Tips from a Novice Traveler: Booking flights
I love to travel. I have probably said it at least 3 thousand times on my blog. Well maybe that’s a slight exaggeration but you get the point. Although I love to travel, I love to get a good deal even more. Here are some things that I have discovered from my experience in booking flights. Some of this info may be common knowledge ( I may just be late to the party) or it may be that I am a little more creative when it comes to saving money. You can be the judge of that. Either way it is my hope that you can apply some of these tips the next time you book that fabulous vacation.
Tip #1. You don’t have to be loyal to just one airline. It’s ok to fly with different carriers. I have friends and family members who have told me that they only fly with Delta or they only fly with American Airlines. I can tell guarantee that you are not getting the best possible deal by neglecting to shop around. Most people try to stick with one airline in order to accumulate points/miles towards a free flight. I believe that loyalty programs are geared more toward frequent travelers. If you only take a family/ personal vacation once or twice a year then it take forever to reach the 50,000 miles necessary to earn a free flight. In this instance, saving money should be way more important.
Tip #2 Sometimes booking multiple one way flights with different carriers can sometimes be way cheaper than booking round trip or multi-city flights on one carrier. I discovered this while booking flights for our last couple of vacations. As a matter of fact my husband and I take a birthday trip every year in May. This year we decided to take a 9 day trip to 3 different cities. This meant that we would have to take a total of 4 flights which could be quite pricey! I set a budget to try to get our flights booked for less than $500 per person including all taxes and fees (total $1000 budget for transportation). I will have to be honest, it takes some patience and a great deal of time but it can be done. I am going to show you my process.
SO first I check for airports all the cities that we want to visit. Our selections were Charlotte, NC, Washington, DC, and New York City.
Tip #3 Search for airports in close proximity to cities you visit as well. Sometimes those airports are a little cheaper to travel to/from than the actual airport for the city.
Then I checked prices for multi city and round trip flights to all cities (remembering to also review prices for other airports nearby).
The results were not very favorable.
Delta wanted a whopping $1400 (2 traveler cost) for our trip. That was $400 over my budget. So on to the next carrier.
US Airways wanted nearly $1700(2 Travelers) for our flight. They are crazy! That was $700 over my budget. My advice to
US Airways were :in the words of
Beyonce “don’t you ever for a second get to thinking you’re irreplaceable”
because clearly you are. Next…
Then good ole’ AA gave me a glimpse of hope but alas they were still $300 over my budget. I tried JetBlue/ Southwest as well but they didn’t have flights to all the cities I was visiting so that was a bust. But I had a plan. I would check prices of these flights individually. Yes ladies and gentlemen, I checked price of a one way flight to every city on every airline and at every nearby airport. You are probably thinking you could have just utilized Expedia or some other airline search engine to gather that info. What I have found is that sometimes those tools don’t have the most up to date flight info so I prefer to look at each airlines website myself. And do you know what happened? I got some amazing deals!
We only have to take one connecting flight for this entire trip. Not too bad in my opinion!
I ended up choosing to fly from Greenville SC instead of Charlotte NC because the flight was way cheaper ($96 pp) and it was a direct flight. It was actually closer to my family’s home anyway. (15 min vs 1 hr 15 min= win win)
This was the best deal I found. I have NEVER taken a flight for less than $100 dollars and I found 2 for this trip. Seriously though $76- thats an amazing deal! Not to toot my own horn but in the words of Tamar Braxton “she did that!”
So if you are a math wiz you have probably figured out by now that I stayed on budget -actually I came in well under my $1000 budget. I spent $886 (443 per person) to be exact!
*jumps for joy then takes a bow* I get very excited about keeping my hard earned money in the bank. I really don’t mind the fact that I am flying with different airlines for each flight as long as I get there safely.
So lets determine how much I saved by choosing one way flights vs multi city/ round trip flights.
Delta price: $1400 Price I paid: $886 Total savings: $514
US Airways price: $1655 Price I paid: $886 Total savings: $769
American Airlines price: $ 1308.80 Price I paid: $886 Total savings: $422.80
Do you know what we can do with all the money I saved by doing price comparisons? Heck anything we want to make our vacation even more fun 🙂 Maybe we will do one of those segway tours instead of a walking tour in DC. Or maybe we can go to a fancy dinner somewhere in NYC or catch a broadway show. The possibilities are endless.
Tip #4 I have noticed that midday flights, flights on Tuesdays and Saturdays are somewhat less expensive than other times of the day/ week. If you can start that weekend trip on Saturday and return on Tuesday, you may get a better deal than choosing the Friday- Monday option.
So there you have it my friends-the top tips for booking flights from a novice traveler.
Do you have any tips about booking flights? Please feel free to share down below!
Until next post,