If you are like us you’d rather spend your money ON your vacation rather than getting to it! Today Mantagirl is sharing five ways to save some clams getting to your next vacation paradise.
Part of almost every week for me involves purchasing airline tickets. And if you’ve read our e-guide, Travel Like A Pro, you’ve discovered some of our secret ways to find inexpensive flights.
Every time I go through the process, I find more interesting ways to save money. Today as I booked my tickets for a St. Vincent dive trip, I dug a little deeper and got a bit more creative. Here are five strategies I used to drop the cost of each ticket more than $200.
1. Use Nearby Airports. Sometimes flying out of a regional airport is much cheaper than a large hub. And I LOVE regional airports. I would much rather walk straight up to the counter, say hello to Helen behind the desk (because she’s been there for 10 years) and check in. Helen always knows I have dive gear and that I am a savvy traveler so she’ll help me out any way she can. Parking is cheaper and security lines take minutes instead of hours. However, sometimes spending a little more in gas and parking at a large hub is worth it if the ticket is that much cheaper. Check both, because it varies.
2. Use Intermediate Airports. For example, if you are flying to the Caribbean, you expect to fly through a large hub like Miami on American or Atlanta on Delta. However, I have found that making a hop through Orlando(MCO) is often more than $100 cheaper. Sometimes it may mean that you still make a hop through MIA or ATL but check it out, it may be worth it.
3. Open Jaw Tickets. This one sometimes takes a little creative thinking but can save you some dough. Flying into one airport and out of another can be a good way to save. As an easy domestic example, let’s say you are flying to New York from Chicago. Check pricing in four ways easily on www.kayak.com . Price two round trip tickets. One in and out of LaGuardia and the other from JFK. Now click on the multi-city tab and try into LGA and out of JFK and then try the opposite. Here is what I found on Delta for the four variations for the same dates.
- R/T from ORD to LGA, $420
- R/T from ORD to JFK, $388
- Open jaw from ORD into LGA and out of JFK $466 (higher) BUT….
- Open jaw from ORD into JFK and out of LGA was $341
Obviously this all depends on your method of getting to and from the airport and if you are renting a car but just looking at flight costs, in this instance there was a saving of $81 per ticket.
4. Open Jaw Tickets to save on connecting flights. When flying to many international destinations it’s often necessary to use a connecting domestic airlines. In the Caribbean we often use LIAT. This airline hops throughout the islands but they are not inexpensive due to taxes and fees. I am planning to use LIAT to get to St. Vincent in November since none of the major US carriers stop here. Below are the steps I took.
- Go to LIAT website and find all the routes LIAT uses to get to St. Vincent and check prices (and schedules!). Find the cheapest routes.
- Once I determined that the cheapest connection was via Trinidad, I then started looking at prices from the US to Trinidad and found them to be much cheaper than through other Caribbean hubs that LIAT flies out of such as St. Martin, San Juan etc..
- Then I looked at schedules. Often in the Caribbean, international flights come in late at night forcing you to overnight thus bringing in revenue to the country and easily adding more than $100 to your cost. I did not want to overnight in Trinidad because I will be hauling lots of gear.
- I ran some scenarios of open jaw tickets. I found great pricing by flying through Barbados(BGI) on the way to St. Vincent and through Trinidad(POS) on the way back.
- Then I purchased one way tickets on LIAT from Barbados (BGI) to St. Vincent (SVD) then out of SVD to Trinidad (POS) on the return.
- I paid a little bit more to fly through BGI for the international ticket but it was offset by the cost of not having an overnight hotel and taxi and saved me the hassle of hauling the gear to a hotel and back.
5. Be Date Flexible. Use the “my dates are flexible” tab on Kayak. Even if you don’t think you are flexible you might change your mind given differences in flight costs. This matrix will show you the trends for flying to a particular destination for the days of the week throughout the month. Perhaps you can finagle one more day for your vacation after all. And if you end up offsetting the cost of the airline savings by the cost of your hotel, then think about this. You have an extra vacation day that cost you nothing!
Go forth travelers and find great fares!
Like what you’ve read? Be sure to pick up a copy of our e-guide, Travel Like a Pro
What ways have you found to find cheaper fares? Share your knowledge in the comments below.