If you’re operating on a tight budget, you might write off a vacation based on cost of airfare alone. However, if you’ve got time and a willingness to get creative, it’s actually not TOO hard to see the world with a skinny wallet. Here are a few helpful budget travel tips for Saving Money on Flights. With some careful planning and a bit of spontaneity, you could find yourself in Miami or Rio by next Tuesday!
- Be REALLY Flexible: Flight leaves at 4:00am? Ok. Layover in Saudi? Awesome. Arrives at a random airport in Southern Spain instead of Madrid? Fine. If you’re flexible when you’re booking your itinerary, you can usually find great deals on flights. Try tweaking the dates, times, and price range to wind up with the best prices for airfare.
- Fly Indirect: While multi-stop itineraries can get pricey, sometimes you will actually save a lot of money booking each leg of the ticket separately. If you find a steal to London, perhaps you will save money flying with RyanAir to Paris or taking the EuroStar instead than booking a direct flight from the U.S. to France.
- Book on Last Minute Booking Sites: I’ve never personally booked on Priceline, but the spontaneous really swear by it. Pick a time, get online, and be prepared to negotiate on a whim. If it’s inexpensive and you’re open to a random vacation, why not?
- Try Multiple Flight Aggregators: Aggregators like Kayak and Momondo are a great start for comparison shopping, but the best of the best at budget travel know that you must compare the comparison sites! Take a few hours to look at multiple booking sights before making any investments. A little extra time can save you hundreds of dollars later. Additional Tip: Be sure to click completely through your ideal flight to make sure it’s bookable before committing. Often, the aggregator’s information is out of date which can cause a lot of stress later.
- Consider the External Costs: It is important to consider all costs when booking a flight. Budget airlines often cut back on the frills to offer you low cost airfare, but throw taxes on EVERYTHING. Also, stopovers can sneak attack with unforeseen costs. Sure, the flight with a layover in Dubai is $100 cheaper, but once you consider round trip transport from the airport, food, and accommodation, you might spend just as much as you would have splurging on the direct flight. If you think about all of the costs associated with the booking in advance, you’re less likely to be shocked by additional costs later.
- Learn How to Travel Hack: Travel hacking is a serious art form revolving around frequent flyer miles. The real experts enjoy incredible upgrades and can even earn money by flying, but learning to travel hack takes time, money, and whole hearted effort. If you’re interested, check out The Ultimate Travel Hacking Guide by Lifehacker.
How do you save money on airfare? Got any good booking sites or advice for other travelers? Tell us about it on Facebook or in the comments section below!