival, or conference. While that advice won't help much if you absolutely must visit at a certain time (or if you're going for that holiday, festival, or conference), it could save flexible travelers lots of money. Both flight price tips and hotel tips are available globally on desktop and on mobile.