I was looking for airfares to Brazil a couple of weeks ago, and discovered a delightfully useful new tool that makes finding inexpensive and convenient flights easier than ever: Google Flights. No, Google is not running a travel agency now, but they did create a great tool for searching for flights in a variety of helpful ways.
For example I was looking for a flight from Victoria, BC to Sao Paulo, Brazil in January, so I entered my ideal itinerary, and the results were interesting. The least expensive price for the dates I entered was $1328 Canadian, including all taxes and fees, which isn’t a bad airfare (see 1 below). Not a great deal, but not bad, until I noticed that the travel time was 61 hours, including a 34 hour layover in Vancouver, BC (see 2 below)! The next best flight had a travel time of 20 hours, but cost significantly more at $1733. Helpfully Google lets me know that if I leave on January 24 and return on February 7 there is flight for $779 (see 4 below). That sounds very interesting, so I click on the link.
The $779 flight has a 35 hour travel time, which is not ideal, so I decide to use some of the other features built into the Google Flight web application to see if I can find a flight that has a closer to 20 hour travel time, but still under $1000. To do this, I click on the departure date, and when when the calendar pops up, I click on the “Flexible dates” button and it displays a grid of potential departure and return dates which is populated with a dollar amount under the dates indicating the least expensive flight on that date.
I can now see that if I leave between January 18th to 22nd, and return on February 9th there is a flight for $719. When I see the list of available flights at that price, I’m happy to see that the travel time is 19 hours for the $719 flight! A huge improvement over the first flight, and a savings of over $1000 on the least expensive flight with a reasonable travel time from my first search.
I scroll down to the bottom of the page and find out that I need to go to the American Airlines website to book this flight. Again, remember that these prices are in Canadian dollars, and include all taxes and fees.
Another handy feature that helps give you a sense of how departure date impacts price is to click on the “Price graph” button to see an illustrative graph of price differences based on departure date. You can also change the trip duration (see 2 below) to see how that impacts the price of a trip on the displayed departure dates.
Lastly, if you’re not sure where you want to go on a holiday, but have rough departure dates in mind, go to the main Google Flights page, and then scroll down the “Popular destinations” map, and click on it.
Once at the map for example, I enter “Mexico” into the destination, because I’d like to go somewhere warm to escape the Canadian winter, and find out the the least expensive places to travel to in Mexico on my selected dates are Cabo San Lucas, and Cancun. You can literally scroll around the world and watch the prices for flights to different cities slowly appear before your eyes. Definitely a more serendipitous way to search for travel destinations.
I hope post has been helpful, and that you enjoy your next trip without spending quite so much money!