How to Find Cheap Flights (and How to Do It Environmentally)

kiwi flights promo code

After five years of travelling the world non-stop what do I have to show for it? What have I actually learned? How to find cheap flights of course! Today I'm going to share with you which is the best flight search engine (spoiler, it's Kiwi); where to nab a Kiwi flights promo code; plus a Skyscanner promo code; and how to do it environmentally(ish).

1. Shouldn't We Stop Flying?

But Laura, I thought you were working on becoming woke, I thought you cared about the environment? Why are you flying? For the past two years (ever since 2017 where I took an ugly 25 flights including five that were inter-continental), I've been trying to stop flying. I haven't been successful.

In 2018 I managed to reduce it to 10 and so far in 2019 I'm down to 3 (though I do have 5 more booked...) I do feel guilty about it, but instead of beating myself up about it, I'd rather strive to be better, take it a step at a time and know that I'll get there eventually. Assuming they're rich enough to travel in the first place, how many people have the luxury of time (not to mention the money) it takes to really stop flying? Travelling without flying takes so.much.longer. and it costs an arm and a leg plus if you want to do it comfortably, it will cost you the other arm and leg too.

Essentially, to be able to stop flying is a class privilege in itself. Why should it only be the mega-rich who get to travel guilt-free? Most people have limited time off work and don't want to spend most of that time travelling to get to their holiday. Some people have to fly for work, for a job where video-calling isn't an option (though whilst I'm on that point, if you haven't already asked if this is an option at your workplace, please do, most companies will reward you for your initiative, the environment is hot at the moment - lol pun intended - and companies often save money on taxes if they're more environmental.

A lot of people learn valuable lessons abroad, (check out the biggest lesson I learned from travelling. For many, it's a great slap in the face that highlights how privileged they really are. Thus, in a weird way being 'bad' and flying might lead people on a path that makes them way more environmental in the long run, than if they'd never flown? I know what I mean... I hope you do too. Many people have family abroad that they understandably want to see. (Myself included, though most of the time I'm fine with video-calling.) Yes, there are definitely steps we can all take to reduce our flights, but it's high time we stopped shaming each other and went for the big problematic corporations instead. Anyway, I think you should reduce your flights, of course, but if you have to continue to fly, use the system to beat it at its own game:

  • Learn how to find the cheapest flights
  • Make those flights even cheaper with promo codes
  • And then use (some of) the money you've saved to donate to reputable carbon-offsetting companies like

This non-profit calculates how many emissions you'll be expelling and then gives you options on how to compensate for that e.g. by donating to farmers to stop deforestation. At the end of the day, if you don't take that Ryanair flight, it'll still go without you. But give Ryanair as little money as possible so you can support the people really making a difference. So without further ramble, let's learn how to find cheap flights!

2. Best Flight Search Engine

The first step in finding cheap flights is finding the best flight search engine. There's no point scouring all the different airlines when there are websites out there designed to do that for you. But a word of caution, as with many hotel search engines, there are many flight search engines out there that simply don't find you the best flight. e.g. let's google 'best flight search engine' that leads us straight to Expedia. If I put in some random destination and dates, say London - Budapest return flight 1 Jul - 13 Jul, I get this:

how to find cheap flights

$156 dollars (approx £119), not so bad but we can do better, a quick search on Kiwi gives us this:

best flight search engine

Same dates, same destination, £54, boom, more than 50% discount.Two more minutes of searching, this time on Skyscanner gives me this: 

kiwi flights

Same dates, same destination, £52 aka £2 less. Sure, £2 is probably not a lot for you, but if that's true, donate it to a carbon-off-setting charity. But can we trust Skyscanner and Kiwi? Most people have heard of Expedia, but Kiwi is a fruit and Skyscanner sounds like a disease. I've been using Kiwi for the last two years and Skyscanner for the last five, and here are my reviews!

Skyscanner Review

skyscanner review

Skyscanner is a favourite among travel bloggers, it quickly searches all the flight comparison websites to find you the best deal and then takes you to said site. I actually prefer to use Kiwi over Skyscanner, but because I've been using it longer I'll tell you about Skyscanner first (or you can just ignore this and scroll down to Kiwi).

Skyscanner review: destination section

Skyscanner is very straightforward to use: choose where you want to go or (blogger favourite) pick 'Everywhere' to find the cheapest flight from your nearest airport:

skyscanner review

(Incidentally, this is why I flew to Budapest the first time around - it was the cheapest flight out of Rome.)

Skyscanner review: date section

You can pick specific dates, or if you're a bit more flexible, choose the whole month to find the cheapest dates:

skyscanner review

Which will lead you to this page where you can select the best dates/price:

skyscanner review

Which then takes you to a page where you can look at all the flights from that day:

skyscanner review

What I like about Skyscanner, is it doesn't just give you the cheapest flights, but also the fastest flights - sometimes on your search for how to find cheap flights, you'll find cheap ones, that take you three hundred years (a slight exaggeration, don't at me), sometimes the best flight is slightly more expensive but takes a lot less time, Skyscanner shows you both options. Skyscanner has many other useful filters: choose if you want direct flights only, what time of day you want to leave/arrive, which airlines you want to exclude and more - my suggestion to you is to play around with this website as much as possible. You can also set up price alerts to get the best flight. Once you've found your flights, Skyscanner takes you to the website they found the price from - it may be the airline itself or another flight search engine.

Actually, this is one of the things I prefer about Kiwi: once you've found your flights on Kiwi you pay through Kiwi and Kiwi protects you, but more about Kiwi in the following section! :)

Kiwi Flights Review

Kiwi flights review

Personally, I prefer Kiwi to Skyscanner. I find the site easier to use and more minimalistic in general. That's enough for me to use it more. But Kiwi has a lot more to offer than 'just' soothing my inner Marie Kondo:

Kiwi guarantee: if your flight is cancelled or delayed, Kiwi's guarantee covers you. This is a big deal. They will:

  • offer you an alternative flight 
  • or your money back
  • contribute to transport to another airport
  • and overnight accommodation 
  • and food and drink.

This takes a big weight off my mind when I book with them. Read the full terms here: Kiwi guarantee.

Kiwi flights review: destination section

Kiwi's destination is similar to Skyscanner, simply input where you want to go - they also have the 'Everywhere' option, except they call it 'Anywhere':

kiwi flights review

But Kiwi has an advantage here over Skyscanner: you can choose your destination specifically or be broad and choose a radius:

kiwi flights review

Which gives you more options, if you're flying to the UK to spend time in Bristol/Birmingham, it might be better to fly straight into them (getting across the UK by train/bus/car is irritating and expensive):

kiwi flights review

You can expand this circumference or make it smaller:

kiwi flight reviews

kiwi review

You can even do this for the 'from' section too,

kiwi flights review

So, you might find it's better to fly from Bratislava or Vienna or Debrecen etc. Another thing I love about Kiwi is it suggests things like this:

kiwi flights promo code

Always helpful. Once you've picked your dates and destinations etc, you'll find yourself on a similar page to Skyscanner's (just neater in my opinion)

is kiwi legit

Again like Skyscanner, Kiwi also shows you not just the cheapest but the fastest and best too. Kiwi not only has all of Skyscanner's filters it has other filters too: nonstop only, travel times, price filter, carriers, airports anddd the most useful of all 'include flights without checked bags'.

Kiwi flights review: date section

Like Skyscanner, Kiwi will let you choose specific dates or choose a whole month, but again, Kiwi goes the extra mile and offers more. For example, you can choose 'Anytime':

kiwi flights review

Pick a range of dates that you want to depart on and/or return on:

kiwi review

Or (my personal favourite), pick a range of dates for your departure (or a specific date) and then state your min and max trip length:

flying kiwi review

So say you want to visit your friend on a specific Friday, and you want to stay at least 2 nights, but no longer than 10, Kiwi will find the best prices and dates for you. Once you've found the flights you want (again I recommend playing around) you can book directly through kiwi:

can you trust kiwi

I used to look at which flight I wanted on Kiwi and then go directly to the flight website itself (e.g. Wizzair). Then I heard about Kiwi's guarantee and decided to book through them, at which point I realised that I much prefer booking on Kiwi to booking on the actual flight websites themselves, there's no bull, no adverts, no trying to trick you into buying 329 different insurances (looking at you Ryanair). Best of all, you can give Kiwi your passport details at a later date - and after you've given them to Kiwi, Kiwi checks in online for you. Yey.

Word of caution with Kiwi:  don't make the mistake of booking through Kiwi and then logging into Ryanair/ EasyJet/ Wizzair/ whatever and looking for your flight and then freaking out that it's not there. It's all on the Kiwi app/ website and it's there, don't worry. You can either print out your ticket or do the environment a favour and download the app and show it on there. (Yes, I get the irony of recommending you to print a flight ticket, but as awful corporate giant Tesco says - every little helps.)

3. More Tips on How to Find Cheap Flights

So do you go for Kiwi or Skyscanner? Even though I clearly prefer Kiwi, I still do quick searches on both. There are usually only a few pounds difference (hey, every little helps) but sometimes there are big savings on one or the other. If Kiwi is more expensive but only by a little bit, I still opt for Kiwi because:

a) you can book directly on their website 
b) they check in for you and 
c) the Kiwi guarantee. 

You can book with Kiwi here. Here are some other nifty tricks and tips:

1. Use an incognito window when searching

Right click on your internet browser and pick 'new incognito window' (chrome) or 'new private window' (safari) this means kiwi/ Skyscanner won't be able to give you cookies (not the kind of cookies you want), which means that if you come back and do the same search at a later date they won't raise the prices for you. This is a very old trick that is done not only by flight comparison websites but hotel websites too - they see that you've been there before, think "oh, this is a guaranteed buyer" and raise the prices, leaving you thinking "oh, I wish I'd booked before". Use an incognito window or private window to combat this.

2. Set up alerts 

If you haven't found your perfect flight today and still have some time before you have to book, set up a price alert, as soon as the price falls they'll email you and you can book.

3. Use a VPN

Whether or not a VPN can actually help you find cheaper flights is debated quite a lot. Some people swear by it, but the jury is still out. Either way it can't hurt to give it a go. VPNs (aka Virtual Private Networks) change your IP address to one you choose. Put simply, this can make it appear like you're in a different country all together. Do you see how this might be helpful already? By changing to another country you can at least use your favourite booking service from back home, and if you don't find any discounts a VPN is still critically helpful for keeping your laptop safe as you bounce from WiFi to WiFi. Give ProPrivacy a look to find one that works best for you.

4. Promo Codes

Skyscanner promo code

Use this link: Skyscanner promo code and when you reach the payment input Skyscanner promo code: AAVBF - note code won't work unless you use that specific link.

Kiwi flights promo code

Use this link: Kiwi flights promo code and when you reach the payment input Kiwi flights promo code: FLYNOUSPRING - note, code won't work unless you use that specific link.

Wrap Up: How to Find Cheap Flights and How to Do It Environmentally

All in all, the answer for how to find cheap flights is pretty simply, find the best flight search engine (Kiwi in my opinion, but double-check with Skyscanner), and use the Skyscanner promo code or Kiwi flights promo code listed above. When it comes to flying environmentally, obviously the first step is to reduce your flights as much as humanly possible, but if you still have to fly, as most of us do, use the cash you saved with the promo codes and donate it to reputable carbon-offsetting charities. Lastly, I am very passionate about finding cheap flights (it's honestly one of my hobbies because I am that sad), if you're still struggling to find cheap flights, email me your dates, destinations and current price you've found with the subject 'help me find a cheap flight plz Laura' and I will get back to you as quick as humanly possible, or your money back. Jokes, it's a free service I'm providing, kind of like this blog, lol. Looking for more money saving tips? I mostly use house sitting (free accommodation in return for looking after someone's house) when I travel and Airbnb (rent someone's apartment or house abroad and live like a real local). Also, we've made a vlog about cheap travel in general, in case you're interested :)

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We overland. We eat plants and fungi. We live outside as much as possible. We are all connected. A female travel blogger overlanding and writing about ecotourism, ethical and sustainable travel, socially conscious travel and housesitting. An online travel magazine since 2015.


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