Having never been one to look for direct flights, believing that getting there is half the journey, I am very fond of piecing together flights that take me to cities and countries that I have never been. For someone flying solo that may be the way to go but what if you are flying with your family or a group?
Savvy travelers know that there are key times each year when travel is the most affordable and working the deals to really stretch their hard-earned dollars, especially when it comes to air travel.
If you are looking for across country travel, air travel is the obvious choice, with its speed and convenience. Various websites compare airlines and give up to the minute pricing but you must always remember that not all airlines are represented on these sites. Smaller airlines and charter specialists, many times, will not utilize the services of comparison sites for a variety of reasons (mostly for costs associated with joining and providing up-to-date information 24/7), and may require a bit more diligent searching. Using terms like ‘cheap flights’, ‘budget flying’ and ‘airfare deals’ will allow you to find deals with other airlines that will save you a lot.
Cost comparisons and setting ‘airfare alerts’ on websites that specialize in the locations you are wishing to travel to, are two great steps to start with. According to FareCompare.com the cheapest days to fly are Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturdays, as compared to the most expensive days which are Friday and Sunday. Rationally, the most affordable times to fly are when others do not want to fly, such as in the early morning, late/over night or during traditional mealtimes.
Common sense tells us that wishing to fly when there the whole country is on holiday is always a bad idea. Summer months, Thanksgiving and Christmas can be nightmare times to find the tickets, seats, and pricing you desire.
In Canada, Kayak.com has a great feature that allows you to be flexible with your dates so that by moving a departure/arrival date by a day or two, you may find yourself saving quite a bit.
If ground travel is more your style, price Greyhound Lines bus service which offers a discount for military and students, companion fares and discounts on hostels, or try the multitudes of ridesharing services that are available online such as HitchPlanet (36+K members in NA), Kangaride and when in Europe try Bla Bla Car.
There are many websites that are dedicated to traveling for free that require a bit of flexibility in your schedule but if you are truly looking at low cost travel, join a HomeExchange or the CouchSurfing network, WWOOF it up on organic farms, and remember to pack your own food for the day and save on all those restaurant fees.
Helen Siwak is Editor-in-Chief of BLUSHVancouver & EcoLuvLux Lifestyle Blog | Lifestyle contributor to Daily Hive (VancityBuzz) | West Coast contributor to Retail-Insider | contributing writer for Marble Financial.