You’ve got two or more weeks off a year, and you’re craving an adventure. Maybe you’ve always wanted to see a wild lion on safari. Maybe you’ve wanted to geek out over the Lord of the Rings filming locations in New Zealand. Or perhaps you’re dreaming of being dropped off in the luxurious Maldives to lay on a hammock on the beach. This is about the time I start hearing the excuse, “But flights are way too expensive!” It’s true: with plane tickets at an all-time high, it feels like your travel dreams are crushed under the weight of a hefty bill.
I can honestly say, however, that I have never paid the original, full price of a plane ticket. That leads me to a great piece of advice for short-term travelers: Never, and I repeat NEVER, pay full price for a plane ticket if you can help it. I’ve never paid more than $850 in any of my travels and I don’t even live in a large city where flights are typically cheap. I’ve bought roundtrip tickets from Lexington, Kentucky to London for $700; Cleveland, Ohio to Johannesburg for $850; and even Dayton, Ohio to Paris for $800. How? Utilize those online resources! Because while plane tickets are higher than ever, the amount of resources to save money are even higher. Here’s some money saving tricks below:
Because while plane tickets are higher than ever, the amount of resources to save money are even higher.
- If you don’t know what exact dates you want to take off, one of my favorite websites for searching the best deals is Skyscanner. It has an option to select your closest airport, then type in anywhere and anytime. Then, it will show you the cheapest upcoming flights during the next few months, ranging from Seattle to Paris to Tokyo. So if you’re open to anywhere and anytime, that is a fantastic option. For example, I just input this for Cleveland, and found flights from Cleveland to Lima, Peru round-trip for $550 in April for a week. Super easy? Check. And it even costs less than a new Iphone.
- If you have dates off and a location in mind, I like to use the app Hopper to help me predict when plane tickets will drop before purchasing. You just input your city, where you’d like to go, and select the dates (it’ll show the cheapest dates too). It’ll let you know the current cost and will tell you to either wait until prices drop or buy now. It’s so simple, but it’s saved me so much money. I used this app when booking my plane tickets to South Africa, and bought a round-trip flight to Johannesburg for $850. I also helped my best friend book her honeymoon from Lexington to Vancouver, with plane tickets costing only $420 round-trip.
- Another resource for looking up cheap flights? Google Flights! You input your airport, destination, and look at the cheapest times to go. I looked up the cost from Washington, DC to Iceland and the cost? $260. ROUNDTRIP. You have to try this!
- A great way to get dirt cheap deals is The Flight Deal. This is gold in that it finds mistake fares. Mistake fares are when airlines forget to add in things like fuel surcharges or other items into their prices. If you can find these, book fast! Once the airline discovers the error, they’ll fix it quickly. Most of the time they will honor the mistake fare as well. Just at a glance, a roundtrip fare from Boston to Beijing is… $478! Even NYC to Budapest roundtrip? $365! If you look hard enough, I’ve heard of some international flights costing less than $200. Secret Flying is another great resource on mistake fares too.
Four resources and you’re already saving bundles!
Another Great Tip…
Never fly without collecting those miles! Almost every airline has mileage reward programs, where you can collect miles for trips you’ve taken. And many never expire. So take credit for those plane tickets and save those miles for more trips down the road! It’s free to sign up for these mileage programs too. Most airlines are either under the Oneworld, Sky Team, or Star Alliance partnerships, meaning that you can share miles between all airlines under these alliances. For example, say you have 25,000 miles with Delta, but you found a good flight with KLM and want to use those miles. Since they’re under the same alliance, Sky Team, you can use those Delta miles toward your KLM flight. This is an easy travel hack to save more money on your flights!
Also, remember to sign up for a miles credit card. Miles cards allow you to earn miles for every purchase you make, with some offering double miles on plane tickets. Most also give you 50,000 miles if you spend $3,000 in the first three months. Now before you panic and think you couldn’t spend that much, just think about any big purchases you already have cash for and pay on the credit card. Then turn around and pay it off immediately. Use it to pay rent/bills/anything you already have cash for, and you’ve earned yourself 50,000 miles! This is super easy, and before you know it, you’re flying to London roundtrip while spending very little.
Now get out there and start spending way less money booking your dream vacation to Thailand, or Peru, or Paris! Wherever you go, save money and travel smarter!