Using Google Flights Multi-City Search To Get The Best Airfare Deals
I am a loyal user of Skyscanner, but more recently I discovered that Skyscanner was seriously lacking on it's option to search for multiple flights rather than just a round trip. Sometimes you don't need to return from where you started or even from where you landed. And many people don't even know what sometimes a round trip can be more expensive than returning from a different, but close location. But fret not, because Google Flights has you covered there. For this tutorial, I will be using a to Southeast Asia as an example.
My boyfriend and I have been wanting to travel to Southeast Asia for a long time now, but I was worried that flights would be way too expensive and we'd both have to save for a long time to be able to afford the airfare. Thankfully, this won't necessarily be the case. When using the basic round trip search to figure out where the best place to fly into, it become obvious that it was Thailand, since it's the cheapest SE Asia ticket. I wasn't super happy with the price ($678/person), but I knew I could find it for less.
Here's where the experimentation can start. Pull up a separate world map and look at the different airports you can fly in or out of that are within the same part of the world. So in this case, we want to see as many countries in Southeast Asia as we can, so I started testing out the multi-city function to see if flying into Bangkok and out of somewhere else would be a cheaper option. I tried returning via Kuala Lampur (barely cheaper at $674/person), Phnom Pehn (much more at $837/person), and a few other options, until discovering Ho Chi Minh City for $534/person. That's $144 less than a round-trip to Bangkok, and even better, makes it so we don't have to stress out about returning to our starting spot, so we can take a more leisurely trip.
And here's where it got even more exciting. After looking at the flights and how many stopovers there were for the cheapest option, it looked like we could have a 9 hour layover in Tokyo (another place we both very much want to go), but I didn't think 9 hours was enough to truly get out of the airport and back without a lot of stress, so I used the multi-city option once again to see if I could add in a longer amount of time between the flights from Vietnam back to NYC, and here's what I could find.
After playing with different options, it looks like we could have almost an entire day in Tokyo and only bump up our flight prices to $553/person! This is why it's so worth it to take some time to check out different options and test out multi-city flight searches because there are ways to get extra long layovers in places you want to go, but sometimes regular searches won't show you that, but with Google Flights you can play around and find ways around the blockers that make you potentially miss out on good prices.
The moral of this is to just be flexible with what flights you take and when, where you fly out of, where you fly into, the dates that you're willing to go, and what layovers you can endure for the sake of your adventures. I wouldn't even have thought about trying to add Tokyo to this trip had I not taken time to look at different combinations of flights and days to fly, but now it seems I can add that into my journey. I'll never ditch Skyscanner as my go to for basic roundtrip flights, but for those with more of a varied travel itinerary, the multi-search tool will be your savior in both money and choices.