I just want to go somewhere but I don't care where!
June 9, 2013 6:13 AM   Subscribe

I'd like a search engine which will show me all of the travel possibilities from a given location in a certain date range. Does this exist?

I have a week and a half off work and I'd like to go away for 3-4 days but I don't really mind where. Is there a search engine which I can give my location and a date range and it'll show me all of the return flights (train journeys too would be great) and destinations along with the cost?

It seems to happen quite a lot that I want to go somewhere but I don't have a strong preference as to where and it's kind of difficult to find all the options and see them laid out anywhere.
posted by neilb449 to Travel & Transportation (8 answers total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
The closest that I know of is Kayak Explore feature. But that only narrows down to a month and I don't think it gives you literally every option. Then again it doesn't include trains. And of course it's more geared to the US, etc.
posted by FlamingBore at 6:17 AM on June 9, 2013 [1 favorite]

I doubt there is such a thing: too many variables, what with original location, time frame available, transportation available, cost, and personal preferences (hiking, sightseeing, muesums, whatever).

As an alternative, here's one I've done when I'm open to anything: put several options on slips of paper and draw one out of a hat. Alternatively, simply put north/south/east/west on those slips and drive that direction --- be open to the adventure!
posted by easily confused at 6:33 AM on June 9, 2013

The flight checker on MoneySavingExpert does exactly this. You tell it where you want to leave from, your travel dates (exact dates or specify a range) and your budget, and it returns a load of suggested trips with links to buy on the airlines' sites.

I've used it a few times for exactly this. There's a lot of repetition in the results -- e.g. there might be 50 slightly different ways to fly to Cork in your chosen budget and date range, cluttering up the results -- but with a bit of patient scrolling it's a good resource.

It's specific to budget flights starting in the UK, but as your profile info puts you in the UK I assume that's ok?
posted by metaBugs at 6:51 AM on June 9, 2013 [3 favorites]

Most of the Kayak Explore prices are for upcoming soonish dates in the sweet spot cheap window of 6 weeks or so from the date you search. So that should be ideal, though you can't put in ANY date and get a realistic price. But you can search at the time you intend to buy tickets and get basically what you want.

Another hitch with Kayak Explore is that it doesn't cover any of the European budget airlines.

It also doesn't include train journeys, of course, because that's just too many variables. Your profile says you're in Britain. Not sure how train travel works in Britain, but considering that it's an island and there's likely only one national-level rail service provider (as in other countries I've traveled in), you should be able to get what you want on that company's website.

As far as combining flights and train, that's something you'll inevitably have to do yourself.
posted by Sara C. at 7:50 AM on June 9, 2013

Google Flights has a map feature that shows you prices for flights around the country and the world from a given destination over a given time frame.
posted by a bird, it's a bird at 11:55 AM on June 9, 2013 [2 favorites]

The Money Saving Expert thing is exactly what I'm looking for. Kayak Explore and Google Flights are good too although Google Flights seems to not include data for a lot of airlines.
posted by neilb449 at 1:03 PM on June 9, 2013

You might check out adioso, which allows flexible search options.
posted by mai at 1:26 PM on June 9, 2013

Southwest has a new search just for this: http://getawayfinder.southwest.com/

And check out this blog article if you have a bunch of frequent flyer miles and want to use that to go "anywhere" (this is for quite advanced users).
posted by thewildgreen at 7:51 AM on June 10, 2013

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