2018 was a great year for travel. I got the opportunity to travel to over 5 countries and 8 states and managed not to break the bank. I actually did most of this traveling while I was a full-time student and working part-time.
Below are 7 ways I was able to find cheap flights.
(1) Fly out of nearby airports
I live in Detroit so to minimize the cost of my trip to London; I actually drove to Chicago O’Hare airport from Detroit and then flew a Norwegian airline flight from there to London Gatwick airport. The flight from Chicago to London Gatwick cost me a total of $250. Whereas from Detroit it would have been over $400. Honestly, you can probably get it for a lot cheaper from Chicago or other major airports, but we went in the summer, a time with lots of traffic to Europe.
(2) Fly with a budget airline
I know airlines like Frontier and Spirit are usually the bud of all the airline jokes in the U.S., but budget airlines really do save you a lot of money. This summer I discovered that there were so many of them around the world. I have compiled a list of budget airlines around the world, so planning your next trip can be easy.
(3) Fly into a city near your destination
Recently, I wanted to go to Miami to board a cruise for my birthday. Due to my busy schedule, I could not buy my ticket till the week of the trip and this was in December, so flights are generally a lot more expensive around this time. I went to the Spirit counter** to buy a flight from Detroit to Miami and they said the flight would be $350.
I literally laughed at paying that much for a spirit flight. But I knew if Spirit was that expensive then every other airline had to be a lot more expensive. I stepped aside and went on google flights and used their tool that helps you look for airports that are close by your desired location.
I found a ticket from Detroit to Fort Myers, Florida for $80 online and when I bought it at the counter the ticket ended up being $50. When I arrived in Fort Myers, I rented a car for $100 for 4 days and drove the car down to Miami. This car also helped me avoid having to pay for Lyfts, Ubers and Taxi while I was in Miami. In total, I ended up paying $150 to get to my desired destinations which was way cheaper than the $350 on flights and countless other dollars on Lyfts I would have spent.
**Bonus Tip: Buy your Spirit tickets at the Spirit Airport counter they are WAYYYYYY CHEAPER. Trust me!
(4) Be flexible with travel dates
The best days of the week to fly are usually Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Then if you cannot travel on these days, Thursdays and Saturdays also have cheap fares. For many locations, Summer travel is extremely expensive so if you do want to travel in the summer try going early in May before US holidays of Labor Day, Memorial Day and Fourth of July or wait till much later in September. Traveling around any major holiday will cost you a lot. So, if you can, avoid traveling around major holidays like Christmas.
(5) Use travel websites and compare prices
There are many travel websites out there that you can use to compare airline prices. Utilize as many of them as you can to compare different deals. Below is a list of a few of them that have been useful for me in the past.
(6) Ditch the Bags
Honestly, you do not need all of those bags. With some airlines, especially budget airlines bags are usually paid for separately. But depending on which airline you take, a personal item or a carry-on luggage is free. I had to learn this the hard way, as I was dragging two big bags through rocks in the middle of the countryside in Lynge, Denmark and I encountered a herd of cows.
I wanted to run and just forget my bags at this point, but my boyfriend would not let me. He kept reminding me that if I ran, they would only chase after me, so I just kept dragging my suitcases through a path of hundreds of rocks that led to our Airbnb. Luckily the cows remained calm and I was able to make it to my Air BNB safely. But I say all of this just to say, honey, you do not need all of those clothes.
(7) Use incognito on your internet browser
One thing I have noticed is the more I search for flights to a particular location on my internet browser, the higher the prices go up. Make sure to search for flights in Incognito or private mode on your browser.
The browser resets your cookies every time you open a new incognito window, so you start fresh and it won’t keep jacking up the price each time you search.
Here is how get to incognito mode on each browser:
Google Chrome: Command (Mac) or Control (PC) + Shift + N
Safari: Command (Mac) or Control (PC) + Shift + N
Internet Explorer: Command (Mac) or Control (PC) + Shift + P
Firefox: Command or Control + Shift + P
Honorable Mentions: Credit Card Points
I included this as a bonus because not everyone has the opportunity to get a credit card to rack up points. But if you are fortunate enough to get approved for a rewards credit card, they are definitely worth it. One of my credit cards has helped me get free hotel stays and free flights for many of my trips.
Bisi is a data engineer by day and freelance writer and travel blogger by night. She enjoys exploring the world on a budget. She hopes to visit every country in the world especially all 54 African countries. She is happiest when she is traveling and eating well-seasoned food. You can find her on Instagram @olubisi_ , Twitter @Smiley_Bisi , or her blog!