My Journeys have taken me to over 20 countries and counting, plus the majority of the states in the USA. Along the way I have had the opportunity to learn many different ways to score great deals on a variety of travel expenses and I am excited to share them with you!
Where To Begin?
With so many different aspects of travel to take into consideration, we’re going to focus on one at a time to make sure you have as much information as you can to help make the best possible Journey for you or anyone else you are planning for. JourneysofJim is not the “be all, end all” of travel tips and tricks out there but I know I can help save you money, time, and “brain damage” along the way. So, let’s get started!
Typically, flights and accommodations tend to be your biggest ticket items for travel. But – they don’t have to be the biggest expense. Wouldn’t it be grand to save some money on those areas so you could have a bit more to enjoy some special meals, excursions or those special mementos of your Journey?
In this post, I will take a look at how to go about some of the ways to get the best flights for your next trip.
Obviously airlines are in the business to make money – especially with the proliferation over the past few years of charging fees for everything from choosing a seat, to a cup of tea. That doesn’t mean we can’t work with the system to find some great deals though. Sometimes it really just depends on how, when, and with whom you book to get the best deal. Let’s take a look at some ways to get the best airfares for your Journey. If you sign up for my newsletter, you’ll get my Top 10 List for Airfares, along with many other ways to make the most of your next Journey!
- Maybe you’re a frequent flyer on a given airline? Maybe you just like the way “x” airline treats you? There are a LOT of different choices out there with all kinds of carriers. Don’t assume that any given one is going to be the best.
- When you’re looking for the best deal, check around. I am not a huge fan of the really budget carriers with absolutely no frills. That’s not really my style but it is a way to save money if that is the driving factor.
- Never forget to review your frequent flyer (FF) miles for what you might have accumulated with any given carrier. They can save you $$$ on a ticket or allow you the lovely opportunity for an upgrade as well. Especially if you’re flying at an off-peak time!
- Also; never fly an airline without signing up for their FF program, even if you think it will be a total one-off. Airlines merge or are part of Alliances and those miles can mean the difference between a nice seat or sitting in the middle seat at the back of the plane.
- If you do pick a lower cost carrier, don’t forget to review all the fees involved in your ticket. Perhaps the ticket is $100 cheaper than “x” carrier, but remember if you’re checking a bag – there might be (most likely will be) a fee, or if you want to pick your seat ahead of time – there will be a good chance of a fee. Fees have made the airlines many millions of dollars in the past decade and I don’t see that going away anytime soon.
Sometimes it is Good Not to be so Direct
- While I would often prefer to go direct to my destination, there can be a fair bit of savings in not doing so. Direct means you often avoid some of the potential delays surrounding connections. I get it. But, depending on your itinerary, a layover can be a brilliant thing! I have spent the last two layovers in the states while returning from international travels visiting with my son at the airport on the east coast, since we don’t get to see him very often. How can you beat that?! Time is precious in many ways but it can allow for many special memories along the way too. Never forget that the Journey is more than the sum of the means.
- So if you think about where you want to go…perhaps Edinburgh? The most likely way is either to fly to Edinburgh or London, right? How about Manchester and take a short hop or even a lovely east coast train to Edinburgh? They have a nice first class on the trains too. :o) Don’t forget – the idea is to have some $$$ to be able to do what you want once you get there as well. Using layovers and connections can save you a lot of money!
- I am a HUGE fan of flying well and getting there rested, relaxed and ready for my next Journey. I am also a big fan of finding new and different ways to see things and enjoy the travel!
- Not traveling direct does add complexity to the agenda. You have to decide what really works for you. Either way, know that you have options and even if it’s for dealing with challenges surrounding delays or the like, it’s good to know about them and be prepared should you need or want to avail yourself of it.
Where to Go?
- Perhaps it is the middle of February and all you want to do is get away to somewhere warm? Or you want to escape the humidity of Houston in June for some cool, fresh air? Maybe the location isn’t as important as the “ideal” of what you’re looking for? While Mexico’s beaches might be pricey at a given time, the Virgin Islands might be a better deal with the same warm, lovely result.
- Typically, if you can be flexible with your destination there is always a deal out there for something that will match your ideal.
- Have you ever tried Momondo? e.g. You can say when you want to Depart out of Denver. What about your destination? How about typing in Anywhere? It will list out myriad destinations and prices associated with them and then you choose the warm spot or the fresh air locale you want. Spain might come up cheaper than Mexico from Denver?? Give yourself a little opportunity to ponder something different from what you might have been thinking.
Which Travel Site/App do you Use?
- I just mentioned Momondo. There are many, many sites out there that can help you with your searches. I rarely use just one! I love Google Flights, Skyscanner, Airfarewatchdog, and ITA Matrix. Not just one is the be all, end all for your flights.
- Check out some of the apps. I like Hopper for its predictive algorithm that helps determine if the flight you’re thinking about is a good price vs. past prices, if fares are likely to go up or down, etc. All with the caveat that “stuff happens” and nothing is definitive in the world of travel.
Weigh Your Alternatives
- Don’t forget to look at alternative airports. Flying out of an alternative airport can save you hundreds of dollars sometimes and often they can be much easier and closer than the larger hubs. Think about Colorado Springs vs. Denver or San Jose vs. San Francisco or Oakland. I have flown in & out of both many, many times and you often get much better deals. As well, the car rentals can be cheaper if you’re in need of a car from those locations also.
There are a lot of different ways to approach airfares. Always remember that if you find a good fare and it works for your budget, often it is best to book it. Second guessing what airlines will do at any given moment is impossible.
I hope that the tips help you on your Journey and enable you to save some money. I am always excited to hear from folks on what works (or didn’t work) for them or if you have other ideas to pass along. Enjoy the Journey!
P.S. If you want to get all of my tips on scoring the best airfares, as well as LOTS of other great tips, please sign up for my newsletter below!
P.P.S. I want to make sure you are aware that some of the links above are affiliate links. If you use them, I will get a commission from them, at no additional charge to you. I only work with companies that I have used and believe in for what they have done for me! It helps support this website, while also supporting the brilliant companies, and giving you some excellent resources for saving some money and getting a great deal. As always, if you should have questions about a company I work with, I am more than happy to answer any questions.