Flight prices change all the time. If you buy a flight at the right time, you could save yourself hundreds of dollars. Here’s how to use Kayak’s price alerts to get the best deals.

Creating Flight Alerts from the Website

Head to Kayak.com and, if you don’t already have one, create an account. If you do have one, sign in. You need an account so that Kayak can actually send you the alerts.

After signing in, click the “My Account” link, and then select the “Price Alerts” option.

To add a new flight alert, click the “Add a Flight Alert” link.

When it comes to adding a price alert, you’ve got quite a few options, so let’s work through them.

There are three kinds of price alerts: Exact Dates, Flexible, and Top 25 Cities.

An Exact Date alert is exactly what it sounds like. If you know you need to be somewhere a certain week then you can plug in the departure and arrival cities, along with the exact days you want to fly. You then sit back and wait until you get a price you’re willing to pay. You can also use Exact Date alerts to compare two potential trips—just book whichever one ends up cheapest.

Flexible alerts are for when you want to go to a certain place, but exactly when you go isn’t as important. You can get flexible alerts for upcoming weekends, or any month in the next year.

A Top 25 Cities alert is even more flexible. It’s for when you don’t really care where you’re going and you don’t really care when you’re going. You choose either the top 25 cities in the world or in a certain location and a flexible time period. While this might sound like it’s a bit useless, it’s actually really cool. This is how you’ll find the absolute best deals because you’ll see the heavily discounted fares you weren’t actively looking for.

For example, say you want to go somewhere fun for your vacation next year, but the exact timing of your vacation is flexible and you’re not really attached to going anywhere in particular. Set the alert, watch for a great price, and then schedule your vacation.

To create an alert, select the kind you want and then enter the departure and arrival locations, and when you want to go. You can also specify some other options like whether you want to fly non-stop, when you want to receive the alert emails, and if you want mobile push notifications as well. Click “Save Alert” and it’s done.

I know I’m heading to the US in September so I’m creating a Top 25 Cities alert between Dublin and the top US cities for that month; I’m not too concerned about what date I go and I’m heading to a few different locations so I’m pretty open about where I actually fly into. I reckon this alert will save me at least a couple of hundred dollars over something I tried to book myself.

There’s one other way to create flight alerts on Kayak. If you search for a specific trip, in the top left corner there’s an option to Track Prices. Turn it on and Kayak will automatically create an alert for those dates.

Creating Flight Alerts from the Mobile App

You can also create flight alerts from Kayak’s mobile app. Open it, sign in, and head to the “Watchlist” tab. To add a new alert, tap the + icon, and then select the “Flight Alert” option.

The options are the same as on the website, although Flexible is called Lowest Fares instead, for whatever reason.

Enter the specifics of your trip, and tap the “Create Alert” button. As well as the email notification, you will also get daily mobile push notifications. If you’re creating a lot of alerts, though, this can get a little overwhelming.

Kayak’s flight alerts are a great way to save a bit of money on plane tickets, especially if you’re flexible about when you go—or even where you go. If you like to travel and have some free time coming up, I recommend setting up a Top 25 Cities alert at the very least. Maybe nothing comes of it, but maybe you’ll get a killer deal.

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Harry Guinness is a photography expert and writer with nearly a decade of experience. His work has been published in newspapers like The New York Times and on a variety of other websites, from Lifehacker to Popular Science and Medium's OneZero.
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