Guest Blog Post: Budget International Travel, Finding cheap tickets
For as long as I can remember, I wanted to see the world. Growing up poor, it didn’t seem like an option. At the age of 25, I’m tired of talking about how I want to travel and now I am focusing on actually doing something about it. For those of you who think you can’t afford to travel, hopefully this post helps you. I am going to Amsterdam, The Netherlands, Belgium and Paris,France with a good friend of mines from May 7th to May 12th. I want to share with you guys how I found my ticket for less than $400, $380 to be exact. Ok! Let’s get into it!
Tip # 1: Skyscanner App
Skyscanner, Skyscanner, Skyscanner!!! Oh did I mention Skyscanner? I am so happy I found this app. When you type in cheap plane tickets into google you get all types of flight search engine sites trying to find you the best deal but they are still so expensive! It took me forever to find out about Skyscanner and I want to share it with you. So, Skyscanner is a mobile app that has cheap prices for flights, hotels and car rentals.
When you search for ticket dates, Skyscanner shows you through red,green and yellow dots when is the best time to fly for the cheapest price. The first time I used the app, my round trip ticket was $720 and then $718 and eventually $380!. The pictures shown are screen shots for when I first researched ticket prices.I wanted to see if this price was actually the cheapest it can get and it was. Similar flights started around $1200 round trip. Skyscanner was already saving me $500, and now, more than $800!!! There were no hidden fees! Read the fine print though, if you are carrying extra bags then their might be extra fees for that.
You can watch the price of your ticket by “staring” the flight you want if you can’t purchase right away. Every time the price drops or goes up (which thankfully hasn’t happen yet) I know!
You can make sure you are getting the best price! It will show you flights from different air carriers across different 3rd party sites. If for some reason you do find something cheaper after you book your flight, you can do a free cancellation after 24 hours.
Tip # 2: Hopper App
I have not used this app with my first research of my ticket but I started using it for other trips and I am in love! This app actually gives you close to accurate predictions of when tickets will go up and down and gives you not only the day they will fluctuate but it gives a prediction to the exact price! This will be very useful for budgeting! This app will give me a head start on all my other trips I have planned because I can plan my paychecks around the dates it is best to by my tickets. I know that with this app, I am guaranteed the best deal!
Tip # 3: Kayak.com or the kayak app!
When choosing my tickets for my vacation on May, I went through both Kayak and Skyscanner. These two butted heads a lot! One would always be cheaper than the other or sometimes at the same price! Kayak offers many of the same tools Sky scanner uses but, I did notice that purchasing through kayak you will notice that the price of the ticket it gives you has hidden fees. So basically, if a ticket says it is $400, once you click on the link, it may really be $416 with taxes. It isn't a real big difference or deal, but I like the fact that skyscanner told you the exact price you would pay and it seems like through their third party connection, taxes were cheaper! When I bought my ticket at $380, kayak was offering the same ticket at $410. So that's a $30 difference! It may not seem like a lot but hey, you know what I could buy with $30?! Haha!
Be flexible on dates, don’t be too picky
For me, this part was easy. I didn’t care what time of the year I wanted to go to Amsterdam, I just wanted to go when it was the cheapest. I decided to pick May, since the weather is amazing there during that time and it had the cheapest price points (Skyscanner tells you what months and days are cheaper).
Buy early! If you are flying international it is best to buy your ticket at minimum 6 months ahead of time for the best prices. (That’s why I am purchasing in November!)
If you have air miles, use them! I do not have any air miles and I don’t own nor want a credit card to earn some. I use the website emiles.com to earn air miles by just taking some surveys. You can cash it in for miles or gift card s! So far I have 700 miles. It’s not much but it’s better than nothing!
If you end up browsing plane tickets in your search browser, do it on incognito! It has been confirmed that ticket prices increase once you begin to search for it a lot. You will even see pop up ads based on you search on most websites you visit. Skyscanner does not give you this headache!
Choosing Air carriers
Another thing to take in to consideration is what air carrier you want to fly.To be honest, some air carriers are way more expensive than the others. If you want to travel in luxury, be my guest but expect to pay more. As for me, I didn’t care. As long as one flight got me to point A to point B, I am happy. The flight carrier I ended up choosing was British Airways. When picking an air carrier, visit their site. Get to the know the company a little more and even read reviews from other flyers. Read their baggage fees and lunch and dinner options as well.
Arrival and Departure Airports
This one makes a huge different. We all live in towns or bigger cities that have a couple of airports within 30 mins to 2 hours a drive. Shop around! When you find out what dates are the cheapest, see if you can change up your arrival and departure airports for a better deal! Sometimes, a 2 hour drive is worth saving $300 extra on an airplane ticket. Also, keep a look out on connecting flights. Sometimes cheaper flights have more connections. If you aren’t in a rush to get anywhere, you could save more money with a 4 hour layover in Iceland, haha!
Thank you for having me guest blog...also, For your readers!