Cheap International Airfare
Chapter 3 : How I Saved $1,000
I am always looking for the cheapest way to do things. Naturally,
when I planned to go to Ecuador, I searched several web sites
that claimed to have cheap international airfare. The cheapest
from Traverse City, Michigan to Quito, Ecuador, was $1720.
Out of curiosity, I checked Miami to Quito, and it was only
$404. Airfare from Traverse City to Miami was $299. Book two
separate flights and I could save more than $1000! The discount
sites aren't set up to check in this way, so you have to do this
on your own.
Of course, if your first flight is late and you miss the second,
you may not get a refund, so plan some time between flights.
In any case, it's still cheaper (every time I checked) to just
book a flight to Miami and catch a flight to Quito without a
reservation, thus avoiding this problem. This strategy is for
those in towns without international airports. If you live in
Miami, you already have cheap international airfare.
Buy Cheap Airfare Online
We've found that travel agencies just can't compete with the
discount ticket web sites. You can search Google ("cheap
airfare Europe", for example), or go straight to one of
the well-known sites, like Expedia, Travelocity, Cheap Tickets,
Hotwire or Priceline.
Doing a quick search for the cheapest airfare from Tucson,
Arizona, to Buenos Aires, Argentina, using the five sites mentioned,
here's what I just found: They ranged from $3728 down to $873.
That is quite a range for essentially the same thing.
Hotwire happened to be the cheapest, but they were the worst
of the five when I searched for a domestic flight earlier. You
cannot say which service will find the cheapest international
airfare from week to week. Because of this, my number one money-saving
tip is to check several web sites when shopping for flights.
More Tips For Cheap International Airfare
When searching the discount web sites, try several different
departure and return dates if you can. The difference of a day
or two can save you a lot. There's little logic to airfare pricing,
so don't try too hard to figure it out. Just be aware that if
you leave on Friday instead of Wednesday (or vice-versa), you
may save $100.
Check the boxes that say "any time" for departure
and "2 or more connecting flights". Even if you aren't
sure that you want to leave at midnight, see what your options
are. The savings might change your mind. When search criteria
allow you choices, first take the ones that are the least restrictive
for the airlines. If the savings aren't enough, you can always
book first class, direct flights, or whatever you prefer.
Buying your plane tickets two weeks in advance is usually
cheaper. There can be a dramatic difference (but not always)
if your trip is over thirty days. You may want to cut it from
32 days to 30 to save hundreds of dollars on your fare. Play
with the dates. You never know what you might discover.
Spend a few minutes or an hour to do some research, if you
want really cheap international airfare.
When you're traveling, ask the traveler for advice, not
someone whose lameness keeps him in one place. - Rumi
Continue with Chapter 4 here: Travel
as an Air Courier
Note: This chapter on cheap international airfare was
part of the e-book Travel Secrets. Now all chapters are
free on this site. See the homepage (the link is at the bottom
of this page) for a list of all chapters and links to them.