If you're not flush with travel points and airline miles, searching for affordable getaways likely involves scouring multiple travel sites for the best deals on flights. It goes without saying that this can be a frustrating and time consuming experience. Wouldn't it be great if you could find the best deals all in one place? Ask and you shall receive. You can now plan your next getaway on the cheap with a new travel tool. Created by Singapore-MIT Alliance of Research and Technology, "Escape" is described as an inspirational flight search engine.
It basically finds the cheapest flights based on your desired vacay dates, Katherine Fan reported for The Points Guy. Once you open the Escape page in your browser, simply enter the city you're traveling from and your desired dates. The tool automatically returns results for the cheapest flights to cities around the world. You can also filter by direct flights, budget travel, the best weather, whether or not the destination requires you to get a visa, and the most popular destinations to help you plan your next great escape.
"We started with a simple question: ‘Where can I go for a certain dollar amount?’ The idea for Escape was born out of necessity, since budget is a key factor in destination planning. Our end goal was to help people find a cheap flight deal, even at the last minute," Carlo Ratti, a professor at the MIT Department of Urban Studies and Planning and director of Senseable City Lab, told The Points Guy.
"Travel planning can be very stressful when you have to take into account your budget, time, weather conditions, visa availability, and so on. It was clear to us this can be solved by data and design, and that’s when Escape was conceptualized," Ratti explained.
I checked it out and did a search from Los Angeles for dates in June. Escape returned results for some U.S. cities that would cost me less than $150 round trip as well as round-trip flights to Mexico for less than $350. The great thing about Escape is that it shows you results from cities around the world. A cheap flight to a locale you might not have previously considered could motivate you to expand your potential travel destinations.
While there's certainly something to be said for traveling to a place you're familiar with, exploring a new city has a lot of positive benefits. Though myriad studies have shown that taking any sort of vacation is good for your health, a study published in Sage Journals found that traveling internationally can help expand your cultural intelligence and make you more empathetic. Getting out of your comfort zone will also make you less likely to judge people superficially, which is something you can incorporate into your everyday life.
The downside to Escape is that you'll still have to visit another travel site to find a hotel. But if the flight is cheap enough, you might have a little extra cash to spend upgrading your accommodations. If you have serious wanderlust and you're ready for your next great escape, you can start searching for flights now. Then simply pack your bags and enjoy yourself. You totally deserve it.