Airport in Long Beach, California
Credit: Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images

Bigger isn’t always better — especially when it comes to airports.

While large hub airports, like Atlanta and Dallas–Fort Worth, have a greater offering of flights and airlines, they're not always the most convenient option — or the cheapest.

For those travelers willing to spend some time researching airports and airfare, as USA Today notes, it may be possible to find a less expensive alternative (that could even be closer to home).

To begin, first locate all the airports in your area. There may be an airport that wasn't previously on your radar.

For example, New Yorkers may not know where Stewart International Airport is (it's about 60 miles north of Manhattan), but it happens to be a good option for ultra-low cost flights to Europe.

After finding the closest airports to you, head to the airports' websites (here's Stewart's) to find the full list of airlines that offer serve them. Keep an eye out for the regional and discount carriers.

From there, check those airlines' booking sites. Out of Stewart, that would be Norwegian Air. (A quick search for January from Stewart International to the U.K. turned up for $289 round-trip, while the same dates from JFK return the lowest price of $630 round-trip.)

After searching airfare directly from the airline, compare prices to a search through your favorite hub (be it Kayak, the Hopper app, Google Flights, Skyscanner, Momondo).

Results will vary, depending on when and where you want to go, and what services you need. When it comes to budget airlines, travelers should always check on any potential fees.

For those who are willing to go the extra mile to ensure they aren’t paying a penny more than necessary, consider checking flights with Google’s Matrix by ITA software, vet your third-party search engines well, and remember that the time of day you fly could be affecting your price.