Skyscanner: A Budget Traveller’s Best Friend

Usefulness of Skyscanner

My best friend, since discovering this online searching tool, for airline travel is Skyscanner. This online flight (and hotel) searching tool has provided me with untold benefits.  It initiated the idea that crossing oceans from my former home in Georgia need not be a bank breaker. I will explain that, if you are flexible in travel dates, that you can travel from your home airport to some cool, unexpected places for affordable prices.

This post is a plug of sorts for the Skyscanner website. However this plug is no pure advertisement, but more of a symbiosis, with all parties benefiting. I owe it to this website for initiating my first overseas venture back in 2013. And by using the potential of it, you may find yourself visiting places you would never have thought of!

Firstly, though, a bit of honesty. I am part of a group of young “up-and-coming” travel bloggers that is supported by Skyscanner called Skyscanner Elite. Its not secret, as the button over on the side takes you straight to their U.S. website search program. And, yes, I benefit for the redirected traffic. But that’s ok because I support that cause because I recognise the benefits that it creates for you, reader. In the same way that I would recommend a piece of outdoor gear that would make your trip outdoors more enjoyable, I recommend Skyscanner for the possibilities that it opens.

Click to view a list of Elite bloggers

Example of the Process

My brain works in often over-complicated ways. And to find the suitable flights and prices, I will persist until something fits by searching many airports near my current location and then many destination airports. My main focus is on the major airport hubs where odds of getting a cheap flight are high, but where you may have to sort out your connection separately. To simplify my process, I shall go over the steps here.

Stage 1

I love Skyscanner because you can search every airport in a given country to every airport in another given country. It enables you to search based on your own level of flexibility. In this real example, I am planning on leaving the U.S. in December to get to Lombok in Indonesia by 2 January.

I started at the home screen to give me an idea. Searching “United States” to “Indonesia” set to “one-way” (since I worry about the return later on)


The search yielded these results:


Selecting the first option “San Francisco” I get these arrival options:


Then a calendar view, which displays the results from the cheapest “United States” airport to the cheapest “Indonesia” airport:


Then selecting one date I get this screen:


That whole process I go through quite quickly, just to gain a general idea. And then from this point I can do some study from this screen and others like it. Looking close you can see in each selection, the length of time (including layover) and, most importantly, the stop-over points. These are normally airport hubs and are essential.

From here I move in to the next stage, deciding if I need to utilise these hubs and what my  personal flexibility in timing is like.

Stage 2

In this actual example, I need to be in Lombok by 2 January. Lombok is just a short, many-times-daily, half-hour flight from Bali, so I treat the two airports interchangeably. However my flexibility is limited. I need to depart after Christmas leaving me with just a couple of days to choose from.

Therefore due to that initial searching, after a couple hours, I find a route that takes me from Atlanta to the Asian hub of Kuala Lumpur:


Utilising the world’s hub system, and with previous knowledge of low-cost carriers’ bases, I do a search that finds multi-daily frequency of flights from Kuala Lumpur to both Bali and Lombok for under US$100. Kuala Lumpur to Bali is the example month below:


(Note: Skyscanner’s search sometimes will find you cheap connection flights with a “self-transfer” note. That is exactly what I mention, but I don’t mind staying overnight in a city if need be, those sorts of over-24-hour layovers Skyscanner will not often include in their search algorithms)

All in all, with little flexibility, I can still get from Atlanta to Lombok for less than US$800. Relatively this is pretty darn good considering the Indonesian Archipelago is half way around the globe from Georgia. And that trip can be done for even less if you had greater flexibility to get to other U.S. cities at different times! I just love that, then I can use that few hundred I saved on some delicious food and beer or a halfway decent place to stay.

what next?

Overall, I recommend playing around on Skyscanner to find destinations because it is simple! That simplicity makes searching places quite addictive.

I will be posting some reminisces soon that detail some of the adventures that occurred due to pursuing cheap airfares that led me unexpectedly to the likes of Norway, Belfast, Sri Lanka, Gdansk, Cambodia and Bosnia. In the meantime feel free to click the button on the right to have a go for yourself!

Click here to download the Skyscanner app for your device! This works much more efficiently on Android or iOS when you are on the move.

Find yourself somewhere wild!

Chelsie is stoked!
Chelsie is stoked!

Let me know what you think: