Hello hello hello, friends!! I’m suuuuuuper pumped for this post, since it’s something I’m very passionate about. Traveling is my very favorite thing in the world, and I believe that money (or lack thereof) should never hold you back from leading a life full of adventures! Flights are often the most expensive part of a trip, but that doesn’t mean we can’t get a little creative with our booking! However, it usually requires some flexibility. But I’m going to talk more about that below! These are a few of the ways that I get the best deals when booking my air travel.
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This is the best app/website if you’re looking to just go wherever, whenever it’s cheapest! You can enter whatever airport you’ll be flying out of and see where you can fly to on the low low. For example, just for fun, I said I would be flying out of NYC in February and it told me I could fly to Paris round trip for under $250! How cool is that?! If you have a particular month you want to travel, you can select that entire month. Or if you don’t care when you go, select “anytime!” It’s that easy! I would recommend downloading the app, since it’s more user friendly than the website, in my opinion.
This may seem obvious, but I didn’t take advantage of GF until just a couple of years ago! My favorite thing is that it shows you a view of each month with exactly how much it’ll be to fly out/in on each individual day. It does several of the same things Skyscanner does, but that is the main difference I have found.
I can never say enough good things about Southwest! I flew them for the first time almost a year ago, and they’ve been my favorite airline ever since. As far as brand partnerships go, I gotta say they’re at the top of my “in your dreams” list. ONE DAY, GUYS. Anyway. Something weird! Southwest, for some reason (I think it’s because they don’t assign seats, but don’t quote me on that), doesn’t show up in the Google Flights search. Well, it does, but at the bottom, because their prices don’t register with GF, apparently?? Dumb. Basically you should ALWAYS check their app/website when comparing prices because they are OFTEN considerably lower than their competitors!
Scott’s Cheap Flights
Okay, this is one that I haven’t been able to take full advantage of yet, but I can’t wait to! SCF is this incredible service that sends you flight deals every single day. It’s run by real people, working to find prices up to 90% off normal ones! When they do, they email you to let you know. They’ll tell you where/when you can go and for how much (including baggage fees!), plus how long the deal will last and who the airline is. The best part? It’s FREE. That is, as long as you’re willing to miss out on some of those mistake fares and crazy deals 1/5th of the time. Note: I am, at the moment, just doing the free version. But I have a feeling that will change sometime this year.
This little app was a LIFESAVER when it came to booking my Hawaii flights at just the right time! It would let me know any time the trip I was watching would go up or down in price, AND tell me whether I should wait or book now. I don’t know how they know these things. But they know. And I reap the benefits.
Those are my favorite helpful tools, but here are some tips/tricks I’ve picked up along the way!
Think outside the box.
Until a couple of years ago, it never occurred to me that I could get two one way tickets instead of one roundtrip one! I know, I know, a very rookie mistake. But I had to say it in case there are any of you out there who might be in the same boat I was rowing! I always check to see if there’s a price difference between two one ways or one round trip. If it’s more than $10, you better believe I’m gonna split that trip between two different airlines! As a matter of fact, when I visited Hawaii last month, my trip went a little like this: Southwest to LAX, Hawaiian to Honolulu, then American to LAX, and Delta for my last flight home! That was what worked best for my schedule and my wallet. I was able to fly round trip to Hawaii from Memphis for under $600! And it could’ve been under $500, but I missed the boat on a flight (lol) I meant to book but waited on. Good things don’t always come to those who wait, folks!
Don’t forget the bags!
It’s super easy to just book your flights and then forget about the baggage fees until the day of. Believe me, I’ve been there. Make sure and check on the prices for each airline – they might have gone up since the last time you flew with them. Some even charge for a carry-on (*gives the side eye to Spirit*)! This is yet another reason why I love Southwest! Two free checked bags AND a free carry-on for every. single. flight. For an over-packer like me, it doesn’t get better than that!
Do your research.
There are airlines who charge you to print your boarding pass at the airport. Who charge BIG fees for overweight bags. Who don’t serve anything to eat or drink in-flight. Who have consistently late departure/arrival times. Decide if it’s worth it to you to have a dreadful travel experience in order to save a few bucks. The choice is yours!
I can’t tell you how many times I thought a destination was out of the question… until I looked at flight prices for a completely different season! “Off seasons” aren’t the same everywhere, so if you have the option to choose whenever you go, check Skyscanner to see when would be the cheapest.
Okay, I can’t say for certain if this is true, but I’ve seen it over and over so I thought I would pass it on just in case! Apparently it is best if you clear your cookies or use “private browsing” mode each time you search for flights. Because, according to several sources, if the internet notices you repeatedly searching the same dates to the same place, it will jack up the price – tricking you into booking ASAP! Like I said, I don’t know this to be absolutely true, but what’s the harm in taking a little precaution?
Now you have them! All the tools in your tool belt. Weapons in your arsenal. Get on out there and book your next adventure!! And as always, please feel free to ask any burning questions you might have. I’m happy to answer them!