Navigating Budget Traveling
Wanderlust consumes the adventurous soul. Traveling to a new place, experiencing a new culture or landscape, can easily lead you to plotting your next trip before you’ve even returned home from your last. For the travel enthusiast, budget is always on the mind.
If you want to have as many new travel experiences as possible, venturing near and far, then the key to bringing this desire to fruition is traveling affordably. In the beginning, creating a budget for travel can be challenging to navigate, but with experience your knowledge will grow.
The key to traveling affordably is being “open to experiences.” Set aside fears of being out of your element or pursuing an unconventional path. By being flexible, you can save money by staying in hostels, eating authentic foreign and ethnic cuisines affordably, and most importantly, scoring cheap flights!
Timing Is Everything When Searching for Cheap Flights
Checking your favorite sites for flights frequently will help you keep an eye on price drops. Tuesday is the ideal day to search for flights. Avoid weekend ticket buying because this is when tickets are likely to surge in price.
Though keeping a mindful eye on airfare rates is a conscientious move, the rule of thumb for buying cheap plane tickets is to wait six weeks prior to your departure date. For example, this roundtrip flight from NYC to Paris, France on kayak.com is only $453. It’s a great example of the fabulous rates you can stumble upon when searching six weeks prior to your departure date.
Choosing to travel outside of tourist season is an important piece of information to note while we’re addressing timing. Flights will be cheaper, as well as accommodations and attractions. Who doesn’t love skipping the crowd?
A New Way to Purchase Tickets
In order to get the cheapest rate available when booking a flight, it makes sense to look at alternatives to a direct round-trip flight. Switch up your thought process – your final destination doesn’t have to be your only destination. In some instances, it may be less expensive to buy two one-way flights versus a round trip flight. It is best to run an extra search on an alternative ticket buying site, like sky scanner, anytime you’re searching for plane tickets on a budget.
Getting Flight Alerts
Most travel sites and air carrier websites offer the option to sign up for flight alerts. Flight alerts allow travelers to receive notice when cheap flights become available. For example, carriers like Allegiant Air have 72-hour flash sales offering flyers $40 off their flights.
Other carriers have programs that send flash sales directly to your inbox. Some domestic flights have gone for as low $46. Not only can you score great ticket deals through this resource, you can also live dangerously by letting the flash sale determine which destination you travel to next!
Flying Internationally, Affordably
Begin by determining the region(s) of travel interest. Then locate the carrier native to that region. For example, Iceland Air offers flights from the United Sates to Western Europe with a free layover of up to a week in Iceland. Other region specific carriers include Fin Air, Turkish Airlines, and Japan Airlines.
In addition, there are air carriers like WOW air. WOW departs and arrives in many major U.S. cities and across Western Europe. Customers have scored round trip tickets to Iceland from $80 to $400 depending on the season and city of departure.
Once you’re abroad, tap in to resources like the Airbus. Airbus offers affordable flights to and from countries in compact regions, allowing travelers to have a varied, yet affordable travel experience. Check out these tips for locating Airbus tickets.
The Comfort of Business Class
Whether you’re traveling for work or perhaps just want to experience some extra comfort, business class is the way to go. It turns out that if you know how to shop for business class tickets, you can score tickets for the same price you’d pay to sit in coach. Seasoned business travelers use resources like Matrix ITA Software, which offers price per mile breakdowns, real-time filters, and an interactive calendar. Matrix allows users to find the most affordable business class seats available.
Flying on a Whim
You truly never know where life will lead you, and sometimes you need to be able to find an affordable flight at the drop of a hat. In this instance, ignore the 6-week rule mentioned earlier. Accessing sources like Google Flights in last minute situations will cut down on search time and reveal to you all the available flights and price differences.
GoLastMinute is another resource worth checking out. Through this site, travelers sometimes receive up to 50% off airfare.
Are you following your favorite air carriers on social media? Some carriers reveal last minute flight deals on social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Last minute flights deals are another great reason to get on an alerts list, as mentioned before. Air carriers are likely to use these online resources to make last minute sales, which can majorly benefit your wallet!
This next tip won’t be possible for everyone. It is still worth noting for those it applies to. If you have a family member who works for an airline then you may be able to receive flying perks. Often family members, and sometimes friends, can go on “standby” and if a flight doesn’t fill then they’re able to hop on for free!
When Mistakes Lead to Opportunities
Sites like Secret Flying monitor airfare deals, watching out for flights that are unusually cheap. So cheap sometimes that the price has actually been a typo, although the flyers who book at the mistaken price will have it honored. These examples from the past say it all:
- San Francisco to Auckland, New Zealand, return business class for $1,500 USD instead of $15,000
- Various US cities to Hawaii, return for $7
Sometimes searching for flights incognito can help you avoid inflating costs. It will also allow you to avoid being spammed with airfare ads after you’ve purchased your tickets. To go incognito hit Command, Shift, “N”. Each time you re-open an incognito window your cookies will reset, allowing you to start fresh with your ticket search.
Mix It Up
By combining these tips you’ll have the greatest advantage at finding and securing cheap flight deals. However, keep in mind that not every search you run will reveal your ideal results. Patience is key to successfully traveling on a budget. It is important to know when to take some time away from the search engine and check back later. Remember that there are plenty of cheap flights out there to be discovered by thrifty travelers like you. Now get out there and explore! Happy travels!