So you've booked your trip, you feel good about it and then suddenly - you have a conversation with the person next to you on the plane about how they paid less (much less) for their flight. SHITTY. Or, as it has happened recently, you paid for your flight and went onto my Twitter page as I scolded folks for paying too much without adequate research. Yep, you feel shitty again.
'You should have just asked me to help.'
I must say this line at least 10 times a week at this point on my Twitter feed. I do this for free, I'm always trying to help out and offering to do so - if you are so sure of the awesomeness of your flight price, does it really hurt to double check?
There isn't too many 'travel tips' I can really offer up that most of you don't already know via the other thousands of travel blogs. However, I would still like to offer up a few just in case you missed some. Also, I would like to offer a special travel tip that keeps happening personally to me as I went to book my flights for my 2017 travel.
My first tip is - DO NOT WAIT TO BOOK. The days of that 'last minute' stuff are long gone guys. Let it go. The earlier you book the better the price will be. In a lot of cases I don't mean necessarily book a whole year ahead, but definitely in that 6-9 month range is always great for flights. Yes, there is sometimes gems for last minute flight deals, but if you actually have a place in mind and aren't flying by the seat of your pants? Book it as soon as you have the funds. Recently one of my followers (who shall remain nameless) asked me to help him find a flight for a carnival in the Caribbean. At the time I found him an incredible $427.00 direct round trip flight from Toronto for the exact dates he needed. It was actually an immaculate find given that carnival flights tend to be very expensive.
Did he book it though? No. He did not. He came back to me about six weeks later and asked me to look again. $800+ with layovers now for the same damn flight. Shame. He will no longer be going to that carnival this year.
My second tip is to use Booking.com! This website has saved me money and headaches on so many occasions I cannot even begin to name them all. Not only does the site have really good prices for hotels everywhere you want to go, many of them have a 'no prepayment and free cancellation' option. Therefore at the time of booking, you owe no money to secure your stay at the hotel and if you choose to cancel before the date they outline for you, this will also cost you nothing. To use a perfect example, when I was planning my trip to Chicago back in April for my boyfriends 30th birthday, I must have picked four different hotels. I would find one I like, book it and then a week later see a nicer one that may have had 40% off so I would cancel the first one and book this new one. No money lost. No penalties. No fuss. This is such a wonderful option for people who have 'maybe' trips coming up as well. Those who aren't sure if the trip will go through but you see a great price for a hotel during the time you'd like to be there. BOOK IT! If it has those two options, what do you have to lose? Not all of the hotels on the site have that option, but it is nice that many have it available!
As someone who must have about 9 travel-related apps on their phone, the one I use the most is Skyscanner. I do prefer the online interface for it, but the app also does this job just fine when looking for cheap flights. The reason I think this is a gem to constantly check for flight options is solely because of that 'whole month' option they have. If you are thinking of going to Rio next year but aren't settled on a date - go to the Skyscanner page, put in your departure airport, put in Rio airport as your destination and then under the dates put in 'whole month + cheapest month' and let it do its magic. It will give you a breakdown of the cheapest departure and arrival dates for the year and you can also move it around to see how it compares to other dates during the year. I have saved large amounts of money flying just because I used this feature to find out flying two days before I wanted to would cost me $400 less. Also, if you are just a wanderluster like myself, sometimes you just want to see your options and let your imaginations soar for that long weekend you have coming up. You can do that on there too! Put in your departure airport and put your destination as 'everywhere' and click the dates you have time off. The site will give you a list of all the places flying from your location and what price they are. The possibilities are endless.
I would say packing light is another one of my travel tips because it will make it cheaper and a less fussy trip for you - but I already wrote a whole blog post about that.
My final travel tip is the one I said I have been looking at since December. I recently also helped four different people use this information to find cheaper flights for their respective travel destinations. This one will save some of you a lot of money.
It isn't a secret that flying in and out of Toronto is abhorrently expensive. Many of us have looked at the option of flying from Buffalo to get to many American-based destinations because 9/10 times this is a much cheaper alternative. But what do you do when it isn't an American-based destination and flying out of Pearson to said location will cost you two months rent? AH HA! This is what I'm here to put you on. (I even have examples!)
Do not ever accept the prices given to you only going from Toronto for flights. If you aren't particular and like to save money flying, you should always look at the alternatives to Toronto. Furthermore, this does not only apply to Toronto. This can be used for other trips as well. I learned this personally twice this year, and just yesterday I proved this point with one of my followers. Here are the examples.
**(all examples will be from Skyscanner since I am a member of Skyscanner Elite and it is the site I know best for use)**
Example 1) This year I am going to Barbados for Cropover. I made the mistake of taking too long to book my flight (clearly didn't follow my own instructions) and was only able to book my flight TO Barbados. The flights returning from Barbados were looking in the range of $1000-$1300 just to fly direct from Barbados to Toronto on August 9th. ONE WAY = Cost of my roundtrip to Bali last year? Absolutely not.
So I began looking at alternatives one day and I found something awesome.
Here is the cost of the ONE WAY direct flight home from Barbados on Aug 9th. Cheapest amount is $1,318
Here is the cost of the ONE WAY (with layover) flight from Barbados back to Toronto on Aug 9th. Cheapest amount is $681
Look at the difference in price. That is quite the sizable difference in price.
I realize this requires a layover, but this means I also get to spend the whole day in St. Lucia while saving $637.00! All of this is just because I checked out how much it would be to fly Barbados to another small island and from there back to Toronto. Well worth it for me. Basically saved the cost of my costume for carnival.
Example 2) I am going to the Maldives this December with one of my best friends and the second I saw the flight prices going from Toronto to there I wanted to cry. From December 19th to December 31st the price of the flight has been hovering around the $2,400 mark per person. I knew Maldives were expensive, but I was/am still refusing to pay this much for a flight there.
So naturally, again, I began looking at alternatives.
Here is the cost of the roundtrip from Toronto to Maldives, which includes a long layover in Frankfurt (somewhere I've been) and would require two stops on the way home taking 62hrs to get back to Toronto. Cheapest amount is $2,376
This is the cost of Toronto to JFK roundtrip direct flying Dec 19 and returning Jan 1st.
Cheapest amount is $361
This is the cost of JFK to Maldives (with a layover in Moscow there and back so we can party in Moscow for NYE) returning on Jan 1st.
Cheapest amount is $1,427
Now if you were to add those two up, that would give you a total of $1,788 roundtrip. Making it not only shorter travel time to get back to Toronto but also $588.00 cheaper than flying from Toronto.
If these were small amounts like $100-$200 I would save myself the fuss and just fly from Toronto. But as you can see here, these are not small amounts being saved. These are entire/or at least half costs of hotel stays being saved in flight cost.
Example 3) One of my Twitter followers messaged me that she wanted to go to Dubai for a month. She told me the cheapest she was finding was $1600+ from Toronto to Dubai.
Again, I went to look for alternatives to these prices just yesterday.
This is the cost of Toronto to Dubai roundtrip flying July 5th and returning Aug 5th.
Cheapest amount is $1653
This is the cost of Detroit to Dubai roundtrip flying July 5th and returning Aug 5th.
Cheapest amount is $1358
I realize the difference in these prices isn't as large as the ones aforementioned, but this is still a difference of $295.00 just for flying out of Detroit.
These three examples are tiny compared to all the combinations that I am sure exist. So wherever you live, make sure to check alternative departure places to potentially make your trip much cheaper.
Also, just as an extra tip - never just check one generic site for your flights. There is Google Flights, Skyscanner, Kayak etc. Just the other day that SAME $681.00 one way flight I showed you above from Barbados was $2,639.41 on the Expedia page.
Do your research.
Don't stick to one website to book.
Read reviews of airlines.
I am here to help!
Extras: If you plan on using AirBnB for the first time, click here for a free credit towards your stay OR if you choose Booking.com for the first time click here for a free credit. Also, if you plan on using Uber for the first time, click here for a free credit towards the ride.