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My friends and family always call me text me or even Facebook me asking for help in finding a decent ticket to a random destination.

It’s not rocket science but here’s what I do:

My first step is to check Google Flights. Google Flights’s layout can’t be beat. It’s easy, you can play around with dates and destinations, and most importantly it’s fast. Use nearby airports as well.

Once I find the best published fare on google flights, I’ll usually compare it with Kayak.com as they curate tons a different online booking sites and will sometimes pull a deal that google flights missed.

When you book, don’t forget Travel Tip #1 to make extra cash back.

If the desired dates/flights/airlines are expensive here’s the next alternative options. Disclaimer: The following steps aren’t exactly the most ethical.

Option 1: Search STATravel.com and choose “Student” as the traveler. Yes, I know you’re probably not a student but I’ve never had a problem traveling on a STA Travel ticket.  Use at your own risk, but the savings is sometime worth it.

Option 2: Hidden city travel. check SkipLagged.com or ITA Matrix. The latter is more comprehensive, so use this Simple Guide for using ITA Matrix. Now most “experts” recommend not using your frequent flyer number when booking a hidden city. Well that’s up to you, but I’ve had success with creating new accounts just for hidden city flight and merging them later with my existing account. Another option is to simply to credit the miles to a partner airline.