Hawaii is a prized destination for travelers, and the airlines that serve the Islands take full advantage of this. And while it’s possible to find good round trip fares to Hawaii, they’re usually snatched up before you can open your web browser.
But never fear, we’re here to help with a few airfare hacks that actually work. Try them for yourself and maybe you’ll be in paradise before you know it:
Book direct from airlines
Booking directly from an air carrier’s website can be the best way to get the lowest price. It helps to search using the “low fare calendar” option, which shows you the cost to depart and arrive on any given day.
You can sign up for email deals from the carriers serving Hawaii (Delta, United, Hawaiian, Alaska / Virgin America). They send these emails on a regular basis, and you’ll often be the first (or so) to know when there’s a fare special — be sure to book immediately.
Bonus tip: go incognito
Have you ever noticed the more you search for a flight, the higher the price goes? Well, you’re not crazy – it’s a fact, thanks to cookies (little snippets of code which track your web browsing behavior). Once you start looking at a price, an airline might keep hiking up the price, thereby praying on your fear of scarcity.
The antidote: use private / incognito mode on your computer (Ctrl+Shift+N) so that cookies won’t be stored during the search.
Google Flights is a good starting point to view fares to your desired destination by airline, date range and price.
You will find good airfares on Google Flights, but not always the lowest. The real advantage is the no-nonsense interface and minimal design which makes it really easy to track changes in prices (you can set up email alerts for this).
And yes, sometimes a ticket price will plummet for a day or two before shooting back up — for no apparent reason!
Skyscanner is probably the most popular (and trusted) low airfare finder. It searches all available routes and gives you the best options for travel, including price, length and quality of route, and how to buy your tickets.
Use Skyscanner for longer international trips, it’s a little overkill for domestic stuff. Tip: just because a route is cheap doesn’t mean it’s the best. You might find yourself on planes, strange cities, long airport layovers (where you might need to pay for a hotel room) for way longer than is necessary.
Not too many people know about Skiplagged, and maybe that’s a good thing. The website has the ability to find ultra-cheap airfares by using your final destination as a potential connection city (instead of the final destination).
For example, if you’re flying from L.A. to NYC, Skiplagged might find you a cheaper airfare to Boston that makes a stop in NYC, and you just get off there. This assumes, of course, that you only travel with carry-on luggage since any checked luggage would be routed to the ticket’s final destination.
If you’re a visual person, you will love Kayak Explore. The zoomable map interface shows you airfares from your base city to anywhere in the world on a map.
Tip: watch your timing
Try booking between six to eight weeks before your desired departure date. The closer it gets, the more expensive the ticket — especially within 14 days of your flight.
Traveling international? Try to book about three months in advance.
Image credits: veeterzy
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