The first travel website I found truly game-changing was Kayak. Better websites and better functions exist, but I still find myself going back to Kayak time and time again.
As I write this series, I implement things that I’ve written about. Thus, I now have a column dedicated to @airfarewatchdog tweets about Boston and receive e-mails from The Flight Deal about cheap flights to/from Boston. While both those alerts help me find deals, neither addresses a common need for family travelers: monitoring flights when both your location and dates are more or less set. Enter Kayak alerts.
Kayak has a great feature where you can send yourself e-mails updating price changes. Here’s how to easily set up Kayak alerts.
1. Sign up for a free account
As usual with these sites, everything starts here.
2. Do a search for your flight on the dates you want to travel
Pretty straightforward step here.
3. Take note of the advice to buy or wait in the top left corner
For a lot of flights, Kayak has a nice price predictor in the top left corner. Though I don’t always go by it, the graph gives you a sense of how the price has been fluctuating. Sometimes if the price is low enough and Kayak says “buy” there’s no real point in waiting – better to miss out on a fare drop then get saddled with a fare increase!
4. Click on “create a price alert”
Right below the buy or wait graph you can create a price alert. That will set Kayak up to automatically monitor that route on your preferred dates and send you regular alerts.
5. Update your preferences
If you navigate to your preferences, you can refine your price alerts. For starters, you can choose what days of the week you want Kayak to send you e-mails. If you’re obsessive you can have them send fares to you every day; if not, a couple times a week or even weekly is fine (in general, airfare doesn’t fluctuate THAT wildly).
Another nice feature is “flexible dates”. You can have your alert just search for upcoming weekends or various months. Flexibility is the key to cheaper airfare so it’s great that Kayak alerts can search multiple dates for you at once. Let the website do the work for you!
Setting up Kayak alerts is easy. If you have your eye on certain travel dates, make sure you take advantage! For more robust airfare searches, Google Flights is probably where you want to go. More on that in the future.