Finding Cheap Fares With Kayak Explore • McCool Travel


Kayak Explore is one of the most user friendly and powerful features for finding cheap airfares and we include instructions for using Kayak Explore and some insider tips.

Kayak Explore

Access Kayak Explore by going to, click the Explore link or image on the right side of the screen.

You can also type the URL “” or click the Explore link/image on a page with airfare results.

So, there are a few ways to find Kayak Explore.

Here is an actual Kayak Explore map with airfare prices from Washington, DC airports.

Kayak Explore airfare map
Kayak Explore airfare map

How to Use Kayak Explore to Find Cheap Fares

To start, notice that Kayak Explore is a visual tool rather than a list of airfares. Kayak Explore fares are displayed on a map, which automatically updates when

Users can specify a starting destination and a date range. Instead of typing a maximum price, Explore has a Budget slider button. Another slider button is for an option for total flight time; there is also a checkbox for non-stop only. Interesting features include options for season (under the month popup), desired Weather, and Stuff To Do (such as beach or ski).

Here are three examples of how to use Kayak Explore to find cheap fares.

Example 1: I enter IAD for Explore From, select a month in the future for Leaving, and click non-stop only. The screen automatically updates to show some nonstop fares. You can zoom in/out or scroll the map.

Instead, I will type on Europe in the box that says “Anywhere.” In this Kayak Explore map for summer fares, there are great prices like $508 to Paris, $619 to Athens, and an astounding $474 to Lisbon. Wow.

Note that the Kayak Explore results also have a bunch of dots on other cities. Although Kayak listed so many popular cities, by clicking around, for instance, I learned that there is a $600 fare to Naples, Italy. That is much lower than the $885 displayed fare to Rome.

Note that you can also select, on the left side, Any Number of Stops (the default) or Up to One Stop or Nonstop. Selecting any option refreshes thee Kayak Explore map right away.

Example 2: Staying on the same screen, I can explore more airfares. Select the Beach checkbox over on the left column and a month in the future. I have found $60 cheap round trip fares between DC and Ft Lauderdale, $149 to San Juan, and more cheap fares this way.

Example 3: I wanted to research a split ticket cheap fare between Dulles and Honolulu. Typical fares between Dulles and Honolulu are $930. But notice on the first map above that it is $101 to Denver, $106 to Los Angeles, and $159 to san Francisco. Those are the lowest possible fares but give me a good idea of where I can fly for the cheapest fares.

Now I will enter HNL in Explore From text box.

Results show fares of $450 between Los Angeles and HNL. In this case, I can buy separate cheaper fares from Dulles to Los Angeles for under $200 and Los Angeles to Honolulu for $450—instead of $930 between Dulles and Honolulu.

I will save almost $200 and create a stopover vacation in Southern California plus fly on preferred airline—like maybe JetBlue and Hawaiian Airlines instead of United or American.

These were quick searches and I usually find better results with a deeper search.

** Kayak Explore fare results are not necessarily the currently available fares. In other words, results represent what others have recently discovered and may no longer exist. The good news is that sometimes current fares are lower than the results. Click on any hyperlinked (blue underlined) fare to search for current fare options and results.

Once you are familiar with Kayak Explore, these steps only take a couple of minutes and are a powerful way of finding cheap fares.

Have you used Kayak Explore to search for lower airfares? What your resources do you use for finding cheap fares?

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