|Beautiful Thailand. How would you feel waking up to this beautiful beach every day? International flights to Thailand with budget airlines starting from just 45 euros|
"Oh Hell No I ain't paying that!!" The woman five people in front of me exploded at the check in staff behind the counter after they asked her to pay $99 because her carry-on luggage was 0.5 inches over the limit.
I realised my bag was packed to the max and was well over 1 inch larger than the limit.
I panicked and had to think fast. I booked this flight because it was super cheap, but I didn't expect they'd be so crazy with the rules.
"How the heck am I going to get out of this??" I thought.
And then I saw another guy who wasn't in line yet but had seen what I just had, open his luggage, take out some clothes and put several extra layers on his body.
|The beautiful Greek island of Santorini. Direct flights to the island from Europe starting from 30 euros.|
|The Famous Island of Santorini - Truly the Land of the Gods. |
"Wow!" I thought, now that's some smart thinking. And this is how my article on the Top 5 Unique Tricks for Flying Cheap for the Hardcore Budget Traveler was born ;)
How hardcore of a budget traveler are you? If you are kind of interested in saving some money then this post is not for you
- but if you would do almost ANYTHING to save some cash, so that you can travel as long as possible - then you've come to the right place.
By the way if you get to the end of the article and still have some questions, send me a message through the facebook page (see below) and I'd be more than happy to help you out.
Flickr credit ehpien
How would it feel to swim in that beautiful warm ocean every morning? The famous island of Santorini (Greece) offers double bed private rooms with private bathroom starting from just 20 euros per night! Enjoy!
1) SEARCH...OR NOT?
As someone who flies internationally about every month (I am in Europe right now so it's cheap and easy), so spending some time looking for cheaper prices is something I do very often.
Even so, time after time I keep comparing Kayak, Cheapflights, Momondo and others, and again and again I keep coming back to Skyscanner for short distance international flights.
Do any comparison right now against Skyscanner and you'll see what I mean.
I won't say it is 100% perfect, but generally speaking, don't waste your time with those other sites that claim to search all other sites etc. 99% of the time I find the best price on Skyscanner.
This is because they don't charge you any fees, they charge a small fee to the airline.
UPDATE: CheapAir spent an entire year analyzing four million airline trips. They tracked ticket prices from 320 days before takeoff all the way up until the day before, calculating precisely which day each one hit its lowest point. The results?
Booking your domestic tickets 54 days before departure is the cheapest day you can book.
If you are flying internationally, here are the “magic numbers” for some common international destinations:
Europe: 151 days before your flight
Asia: 129 days before your flight
The Caribbean: 101 days before your flight
Mexico: 89 days before your flight Latin America: 80 days before your flight
2) BE OPEN MINDED ABOUT WHEN AND WHERE
Do you really need to fly to that place exactly and right when you plan to?
There is a great feature on Skyscanner which shows you the cheapest places to go from wherever you are and the cheapest month to go there.
The image below shows exactly how easy it is:
You have two main options.
A) To simply go on an adventure not caring about which country, or to see what is possible at the cheapest price possible, go to this page, select where you are, and in the TO: box type "Everywhere" as you see above.
B) If you know which country you are most interested in, select it in the TO field and then choose "Cheapest Month" in the departure and return fields.
It's really easy.
Budget airlines Ryan Air and Wizz Air have just expanded substantially in the past month so you can expect some great bargains starting from 10 euros.
|The Famous Santorini Sunset - Truly the Land of the Gods - beds starting from just 14 euros per night |
The Famous Santorini Sunset - Truly the Land of the Gods - beds starting from just 14 euros per night
about €250, but catching a train for €19 to Thessaloniki (Greece's second biggest city), will let you fly to Milan for just €50.
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3) SIGN UP TO AIRLINE MAILING LISTS
There are many discount fares that are not advertised and you will only know about by signing up to their mailing lists.
This because they are so low that the airlines know that all they need to do is send the word out to their mailing list subscribers and the subscribers will not only book very quickly but will also spread it fast to their friends.
Also, I wanted to mention that occasionally I send out a unique newsletter with my secret and unique money saving tips, great deals on flights, and special locations unknown to the average tourist (at bargain prices). You really can travel on a super small budget to exotic locations if you have all the information the travel companies don't want you to know about!
SIGN UP FOR FREE!
4) GETTING THE OPPOSITE OF NAKED
We all know how cheap it is to fly with airlines like Ryan Air etc, but they charge insane amounts for checking in some luggage.
And if you are over the limit, some airlines charge €10 per kilogram that you are over! So 4 kilograms over? Another €40 please!
If you really want to save some money on this, think about wearing as many layers of clothing as possible to the airport.
Once you are on the plane, you can go to the toilet and take off all the layers.
And if you are smart - you can bring a flexible material made bag or backpack that is only as big as what you put in it - small enough to pass the budget airline's strict carry on luggage policy and then flexible enough to grow when you need to put your clothes in it after getting on the plane.
Another option that I've seen people do is buy this awesome jacket that starts off as a jacket and then coverts into a shoulder bag! How cool is that? A bit pricey and not worth it if you are only flying once with a budget airline but worth the investment if you take more than two flights.
5) DON'T SEARCH FOR MORE THAN ONE TICKET AT ONCE
If you are traveling in a group or as a family, don't search for ticket prices for a group.
You are better off searching for tickets as one person due to the fact that airlines automatically show the highest ticket price in a group of tickets.
So what I mean by that is if you are a group of 5 and searching for 5 seats, the airline will seat you all together but charge you each the cost of the highest seat.
For example if seats 4A, 4B and 4C cost $100 each, whilst 4D and 4E cost $300 each, you will all pay $300 each, bringing it to a total of $1500 instead of $900 total.
Now you might say, what if we then don't end up sitting together?
|Shipwrecked in paradise - the Greek island of Zakynthos. Hostel beds in this paradise starting from 9 euros per night|
After you've booked the tickets, when you go to check in you can then all pick your seats so you are close to each other.
There is still the possibility that you may not be all sitting next to each other as their may not be 5 seats all in a row available, but you have to ask yourself is it worth all that extra money just so we can all sit right next to each other for an hour or more?
If you're a budget traveller the answer is probably no.
If you are a young family I can understand why that would be important.
6) BE COLOMBIAN
Depending on where you say you are from and what currency you use, prices tend to be different.
You can read more on that here.
7) BE REALISTIC, PLAN FOR A MIRACLE
A few years ago I was planning on flying to Copenhagen from Athens for a meditation retreat.
The problem was, I really didn't like the price of the flights.
I really couldn't bring myself to book a one way flight for 400 euros one way on the dates that I wanted.
Back then the Australian dollar was worth 0.51 euro cents so the price of AU$800 seemed insane for a one way 2 hour flight.
So I waited, and I waited, and I waited.
We all know that the airlines sometimes play games and often put prices up and down depending on algorithms that are designed to squeeze as much money out of you as possible, but in this case waiting was a mistake.
|Seems like the perfect spot for an afternoon siesta. This guy is enjoying his holiday on the Greek island of Santorini and although he's decided not to pay for a bed, if for some reason he changes his mind, beds start from just 14 euros per night.|
I waited too long.
The price did come down somewhat to 320 euros, but I still wasn't happy and thought if I waited longer it would drop more.
Instead it went to 450 euros.
What's the lesson here?
If the average price of a particular flight is 400 euros and you find it for cheaper, just book it.
Don't wait until it gets to some miraculously low price just because you don't agree with the price (as I did).
If you find a seat lower than the average price, take it because it's probably part of a limited amount of sale seats and if you don't take it someone else happily will.
As some travel inspiration and before I get to the last part of this article, I leave you some beautiful images of the magical cave of Melissani located on the Greek island of Kefalonia. In 1951 this was discovered as the secret sanctuary belonging to the Greek God Pan.
The findings included a statue of Pan, and a clay disc depicting Nympths among other things.
It is said that the Nymph Melissanthi committed suicide and fell in the lake because Pan was not responding to her love for him.
Travelers can reach this magical lake by an underground tunnel and by boat. Accommodation on this beautiful Greek island starts from just US$19 per person.
8) INSIDER KNOWLEDGE
I have a friend who works for an American airline who says that oil is the biggest cost factor for airlines.
He said that it costs an airline (the US$ equivalent of) 5 euro cents per kilometer per person.
So for a 1,000 km flight, it would cost the airline 50 euros per person.
This will vary according to the price of oil at the time - this means that when the price of oil goes down, expect to see some better discounts!
|Imagine waking up to this paradise every morning? It's the Greek island of Zakynthos. Beds from 9 euros per night.|