As the known Aries that I am, the infatuation with exploring and traveling has always been stronger than my surroundings can handle. At a young age of eight-years-old I was traveling to Colombia alone. I wanted nothing more than to be running the streets of my foreign motherland country with my cousins, seeking an entirely different world than the one I was accustomed to.
I often think that was the initial lighting of my fire-cracker like obsession to traveling. Fast-forward 14 years or so, I have been privileged enough to travel to 12 foreign countries and 19 states (USA). With more than 65% of them being self-funded.
Now, the question and answer you have all been reading thus far for,
“How in the hell can you afford to pay your entire tuition, rent, living expenses, AND find time and money to travel the world?”
*Cueing my inner Justin Bieber* First, I just want to say thank you so much, not only to God, but Jesus. Ha, okay okay. I’ll leave the 2011 jokes for another day.
Here are a few of my secrets and tricks on how I travel affordably:
Learn to be Flexible + Patient
The biggest mistake I notice many people do when planning a vacation or holiday is their views on how to book their flights. It’s often time perceived as a black and white matter, the dates are picked ahead of time with no regards to flight prices.
Airline prices are based on many things, day of the week you fly out, seasons, as well as national holidays such as Mothers/Fathers Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, NYE. If you’re looking to leave the day before Christmas and come back the day after New Years be prepared to spend top dollar for your flights, but if you’re willing to move around your days, your chances of a cheap flight is definitely obtainable.
Much research and statistics have shown that it’s cheaper to fly out in the middle of the week than it is to fly out on the weekend. Flying out early, at the crack of dawn has also shown to be cheaper early bird gets the worm! You can save from $1 to $1,000 in just the difference of ONE DAY.
If you can afford losing an hour or two on your way there to save a couple hundred dollars on your trip than look into flying indirectly! On my trip to London I found a round trip flight for $700, with a layover of an hour in Spain. The direct flight was averaging to $1,000, saving me roughly $300!
Some airlines will already have it packaged together, but sadly others will not. In that case, look up the average cost to flying into your goal destination. Then look up the countries or airports near you goal destinations for pricing differences. If the difference is more than a couple hundred dollars, look to see how much it would cost from that country/airport to your final goal destination.
Check Other Airports
I currently reside in Miami, FL, my family lives in Palm Beach, FL and my Boyfriend lives in Fort Lauderdale, FL. All 10-15 minutes from major South Florida Airports (MIA + PBI + FLL) giving me the easy option to fly out of any of these major airports. If there is more than one airport near your area or near your final destination look into the price differences into flying out of a smaller or bigger airport.
CAUTION: Make sure before booking your flight you know exact where the airport is located in regards to distance, from your destination.
Book One Ways
Often times its cheaper to book flights one way with one airline and book your flight back home with another airline. On one of my many trips to New York City the round trip with Delta was $438, when I looked for a one way with Delta I found a ticket for $101 and a one way with JetBlue to flight back home for $98. Costing me a total of $199 and saving me a total of $239!
Signing Up for Frequent Flyer Programs
Before I was a serious Traveler I would book flights under “guest” on major airlines like Jetblue and American Airlines because I was lazy and didn’t want to make an account that at the time I didn’t think would benefit me in the long run. Truth is, signing up for Frequent Flyer programs is actually a great way to earn free points towards cheaper fares, often times upgrades and even free round trips (minus taxes and fees)- not to mention it’s completely free to sign up, so what is there to lose? The good thing is that most airlines accrue by miles, so even if you only travel twice a year for holidays, you’re still adding points to your over all balance that one day might get you a free a trip, as I like to say, a longterm investment!
Now, the most important secret and trick for my indecisive readers!
Delete your cookies and history
If you’re a booking-flights gambler like me, who thinks they can find cheaper flight than the last airline/search engine, DELETE YOUR COOKIES AND HISTORY as soon as you leave the site. Many websites will accumulate your search data and raise the prices of the precise flight you were originally contemplating on booking. They do this in hopes that when you come back a second time when you’ve already decided “yes, i’m ready to book” you still feel inclined to purchase it despite the pricing going up. sneaky bastards!
So there you have it, just a few of my tips and secrets on how to book an affordable flight to even the most expensive places on earth! Traveling doesn’t have to be expensive, but like anything in life: it won’t just land in your lap – you gotta work for it!
Stay tuned, next week I will be discussing the search engines I use to book these flights and how to personally use some of my favorites!