So, you wanna fly on a budget? Well I’ve got some great tips for you that will save you some real $$ and €€.
Use frequent flyer programmes
Is there an airline that you regularly use? Sign up for their programme now! Stick to their programme and only try to fly with them. They’re not called frequent flyer programma for nothing. But even you don’t fly, you can still earn reward points with the programme. (More on that later!)
If you live near an airport and almost always fly from the same airport, register with the airline that uses that airport as a hub. For instance, I live in the Netherlands and usually fly with Royal Dutch Airlines because 75% of the flights out are run by them. So they have a wide range of destinations to choose from.
Starting at about 4 flights per year you’ll get some small benefits. But the benefits at this level outweigh the points you gather. The points are what makes flying so cheap. But if you don’t fly a lot, you wont get enough points to pay your flights with them. So… what to do…?
Use Hotel rewards cards
This is the same as with the frequent flyer programma. You can save points at hotel chains to spend on upgrades. But probably the wiser choice (for us budget folks) is to transfer the points to the frequent flyer programme. If you travel a lot for work than this is a great way to save some points towards your flying bonanza in Asia.
A great card to use is the Mariott Bonvoy American Express Card. If you spend 5.000 Dollars on it within 3 months you get 100000 points to spend. With 100000 points you can do some serious traveling guys! But… I hear you ask… Then I first have to spend 5k!!! Yes and no… 🙂
You always have bills to be paid. You don’t need to create new bills in order to get to the 5k spent. Just pay your bills more often with your credit card. Getting to 5k in 3 months should be doable!
Or even better: when your tax payment is due, charge it to your credit card. I know my tax payment would more than pay for the 5k spent needed. The only fine print here is that this particular credit card costs 450 bucks a year. But if you travel a lot than it’s really easily repaid. Of course always pay your credit card on time. Otherwise you’re paying a huge interest rate. Probably around 18%. And you don’t want that 🙂
Once you have your rewards card into place (or even without…) these next tips will surely save you some more hard earned bucks.
Be a flexible traveler
From a Monday to a Sunday prices can vary by hundreds of Dollars. So if you want to save on your flights to Asia make sure you’re as flexible as can be.
Kayak is a great resource to see where you can travel for what kind of cash.
Just fill in your starting point and your budget and when you wanna go. Kayak will give you all your options. This way you can travel based on your budget. You can look at cool places to visit based on how much it’s gonna cost you.
I know what you thinking. You were thinking on going to that place and thats more expensive than the rest… yeah yeah, I know. But BELIEVE me. Asia is so VAST. So divers. So incredibly great… If you fly on a budget you’ll be able to see a lot more places.
Another excellent website that will show you where you can go for what budget is Skyscanner.
You’ll get a huge list of destinations all filtered based on where it’s the cheapest to go to. They have hundreds of airlines where they can requests prices from and I’ve booked lots and lots of flights through them. Once you find a flight that is suitable for you, you’ll be able to click through to the carriers website and just book your flight as you would normally do.
Go somewhere but don’t go all the way… 🙂
You know when you try to book a flight and you get a layover of 12 hours and then you think nahhhhhhh, not gonna do that? Well you can actually use that to your advantage 🙂 How you’re asking? Really simple. If you wanna go to Dubai, you could book a flight to Dubai of course. But you also book a flight to some place near Dubai and don’t take the transfer.
Why would I do that I hear you ask. Well, let me show you 🙂
Say you wanna go to Beijing. You could look for a direct flight to Beijing. You’d end up with this for example:
It would run you one thousand Euro’s to get there fro Amsterdam. But if you use a site like Skiplagged you could look at destinations and flight schedules with huge layover times and see that there’s a better deal for you to be found.
You could go to Hong Kong for 463 Euros 🙂 But stop at your stopover 🙂 Which is….. Beijing!! 🙂 So you’d be able to go there for half the price! The only thing you have to worry about is your luggage. You can only take your cabin luggage with you. Because the plane will continue its journey to HK. But you don’t want to go there… 🙂
There’s another disclaimer here I should mention. I’ve never had trouble with it myself but some airlines do have the rule that if you don’t finish your trip, you want be able to take the return trip. So do check with your airline if this is the case.
Book a round trip even if you’re going on a one way trip
The above example also works if you only wanna go one way. There are lots and lots of flights which are cheaper if you book a return flight in stead of a one way trip. Book the round trip! You’ll save hundreds if not thousands of Dollars. It’s a great tip which I’ve used many times over in the past few years.
The reason round trip tickets are cheaper is because the airport usually subsidises these kinds of flights. They are looking for as much traffic as possible. And they’ll give airlines big discounts on security fees and other fees if they can welcome the same passenger twice. They need their slots filled. The more turnover they can make in the least amount of time, the more money they make. Take advantage of that!
Use incognito mode or clear your cache / cookies regularly!
You’ve probably all heard of this… Airlines, websites, portals, Google… Everyone is following you around. And if an airline or website sees that you’re interested in a particular flight, they just might increase the price for the sake of taking more money our of your pocket. An easy way to get around is is to clear your cache and cookies or use the incognito mode of your browser. That way you can’t be followed by cookies and they won’t see what destinations you’ve searched for.
Book during a specific time frame
It used to be cheaper to book a last minute. But nowadays it’s the other way around. Usually the earlier you book your flight, the more money you’d save. At least according to this research. For you Asia loving animals… It’s best to book 4 months in advance or 120 days. If you’re planning to go to the South Pacific you’d have to book even earlier. Almost 200 days (197) to be exact. Europe 160 days and South America 110 days. Canada, Mexico and Central America you can book the latest. About 65 – 70 days in advance.
Besides the number of days to book in advance another thing to keep in mind is that flying on Tuesdays, Wednesdays or Saturdays are usually the cheapest days to travel.
Do you have any more tips? Please add them in the comments!