If only traveling was free is a thought that has wandered through many a backpacker’s minds at certain times. And with good reason.
Traveling even if it’s in the form of backpacking has certain expenses that are unavoidable and the cost of the ticket to your destination is often the biggest. This drain on your finances, however, can be reduced with some prior planning, sensible thinking and the tips and tricks below.
1. Book your tickets in advance
This is no brainer but a lot of the travelers we have encountered booked their tickets rather close to their date of departure, thereby paying more. We recommend booking your flight tickets around 6-8 weeks in advance to escape the price hikes and surcharges you need not pay.
2. Travel in the offseason
Another tip is to travel when everybody else does not. Do however be careful not to overdo this as tourist attractions in some regions of the world close for the offseason.
Remember, failing to plan is planning to fail!
3. Operate in secret
4. Use flight search engines
If you use Google for your searches why won’t you do the same for your flights? Flight search engines we have found are incredibly useful as they give you a holistic view of the costs involved, allowing you to make decisions faster.
We have however noticed that some airlines publish special fares on the web site.
5. Use budget airlines
This goes without saying but there are many budget airlines across Europe and Asia that you can use to travel at a fraction of the cost of a fully-fledged airline. Do however remember that such airlines are very stringent on extra luggage, the printing of the boarding pass and more.
6. Be flexible
Be flexible with your destinations, the dates, departure times and the airports in which you land in. All these factors are important towards the cost of your ticket and being flexible with these is bound to give you a better chance at cheaper tickets.
7. Take advantage of flash sales
Airlines when not carrying passengers to its full capacity release flash sale tickets that are a fraction of what you would have paid had you booked earlier. We recommend following social media channels that build awareness around such sales and subscribing to email newsletters from airlines to take advantage of such opportunities.
8. Take advantage of student discounts
If you are under 26 there is a good chance that you can avail yourself of student discounts. Keep an eye out for the fine print to see if you are eligible.
9. Book one-way flights and consider other options for the return
Some return flights with the same airline at times is morbidly expensive. A workaround this is to find another cheaper flight from your returning destination on another airline.
10. Join a frequent flyer program
Frequent flyer programs allow you to rack up free miles on your trips, allowing you to redeem them on trips at a later date.
11. Be social
There are many forums and groups on Facebook dedicated to sharing great flight deals. We recommend doing some digging online to find these. You won’t regret it!
12. Be sure to read the fine print
There are some websites and airlines that offer deals that seem too good to be true. In such cases, it is imperative that you read the fine print as there might be some clause that will end up causing you more financial trouble than a cheap ticket is worth.
13. See more with layovers
A cheap way to explore more destinations is by booking a long layover on your trip to the final destination.
Take a look at our how to explore a country on a layover guide. You won’t regret it.
14. Use price alerts
Most booking websites allow you to set up price alerts for destinations so that you will receive notifications when the price reduces or increases.
This is a good way to take advantage of sudden reductions in flight ticket prices.
15. Travel agents are not the enemy
Some travel agents do not exist to rip you off. Really.
They can, in fact, find cheaper deals for your long haul flights than you could yourself due to the agreements they have with certain airlines.
Do however do some investigating on cheap flights before approaching travel agencies to ensure they are ready to match or give a better rate.