How To Find The Cheapest Flights To Anywhere

Itching to just grab your suitcase and fly somewhere? Don’t really care where as long as it’s cheap and gets you away from wherever you happen to be? Wondering where to start?

We’ve scored some fantastic deals using airfare search engines that let you type in your departure city (or country) and search for a list of cheap flights to virtually any destination in the world.

We found our last flight, a one way ticket from Cancun, Mexico to Madrid, Spain for $160 USD all in. We also just booked a one way flight from Istanbul, Turkey to Toronto, Canada for just $288 after taxes and fees. That’s less than your average local flight within Canada.

Sound interesting? In this post, we:

  • Tell you how we find cheap flights to anywhere (and no, none of these companies paid us to write this post).
  • Review the major flight search engines that allow you to search from a departure city (or country) without including any specific destination

Skyscanner

Let’s start with what we think is the best search engine of the bunch for this: Skyscanner. To find cheap flights to everywhere from your destination, just leave the To field blank in your Skyscanner search.

Sample Skyscanner search to any destination from New York

Skyscanner search to any destination from New York

Skyscanner lets you see up to a week, a month or even a year of fares at a time, which can save you a bundle if your dates are flexible. Skyscanner also lets you type in a country name to find cheap airfares from all cities in the country.

Results from Skyscanner search from New York to anywhere for April

Results from Skyscanner search from New York to anywhere for April

Free Apps: We use the Skyscanner iPhone app a lot as well. The app seems to have almost all of the features of the site, including the ability to search for flights to anywhere, and for a month’s worth at a time. It also features a cool interactive map that lists prices to cities around the globe. The apps are available for iPhone, iPad, Android, BlackBerry and Windows Phone.

Note: The prices listed on Skyscanner are based on previous flight search data. When you click the link the initial prices might differ from the actual listed price. When you actually go to book, prices may change as well.

What we don’t like: Unfortunately, the Skyscanner site itself doesn’t let you see your results in a map. (Clicking the small map link above the To: Field on the search page doesn’t show your airfares on the map, but the map will let you zoom and draw specific routes, which you can then search, which is pretty cool in and of itself). Also, the prices you see aren’t always the final price you pay.

Our take: The best of the bunch. Skyscanner is easy to use, we’ve found that the fares it comes up with are generally accurate, and it even comes as a well designed app. Love it. It also makes a great tool to quickly find cheap alternative routes to your destination.

Kayak Explore

The Kayak Explore tool is made specifically for searching for flights to anywhere. To find flights, type your departure city and select your search options.

Kayak Explore Tool

Kayak Explore Tool search to any destination from New York

Kayak’s Explore tool lets you search for airfares for different seasons, making it a great tool for long term planning.

Results show up in a map. You can drag and zoom, making it easy to see airfares to different regions, or even for the entire world at once.

Kayak Explore has some fun search options, including searching for fights by weather, and by things to do (golf, gambling, and so on). You can even narrow down results by budget.

Note: The prices listed on the Kayak Explore map are based on flights bought on Kayak in the last 48 hours. When you actually go to book, prices may be different.

Free Apps: Kayak Explore has a free app for the Mac, iPhone, iPad, Android, Windows Phone 7 and Kindle Fire.

What we don’t like: One thing we don’t like is that Kayak Explore won’t let you see all flights from a specific country. Instead, you’re limited to searching from specific cities. We’re also not keen that the Explore tool only lists round trip fares, making it a bit harder to plan trips with multiple legs.

Our take. Very good. We love the map display of fares, and the fun search options, but don’t like that it only lists round trip fares, and that it won’t display the cheapest flights from a specific country.

Best of the Bunch

We use Skyscanner and Kayak Explore almost exclusively to search for flights from a specific destination to anywhere. That said, there are a couple of other flight search engines that do a similar job (though not nowhere near as well). We’ve included them here just for the sake of completeness.

FareCompare

Like Kayak Explore, FareCompare lets you search for fares to anywhere from a specific departure city.

Search for flights from New York to Anywhere on Fare Compare

Search for flights from New York to Anywhere on Fare Compare

The problem is that FareCompare only has a fraction of the functionality of Kayak Explore or Skyscanner.

What we don’t like: The huge limitation of FareCompare is that it only lets you search from departure airports in Canada and the USA. You can also only search from specific cities, as it won’t let you search to or from specific countries or regions. Once you select the airfare that interests you, finding that flight can be awkward as it opens a half dozen windows to other popular sites like Expedia.

Our take: Too limited and just another front end to more popular search sites

Whichbudget

Search from New York to anywhere on Whichbudget.com

Search from New York to anywhere on Whichbudget.com

Whichbudget will let you search from a city or country to anywhere for the cheapest airfare. It also lets you search from a good range of international destinations, and was the only search engine that would let us specify Anywhere in the departure field, which is helpful if your departure city or country is flexible.

What we don’t like: Unfortunately, the results are a bit clunky, the text is hard to read, and you can’t sort the results to show the lowest price first.

Our take: It’s ugly too look at, with poor sorting of results, small text and worse than average results.

Airfarewatchdog

Search for flights to any destination from New York on Airfarewatchdog.com

Search for flights to any destination from New York on Airfarewatchdog.com

Airfarewatchdog is probably the most bare bones of all the search engines that let you find a flight to any destination. It will only let you search from a specific airport (not even a city, but a specific airport), and doesn’t offer useful filters (like one way or return).

What we don’t like: You can only search from cities in Canada and the US. On top of that, it keeps asking for your name and email to sign up and get your results.

Our take: Not bad for searches however only useful within the US and Canada. Might be good as an email watchdog if you’re wanting to go to specific place and are just waiting for a good deal.

Mobissimo’s Activity Search

Search from New York to anywhere on Mobissimo

Search from New York to anywhere on Mobissimo

The Mobissimo Activity Search lets you search for fares from a departure city to anywhere, based on the activities you choose. And no, it won’t let you search to or from entire countries. And yes, you must choose an activity to get it to work.

Results from a Mobissimo search

Results from a Mobissimo search

Unfortunately, the Mobissimo Activity Search just brings up a long list of places. You need to click on each location individually to bring up prices.

Our take: Fail. Unless you have countless hours to waste clicking through each link or just want some ideas of possible locations to check out don’t even bother.

To sum it up

Both Skyscanner and Kayak Explore are both helpful for getting a general idea of flight costs to different places around the world. If you’re flying out of Canada or the US and know exactly which airport your leaving from them you can check out the others.

However, once you’ve used any of them to pick out affordable destinations (and dates), it’s worth it to compare those flights to some of the budget airlines that don’t appear in a lot of search engines. You also need to compare hidden airline surcharges like baggage fees and specialty taxes.

Different airlines charge differently and a lot of these search tools don’t always factor those costs in. It might even be worth it to get actual human help from a company like Flightfox now that you have a decent baseline to compare it with.

You can also now compare those price to the ITA Matrix. This company was bought out by Google and is used as the backend for their Google Flights site. Both are great tools however they don’t include flights to anywhere options so weren’t included in this roundup.

For more tips on finding a great deal, check out our Six Quick Steps to Nailing the Cheapest Flight.

Did you like this article? We’re working on Part 2: Finding the Cheapest Flight to Anywhere: Advanced Travel Hacking. Sign up to get our new blog posts by email so you don’t miss it.

About The Author

I grew up in a tiny Canadian prairie town and traveling has come to be my passion and joy in life. I love adventure and meeting the completely unexpected and sometimes strange collection of people I run into on the road. I'm always up for a new adventure, on the road or not. I've worked as a baker, bookkeeper, journalist, student, aspiring neuroscientist, technical writer, and now blogger and internet entrepreneur.

32 Responses

  1. www.travelwithkevinandruth.com

    Excellent article. As frugal travelers, we always search for the best price. Even thought some of your above mentioned websites may be better or more versatile than others, to get the best price you always end up checking them all anyhow. Of course versatility in both destination and date will allow you to take advantage of the best deals.

    Sometimes it’s also worthwhile to take a train or bus to a different airport to take advantage of the best deals. Worthwhile searching airports within say 100 kms of both your departure and arrival to see if a better deal exists.
    http://www.travelwithkevinandruth.com recently posted..A better look at our “cabin”…My Profile

    Reply
  2. Allan

    Great article guys. Skyscanner is my go to but I also find fly.com and momondo.com to occasionally pull out fares that are slightly cheaper. Momondo has a month view similar to Skyscanner which is really useful when you’re flexible with dates. Usually I have all 3 open to make sure I get the cheapest fares. Probably worth mentioning that sites like lastminute.com, travelocity and the like seem to NEVER have the cheapest fares.

    Reply
  3. Maria Alexandra @LatinAbroad

    I didn’t know you could do that! I’ve been using skyscanner for years and didn’t know about the anywhere option. I’ll have to try this summer!

    I do have to admit though, skyscanner used to be better before. I remember the time when I could look at the entire month and see the specific prices for EVERY day of the month.

    Nowadays, when I select a whole month to a specific destination, all I get are like 3 or 4 days with prices, while the rest are blank. They say that to see the price, you have to click on a specific date. Crappy! Used to be better…

    All in all though, your article is an excellent roundup!

    -Maria Alexandra
    Maria Alexandra @LatinAbroad recently posted..Puerto Rico Beach Thursday: Cueva del Indio Arecibo photosMy Profile

    Reply
  4. Nigel Clifford

    Great advice guys! I always search through heaps of sites to make sure I get the lowest airfare I possibly can, there are a few sites on here that I didn’t know about before :)

    Reply
  5. Lou

    Recently, I booked my flight tickets to Austin (TX) from Paris through Darjeelin – flight hackers compete during 24hrs to find you the best price or deal. And they actually did!

    Reply
  6. Ryan Wright

    Great article. I appreciate the work that went into ranking the different online options.

    One thing I would also add would be that sites like Flyertalk have forums where various “Mileage Run” deals are discussed to gain the most miles for the least $, and if your locale happens to fit, it also means a great fare deal.

    A lot more reading and research goes into using a site like that, but the forums are chalk full of useful information once you sort through it (though you need time to do so!)

    Thanks again,

    We’ll keep reading!

    Reply
  7. Charles Rahm (@DWJustTravel)

    Good tips. Thank you for sharing these resources. Comparison websites are a great place to start if you want to get a good travel deal whether it is flights or accommodation. If you are already travelling then the local low cost airlines are a good place to get cheap flights. If you are travelling in Africa I wrote a post on my personal travel blog about low cost airlines in Africa which I hope you find useful.
    http://www.dontworryjusttravel.com/africa/low-cost-airlines-africa-top-5

    Reply
  8. Regev

    Ha! niceeee. a friend sent me a link to your article because it’s so similar (in his eyes) to my cheap flights guide. Good job there, only thing – you forgot ITA Matrix. It’s a free tool by Google that seriously kicks all the other flight engines in the butt. I do love the Everywhere feature of Skyscanner – it’s a real time saver.
    Regev recently posted..How to Find Cheap Flights Online and Book Air Tickets for $2My Profile

    Reply
    • Charles Kosman

      Hey Regev. We’ve been huge fans of ITA Matrix for years and used it well before it was bought out by Google in 2010. The reason it’s not included in this post was that this only lists search engines that would let you fly “anywhere”. ITA Matrix lets you select locations up to 2000 miles from any destination city however that’s only a fraction of the globe at a time.

      It is an awesome tool if you have a general idea of where you want to fly to however. Not sure you noticed but it is mentioned at the bottom of the post if only briefly. It’s also featured right at the beginning of our Six Quick Steps to Nailing the Cheapest Flight post.

      Your latest post on the subject is helpful as well. Travelers looking for a deal need every tool they can find to lower their cost and stretch their dollar. Thanks for reminding everyone how great ITA Matrix is!

      Reply
  9. David

    Hi!! Micki Kosman, Thank you so much for sharing this useful things how we can get cheap flight tickets from anywhere.

    Reply
  10. Kelvin

    Great post!! In my personal experience that Kayak Explore is one of the best searching tool for affordable flights to anywhere. The Main thing about it that its refundable. I will recommend it to people who want to book a cheap flights.

    Reply
  11. Traci

    Cheap-o-air and seat guru were two great apps that helped me save a fortune on flights..

    Reply
  12. Elizabeth

    I’ve been using skyscanner and liked it a lot,the only problem is the other company it led me to: OPODO ( it was a flight in Europe, France-Norway-France).it appeared very cheap,but the OPODO itself fooled me like a baby and took money from my card twice.it has been already 3 months and they don’t want to give me back my money although I have all the evidence.so I don’t even know what measures should I take-maybe go to the police,because calling,e-mailing and sending letters doesn’t help.

    So I just wanted to warn people if somebody happens to fly in Europe, you better be careful by avoiding using OPODO.

    And it ould be nice if somebody could post an article about some other not-so-reliable companies

    Reply
  13. April

    This is what I need. Cheap flights are just what me and my husband are looking for since we are now travelling with our kids, we better have to find ways on how to cut the budget short to enjoy more along the trip from flights to food and hotels. Thanks for sharing this. It’s amazing!

    Reply
  14. Jordan Bailey

    If you are seeking for a cheap plane ticket to a family vacation or a ticket to a foreign country. It is often very difficult to find affordable airfare but thank you for these helpful tips .

    Saving in transportation can help us for quality stay and other expenses .

    Reply

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