You’re looking to cross places off your bucket list and the pricing for flights is disappointing, right? I’m sure we’ve all been there. For many of us, the ticket is the bulk of the expense followed by accommodations and travel once you’ve arrived at your destination. As I’m currently traveling in Europe, I’ve been getting questions asking how I went from country to country and was able to travel on a budget. In this post, I plan to give my tips and tricks on how to save money on flights.
1. DO YOUR RESEARCH
From my experience, I have realized that it’s cheaper to buy and fly on Tuesdays. When I was searching for tickets, I actually booked tickets on Tuesday evening and flew out Monday afternoon. As I live in San Diego, it’s actually cheaper to fly from LAX (most of the time) instead of the SD airport. It was approximately about $800 more expensive per ticket if we were to fly from San Diego, so we drove to LAX instead and saved about $2400.
When searching for cheap flights, it’s so important to check for flights on several websites. You can search for flights using Google Flights, Sky Scanner, or individual airline websites (Southwest, American, Delta, etc).
I typically fly with Southwest because they allow you to check in 2 bags for FREE, yes free. The fare is normally affordable, but at times, flying with American is $261 w/out checked bags and $321 w/ checked bags (nonstop flight). Whereas flying with Southwest is $408 w/ no extra fees, but it’s a connecting flight). In this case, I’d fly with American to save money on a direct flight. Below, I’ll share screenshots using Google Flights, the green prices are the cheapest options. You can also “track prices” via Google and “get price alerts” via Sky Scanner to get emails when the price drops.
Tip: Download the Hopper app onto your phone. Hopper watches billions of flight prices every day to predict the right time to book your flight.
2. BE FLEXIBLE
Say for example you want to spend 2 weeks abroad in Spain and Italy. You wanted to leave on a Monday morning and come back on Sunday morning so you don’t miss yet another day of work. Fare tickets seem to be more expensive for you to return home on Sunday, but your overall fare is cheaper if you return on Monday by a little over $450. Spend an extra day in a foreign country exploring and saving $450, that sounds like a double win to me! The busiest and most expensive days to travel are normally Friday and Sunday. Choose to fly out on Tuesday, Wednesday, or Saturday, although every once in a while, Sunday might be cheaper if its off peak season.
3. GET TRAVEL POINTS
I highly recommend that when traveling to a foreign country you bring some cash with you since some stores only allow cash. If you don’t have a credit card, now is the time to apply for one. Definitely get a credit card that doesn’t charge you a foreign transaction fee. With the Bank of America Travel Rewards card, we got 1.5 points for every dollar spent (Bank of America Travel Rewards card). The exchange rate applies, but we didn’t get charged the 3% foreign transaction fee for every swipe.
Bonus: Earn 20,000 bonus points if you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of your account opening, aka $200 credit toward travel purchases.
The best part about spending money is when you get something in return. I’m already going to buy my airfare and pay for my hotel accommodations, might as well get a reward for doing so. The best part about spending money is when you get something in return. I’m already going to pay for my airfare and my hotel accommodations, so might as well get a reward for doing so.
Tip: Don’t get credit card happy and remember to pay your balance in full. Try not to spend money that you don’t have 😉
4. BEAT THE BAGGAGE FEES
Read the fine lines before you book your trip whether it’s an international flight or you’re traveling within the USA. Many airlines charge $25 for the first checked bag and $35 for the second. However, international flights are a different story since there are so many airlines, it’s hard to keep up with the ever changing fees. Wear your heaviest items on the flight which shouldn’t be a problem because it was literally freezing on my flight from LAX to Rome. Last but not least, weigh your carry on and checked bags to ensure you’re within the set weight limit to avoid crazy fees at the airport.
I hope my tips and tricks were helpful to you. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to drop me a comment down below! Safe travels!