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 check-in 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 hell am I going to get out of this??" I thought.
And then I saw another guy who wasn't in line yet, open his luggage, take out some clothes and put several extra layers on his body. "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.
Does this look like paradise to you? - the economic crisis in Greece means BARGAIN time for tourists - the famous island of Santorini offers Double bed private rooms with private bathroom starting from just 20 euros per night! Check out the bargains now before others snap them up. Flickr credit ehpien
1) Search ... and then search some more...or not As someone who flies internationally about every month (I am in Europe right now so it's not so hard), 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.
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) Clothes 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. 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 take them off - and if you are smart - you can bring a flexible material made bag 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 is to wear a jacket with many pockets where you can store your items.
3)Forget Travel Agents or not? - Don't go straight to a travel agent as most people do - they make a living by adding their commission on top of what the airlines want to charge you. However Travel agents are useful once you have searched the web for the best price possible! Get the best price you can, print out the quote and go to the travel agent and ask them to beat it. Sometimes they have access to special offers which are not online. First ask them to give you the best price they can, then bring out the quote if it is lower than what they have offered and ask them if they can beat it!
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4) 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. For example if you are in Athens, you type in From Athens To Everywhere and it lists all the destinations with the cheapest one first.
Also, do you really need to depart from a particular airport? For example flying to Milan from Athens will cost you
about €250, but catching a train for €19 to Thessaloniki (Greece's second biggest city), will let you fly to Milan for just €50.
5) Use Flightfox for long distance If you are flying long distance use this truly unique service to get the cheapest flight(s). It works as follows - you use the search engines/travel agents to find the cheapest flights possible for your destination on the dates you want. You then go to flightfox and tell them this price - then members of the site will use their skill to find you a better price - and if they do, you pay them a small fee as a thank you. From watching it for a while, they usually save people 30-50%. I don't know how they do it but it's amazing.
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 kilometre 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!
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!
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flickr Khánh Hmoong