Ultimate guide to save big on flights
The secret to snatch flights from the US to Europe for $100
When we tell people we fly from Vienna to London for 20€ or from Miami to Denver for 30$, they are surprised. When we tell them we fly from Germany to Florida in July (high season) non-stop for only 220€ or from New York to Paris for 130$ they are shocked.
In General, the more flexible you are with your travel plans, the better. If you don´t need to travel over the holidays or during school break, don´t! If it doesn´t matter for you in which season you visit Barcelona, why not travel in the winter? If you don´t need much luggage, travel with hand luggage only! If you don´t like air plane food, why paying for it?
Start your search with travel search engines
No matter where you go, always have a look on kayak.com, skyscanner.com or google flights first. It´s great to get an overview of the airlines, their destinations, prices and best dates to travel.
If you have a specific destination in mind, make sure to include nearby airports. You will be surprised how much of a difference in price that can make. Why? Because a budget airline may approach a smaller airport nearby. Also, different airports have different fees and taxes.
With kayak.com select +/- 3 days in your search, so you get an overview of the prices and best dates to travel.
With skyscanner.com you can select whole months to travel. You often still need to select a date in the low fare calendar to see the exact fares. But, if you don´t have specific dates in mind, it´s great to get a feeling for prices.
Also, if you don´t have any specific destination in mind, try the skyscanner app. There you can select your airport of departure and see all flight deals. Either for a specific date, a country or even a continent. Also, the app shows you popular travel destinations by month and let´s you explore by travel type (city, beach, long distance or short weekend trips).
Personally, I use Kayak.com if I have a specific destination or time frame in mind. I use skyscanner for exploring my options to find the cheapest flight from Europe to USA (you can select 10 airports for each continent). Why do I search that broad? Because once on the continent you can go with budget airlines anywhere with as low as 29$ or 20€ or take trains, buses or other more eco-friendly transportation.
Use airline destinations´maps
After you explored your options with kayak.com or skyscanner.com, you got an overview of the airlines. Now, it´s time to have a look on the airlines´ websites for best destinations by prices.
If you travel a specific route frequently, you know which airlines are best/ cheapest. For me flying at least once a year from the US to Europe and vice versa, I know to look at Norwegian and Eurowings.
So I visit their website for destination map. It allows me to see which airports they approach at certain times of the year. You can also see which airports they use for continental flights. Always good to know regarding non-stop flights and planning layovers.
So this April for example we are flying with Norwegian non-stop from Fort Lauderdale to Barcelona for 190€ or something. We could have booked flights as low as 120€. But we weren´t as flexible with the dates this time. So we ended up flying right before Eastern for a bit more.
So this April we are flying to Barcelona, even though our destination actually is Austria. Why? Because I´ve never been to Barcelona and always wanted to go. Also, Norwegian doesn´t offer non-stop flights from the US to Austria nor Germany.
So since we have to do a layover somewhere, why not Barcelona? I´ve never been and always wanted to go. And flights from Austria/Germany to Barcelona are most of the time as expensive as a flight to the US. So we even save money, because we would have visit Barcelona at some point anyways. And this way we only need a one-way ticket.
Look for low fare calendars
They are not always easy to find. Especially US airlines make it pretty hard. However, especially budget airlines have low fare calendars. So use them!
They sometimes help you to avoid a ridiculous amount of money. Think of weekends, holidays, Brückentage, school holidays, spring break, etc.
Also keep seasons and climate zones in mind. If you want to visit New York, mostly to visit museums, theaters, Broadway shows or to go shopping. Does it really matter what time of the year you go? If no, look for flights in January. Yes it will be cold, but you will be inside most of the time anyway. And January is soooo cheap to go.
Always keep luggage in mind
Nowadays with most airlines you need to book luggage additionally. So keep that in mind when comparing prices between airlines. Sometimes traditional airlines can be cheaper, when you need to have luggage, meals and drinks.
But if you are fine with hand luggage or one checked bag and don´t need meals or drinks on board, you can save a ton of money!
Be open to one-way flights and no-meals option
Yes, you can even book flights from Europe to the US without meals. Why should you? Well with Norwegian you can save 70€ (one-way), if you don´t need checked bags and meals. Think about how much food you can buy for that.
Just get a good meal before the flight. And take snacks and reusable drinking bottles on board. Just empty the bottle before security and fill it up before the flight. I got my stainless steel bottle from Glacier Point on Amazon.com for my birthday. It´s so handy and saves so much money! Not just when flying.
And if you are still hungry or thirsty on the plane (don´t worry, you will get water for free), you can always buy some snacks on board. Just make sure you do it within the first three hours on a long distance flight.
Find out the best time to book
Depending on your destination and the time of the travel, specific times are better to book. For us, flying from the US to Europe and vice versa, booking 7 weeks ahead seems to be the perfect time frame. However, we also found cheap flights only two weeks prior to the flight.
And if you are travelling within Europe or the US you can get crazy cheap flights a month ahead or only 5 days prior. How do you know when to book? Well, for this Kayak.com and skyscanner.com are made for.
Don´t forget about currencies& payment methods
Last but not least, you can also save money choosing the right currency and payment method. So for example if you fly with Norwegian, sometimes it is cheaper to book in NOK. But when booking one-way tickets it can also be cheaper to book in the currency of the destination country. Depending how exchange rates are at the moment of booking.
But, keep in mind if you book with your credit card in a foreign currency, you will need to pay up to 2% exchange rate fee etc. So even though it might be cheaper in NOK, if your credit card company charges you 2%, it might offset the original saving.
Some airlines (especially in Europe) also charge you for paying by credit card. So keep an eye on that as well.
"The struggle is real"
People often ask me, how we can afford to travel so much. Well, now you know. We never pay much on our plane tickets and we don´t fly much. Slow travelling saves carbon emissions and money. 😉
All these tips might be overwhelming first but if you only apply one or two of the tips above, you are already saving money.
The more tips and tricks you use, the more money you save. So it´s up to you to decide how much time you invest in searching for cheap flights. If you don´t have the time, just use Kayak.com or Skyscanner.com and the low fare calendars.
Also, check out norwegian.com for your next trip. They are not just the cheapest Airline for flights between Europe and the US, but are also the most environmental friendly airline there is.
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