As a travel editor, I'm always looking for ways to improve my search for the cheapest airfares. I've got it down to my own particular science: Kayak, Bing Travel, Airfarewatchdog.com (for alerts), and a few other sites* are my go-to resources for cracking the cheap-fare code.
That's all well and good, but there's something so appealing about being spontaneous—when traveling and when planning. Search engine Adioso tickles that fancy. The site specializes in searches on budget airlines (like JetBlue, Easyjet, and Virgin America) and was completely overhauled this fall to create a faster, more intuitive search. What makes Adioso a great tool for flexible travelers is its natural-language style of search, much like a Google search.
For instance: I typed in "New York City to Sydney under $600." The site popped up a timeline of when I would be able to get a one-way flight under $600 (Nov. 9 was the first option, with one-way prices at $570). I also tried more general ideas, like "New York City to International," which hit me with a bunch of destinations starting at $360 one-way, and "NYC to Anywhere February," which gave me a totally different list, this time with one-way flights from just $52.
Like most sites, you can click off easily onto a booking site to get the actual fare.
Adioso launched in Australia in 2008 but recently expanded into the U.S. market—the newest version of the site is still in beta. It's no Kayak, but I think it could compete after adding some more flights. Overall, it's a site worth bookmarking, especially for the next time you feel a bit of wanderlust.
*Interested in how I find cheap fares? My usual regimen starts with Kayak, where I use the newish Explore tool (good for getting ideas) or simply search specific dates. The site is so intuitive that even web novices can get the hang of it quickly. Then I go to Bing Travel, previously Farecast, to get a recommendation on whether to wait to purchase the fare or to take it before it goes up. If I'm looking in Europe, I'll also check out dohop.com, a Kayak-like site that offers some budget airlines that larger sites might not have. If I'm not happy with any of the options and I'm not in a hurry, I'll add the route to my watchlist at Airfare Watchdog.
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