There’s a lot to see throughout the world. From ancient cities, natural wonders, and impressive structures, there are all sorts of things to be in awe of in every continent. And no matter what stage of life you’re in, you can probably benefit from a vacation of your dreams. However, many people forego international travel because they think it will be too expensive. The cost of airline tickets can seem daunting and make a trip abroad feel out of reach. But traveling to a different country is possible for most people … they just don’t know it. While flying internationally can sometimes be pricey, there are some tricks and tips that you can utilize to make it more affordable. Check out our list of suggestions for your next adventure abroad.
Pick the Right Place
If budget travel is your main objective, you might want to think twice before getting your heart set on a particular destination. While you may be able to save some money on airline flights to just about anywhere, you’ll be able to cut costs even more if you pick the right places to travel. You can often find low fares to places in Zanzibar, Thailand, Greece, Peru, the Dominican Republic, Croatia, Bangladesh, and many other “bucket list” destinations. You just need to know where to look and when to book. Speaking of which …
Pick the Right Season
Once you’ve decided on the exotic locale you’ll be visiting, you’ll need to decide when you want to take a vacation. Don’t be quick to choose the most obvious time; more than likely, that’ll be a convenient time for many other travelers too. If you know when the most popular season is, you’ll then be able to avoid it — which will save you money. Typically, the summer months and the winter holidays are pretty popular times to travel. See if you can manage to travel during a different time of year. This will be your best bet at finding cheap flights while still allowing you to travel to your first choice location.
If you can’t avoid the peak travel season altogether, then try to book tickets for the beginning or end of the season. For instance, if you’re traveling to Santorini in the Greek Islands, try and book tickets for late October, which is at the very end of the season. You can also find cheap air fares to Caribbean locales like Punta Cana during the fall. Of course, there’s a reason those hurricane-season flights are cheaper, but that’s what travel insurance is for!
Pick the Right Day
When you make your airline reservations, remember that it isn’t all about the general season. You may want to be a bit more flexible with the days of the week during which you’ll be traveling as well. Departing or returning on a weekend is bound to be more expensive than flying mid-week. If you can avoid flying on a Friday or Sunday and opt to fly on a Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday instead, you’ll be much more likely to find flight deals to your destination of choice.
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Pick the Right Hub
Whether you fly internationally or domestically, it may pay off to see how much you can save by flying into or out of a different airport. Of course, you’ll have to weigh those costs against how much it’d be to use another method of transportation to get to that hub or to your final destination. But you might be surprised by just how much you could save by considering a less-convenient airport.
Book at the Right Time
There’s a lot of debate over when the best time to actually sit down at the computer and book your flights. When you’re flying internationally, you typically need to give yourself more time to nab those cheap flights. Although you may occasionally find a deal last-minute, that may not be a risk that will pay off. Aim to book your flight deals four to six months in advance to ensure both the best price and the best availability. If you wait too long, you may find you’ll end up paying much more than you wanted for a flight time that’s really undesirable.
Mix and Match Airlines
It’s fairly easy to save money on international airfare by mixing and matching airlines. You don’t have to book a round trip ticket to and from your destination. To figure out what the cheapest option for your trip is, you will first need to price out any round trip tickets you would book. Then, mix and match one way tickets with different airlines. You might find that two one way tickets are a lot cheaper than a round trip ticket. If you are flying to a destination that requires a transfer, you may be able to save a lot of money by booking a one way ticket for each leg of your trip. Just make sure that you don’t book your arrivals and departures too close together. If you do, you might miss your next flight and might lose a significant amount of money.
Add a Long Layover
You can save a lot in airfare by booking a long layover. Many travelers shy away from this because they want to get to their destination as quickly as possible. However, long layovers are a great way to save some money on international travel AND even visit another destination. In order to not be inconvenienced by it, you need to do it the right way. Make sure that you can easily get to and from the airport where you’re doing the layover. You don’t want to be stuck at the airport for hours because of lack of transportation. You should be able to explore a city but make it back to the airport before your next flight without a lot of hassle. Being able to get out of the airport and explore the surrounding area will allow you to pass the time a lot quicker.
Get a Travel Rewards Credit Card
By utilizing a travel rewards credit card, you may be able to save on international travel in a couple of different ways. You can earn points for everyday purchases like gasoline and groceries. You can use these points for travel-related expenses. Certain cards will also offer you a discount or upgrades on international travel as long as you use these specific cards to book your travel plans. This is an easy way to save money on international flights without really having to go out of your way to do so. If you use your card enough, you may be able to fly for free over time. Just make sure that you pay off your card in full every month so that you aren’t paying interest on your purchases.
Book a Red-Eye Flight
Most travelers avoid flying late at night because they don’t want to have to deal with sleeping on an airplane. However, you can use this to your advantage. Many airlines will offer cheaper rates for those late night flights. They want to try to fill as many empty seats as they can. This can allow you to save quite a bit of money. Don’t worry about it throwing off your sleep schedule; if you’re flying internationally, you’re bound to deal with jet-lag and different time zones regardless of when you fly. Another perk to those red-eye flights is less flight delays. This is because there’s less air traffic at night. For travelers that are looking to save a buck, a red-eye flight might be the perfect solution.
Avoid Add-On/Extra Fees
It’s not uncommon for airlines to offer super low rates only to tack on huge fees for add-on items. But if you plan ahead, you can avoid them and not pay any more than the original low price of your airline ticket. One fee that all travelers can avoid is for an advance seat assignment. If you let the airline pick a seat for you, they won’t charge you for it. If you’re able to travel light and pack everything you need in your carry-on, you can avoid baggage fees. You can also sometimes prevent extra costs if you print your boarding pass at home or at your hotel. Don’t forget to bring your own snacks so you don’t have to pay up for the high-priced food on the airplane and at the airport. While you can’t bring bottled water from home, you can pack an empty water bottle. Once you get through security, you can fill it up at the nearest water fountain. It’s always a good idea to do your research on the airline your flying with to see what other add-ons and extras you can sidestep by being flexible.
Have your own tips and tricks for flying internationally on the cheap? Let us know in the comments section below!