Google Flights 101

We love Google Flights. LOVE IT.

But it’s shocking how many people we come across that don’t even know about it. Google can make finding the cheapest flights as easy as finding out where Tom Petty is from (Florida, in case you were curious). It’s an incredibly valuable tool, that I don’t think gets the attention it deserves.

The process of using Google Flights is not complicated. Some of the more advanced uses for it will be covered at a later time, but right now let’s just get the basics out of the way.

flights.google.com is where you’ll begin your journey. Plug in your starting location, destination, and dates of travel (or date, if you’re going one way), and like magic you’ll pull up a list of flights matching your itinerary. For example, if I wanted to travel from Portland to Orlando this fall for a weekend trip to Universal Orlando, this is what I’d see.

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Notice that you can see flight prices for whole months at a time, which is an incredible feature if you have some flexibility in your travel dates. Look at the price difference between leaving on November 10th compared to November 17th. This alone can amount to huge savings if you’re able to make certain dates work for you.

Of course, if you’d like to get into the nitty gritty, you can narrow down everything from flying class, to airline, number of stops, and even time of day you’d like to travel. Google is the information king, and you can use that to your advantage when trying to fly frugally.

Now scroll through that list of flights. Depending on the trip your taking, you may see nonstop flights, one stops, or even two stop flights.

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Google will automatically show you a few of what they deem to be “Best flight” options. Usually consisting of the lowest priced options as well as the least travel time. You can see that my cheapest option would be a midday United flight with an hour layover in Houston. But if I need a nonstop flight arriving earlier in the day, I’ll have to consider the Alaska Airlines flight which is about $125 more expensive.

After choosing both an outbound and a return flight, you’ll be shown all the information on your flight including times, aircraft type, flight number, amenities such as inflight wi-fi and entertainment options, and even legroom. It’s an incredibly convenient way of seeing what to expect when it comes to your flight.

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And finally, you’ll be given a link to book your flight directly with your airline, along with the total price for your trip.

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Google Flights is one of our favorite tools for booking flights, and it’s so incredibly easy to use. If you can google “How many Blockbusters are still open?”, you can find the best deal on your next flight.

One more quick tip! There is an option to “Track price”, where you can save a certain itinerary for Google to track, and it can alert you when prices change on flights. Now I don’t recommend always waiting and watching ticket prices, but if you’re booking far enough in advance, this can be a good tool for buying at the best price possible.

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