1) Use your layovers to your advantage!
This is one of my favorite hacks. Many of the countries I’ve traveled to, I’ve done so for little or no extra cost by extending the layover in a connecting country! This way you can visit two countries in one trip for the price of one flight.
Dubai via Paris
When I went to Dubai the layover was in Paris. When selecting the search options, I chose a multi-city flight search. I was then able to extend my layover on the return flight for 5 days and spent those days in Paris for the same ticket price!
If you are trying to save money with these flights the best way to compare is by searching a round trip flight, seeing where the most popular layover is, and then deciding if that is a place you want to visit.
Change your search to multi-city. This takes out the guesswork of figuring out where the flights stop at no cost.
When adjusting to multi-city, change the dates to extend out a few days so you can see a new county during your layover. 😉
Sao Paulo via Colombia
I recently booked a flight to Sao Paulo Brazil from Cancun Mexico, and the stop was in Bogota Colombia. I’ve always wanted to go to Colombia so I extended my layover to stay for 4 days. To do this my ticket to Columbia was only $11 dollars more, so, technically I’m going to Colombia for $11.
How could I say no to that?!
Enjoy, get out and explore every layover : )
Gaming your search
The following tips and techniques can be used alone or combined to save huge on your next trip!
2) Travel to places during low season
I’m always looking for a deal online. I start my search with my top bucket list destinations and work down the list until I see the cheapest destination. Since my bucket list is unending, I always can find somewhere to check off it!
Another great hack is using flight alerts such as airfarewatchdog.com or similar sites to give you alerts when prices drop. When they do, just click, book, and don’t think about it twice.
It can sometimes be cheaper to book each flight on your trip one way trip instead of round-trip. Make sure you set your alerts for both. Lastly, if your dates are flexible you are golden as you can choose the cheapest date for return.
3) Use a new browser or clear your site cookies when doing searches.
Price changes depending on what browser you are using and your location. Travel sites track your searches with cookies, little data bookmarks they leave on your browser so they know when you return to their site.
Often, when you see a price on a site, your first instinct is to shop around. Travel sites know this. They also know if you come back to their site, you probably could not find a better deal. To reward you for all that work, they raise the prices on you because they know you don't have any better options. How do they know you are you? Cookies. By deleting these, when you return to the site with the best deals, they will think you are new to the site and give you the lowest prices available.
Timing is key
When booking hotels and flights I usually book 8 weeks in advance for the best deals. Unless you are trying to find something very specific, beyond 8 weeks is usually more expensive because airlines don't start dropping prices until closer to the actual flight date. Clearly, waiting too long to buy is also risky because as flights sell out the prices go up dramatically.
For the spontaneous heart ❤️✈️
Speaking of last minute, I have found some amazing deals in the morning for a flight that same night. This is a great option if you are being spontaneous, you are flexible, and don’t have a specific destination in mind. Afternoons are also better than mornings to book flights as most business travelers’ book most of their flights in the morning.
4) Always compare travel site prices to actual airline and hotel websites
Travel sites are not always the cheapest, best way to go. In fact, if you are trying to travel off the beaten path those sites often don’t work at all. I always start with blogs related to where I’m going to get the inside scoop for where to look for deals. This, along with a nice google search, lets me compare prices from the big travel sites like Expedia (which is my favorite travel site) and other major travel sites. I have been able to save a ton of money using this strategy, especially with accommodations.
5) Use miles and perks from credit cards
Now this is a must if you are a traveler, use your credit card to earn miles and make sure to pay it in full each month so you don’t pay interest. I love my AMEX Platinum, it gives me full access to a ton of lounges, cash back on certain purchases and points for an annual fee of $695.
I know it sounds like a lot but when you travel as much as we do, and you get to eat and drink for free at every lounge, it saves you a ton of money.
I also have an AMEX Delta SkyMiles card, and I’ve used the points I’ve earned with it to travel first class several times for free! For the $250 annual fee this card also allows me to use all the Delta lounges.
I used to love this card until I got my Platinum upgrade that gave me a ton of more access. Unfortunately, I now barely use it, but sometimes you have to start with this card for AMEX to bump you up to the Platinum. Either way if you are using a credit card to purchase your travel tickets and accommodation capitalize on those miles.
Buy a travel credit card for a specific airline if you are using them more than 70% of the time
Dre uses the Jetblue credit card to rack up a ton of free flight between Boston and Phoenix. Realizing that to be bicoastal, he’d have to be smart and strategize his travel, he went with the credit card and carrier that had the most flights between the two cities. He also does a fair amount of travel to Florida, to which Jetblue also has a ton of flights.
How to best utilize an Airline Credit Card:
Get the credit card application ON a flight with that carrier
If you ever pay attention, most airlines will offer you their BEST deal for their credit card on their flights, usually about 40 min before your flight lands.
At the time, JetBlue offered 60,000 bonus miles, about 4 free flights
Drive all your spending through that credit card (for like 3 months)
Cards offer 10,000s of bonus points if you can spend a certain amount in the 1st few months that you have it.
Using this strategy, Dre earns 1 (expensive flight) to 2 (inexpensive flights) every other month!
Bonus, GET STATUS. Dre gained Jetblue Mosaic status without meeting the requirements (spend $50,000 in one year 🤯). Why? Airlines profile high frequency travelers and give status to those who have not earned it yet if they are traveling at the frequency of those who have earned it. Dre now gets preferential treatment for all those flights like first to board, getting additional carry-on and checked bags for free, and free drinks on flights.
Super-secret tip, when Dre sees a super long line at the ticketing desk, all he has to do is casually mention he’s Mosaic, and the next available agent will help him, skipping the line.
I hope that with these tips you can conquer more on your Bucket List of places to travel!
Our Dope Life Continues.
Flight alerts from airfarewatchdog.com