We’ve all been there.
We want to book a flight but we don’t know where to start.
What we do know is that we don’t want to spend an arm and a leg to sit in economy. So how do you travel the world on a budget?
After many years of frequent travel with trial and error I have discovered the quickest and easiest way to ensure you are getting the cheapest and fastest flights available – this is how I was able to purchase plane tickets to 3 different countries for only $300 during the busiest time of the year!
Do you want to know the best part, YOU CAN TOO!
After reading this, I promise you will never spend over $100 on a flight if you don’t want to! Let’s dive in.
1.Book flights with NO layovers
Two planes are more expensive than one.
Living in Sicily, we deal with this A LOT. Almost all of our flights require us to go through Rome so we typically will have to purchase tickets with a layover. It’s not always possible, but when it can be – avoid it!
A direct flight will always be cheaper than one with a reasonable layover time.
2. Compare airports
Many major cities will have more than one airport.
Take Milan for example. There is Milan Linate Airport (LIN) and Malpensa Airport (MXP). Both located in the city of Milan.
While LIN is located closer to the city center of Milan (about a 30 minute drive) it is typically more expensive to fly into this airport than MXP. MXP is located about 50 minutes from the city center but has considerably cheaper flights.
While you’re looking for flights – check if your arrival airport has another location in the same city. While it may be a longer train or taxi ride upon arrival, it sure beats paying an extra $100 in airfare.
3. Check train vs. airplane price
If you are traveling to multiple countries or cities during one trip, compare the train fare to the air fare.
You might be suprised.
Some train fare will actually be more expensive than air fare in some countries.
We found this while traveling in Poland. Train tickets were around €20 for a 2 hour duration while plane tickets were as low as €4 for a half hour duration.
I used to assume the train would always be cheaper than an airplane but during this trip I was proven wrong! Of course this won’t be the case in every city, so make sure you compare the prices ahead of time.
4. Compare the airlines app price vs. website price
Some airlines will run special deals if you buy your tickets through their app rather than their website.
If you’re traveling with a buddy, have your friend pull up the price on the computer while you do the same on the app on your phone. This way you can compare the prices in real time.
5. Always pay in the country’s currency
I have never read this anywhere but it is basically the best money saving tip I’ve ever learned.
Whether you’re making a purchase in a foreign country or buying airline tickets to a foreign country, always make purchases in the other country’s currency.
This way, your bank will convert the foreign currency to your home currency. Typically, the airline or store you purchase from will have a higher conversion rate than your bank. So if you pay in your home currency you will be paying a higher conversion rate.
Always pay in the other currency and let your bank do the conversion.
6. Be flexible with days and times
The best way to find an economical flight is to be willing to fly at odd hours and on strange days, like Monday or Wednesday.
Rather than think of your vacation days beforehand, try doing the research and comparing prices to your dream destinations first. Check the entire month of November and see if it’s cheaper to fly at the beginning of the month rather than the end due to the holiday. I explain how you can do this easily in step 7.
Being willing to take your vacation days at a different time than everyone else has many benefits, such as cheaper flights!
7. Use the Skyscanner app
If you do not have the Skyscanner app yet, you can download it on your phone or simply click here and check out their website.
This should always be the first place you start when beginning your flight research.
Skyscanner is flexible in its capabilities. Let me give you a few examples. First, you can search flights for the entire month of November to a specific place. Or you can search a specific date and see what the cheapest flight is to a random city.
As long as your flexible, Skyscanner will have a cheap flight for you!
While Skyscanner is a great source for research, I don’t ever purchase my tickets from the website or app directly. If I find a flight for €32 though RyanAir on Skyscanner, I will then go to RyanAir’s app and website and compare the prices further.
Once I find the cheapest and most convenient flight time, I will purchase my tickets through the airline directly.
By using Skyscanner and the other six tips, I was able to find 3 different direct flights through 3 different airlines for my upcoming Christmas holiday. My husband and I will be visiting Vienna, Copenhagen and Berlin for a total of 13 days at the end of December!
I hope you found these tips helpful. If you’ve found any other ways to travel economically I’d love to hear about them as well!
Til next time, Megan