We’ve mentioned a few times on various posts and Instagram that we’re taking a big trip this holiday season. We’re beyond excited to be able to travel internationally together for the first time, and a lot of our free time has been spent planning and dreaming about all of the things we’ll get to see and do while abroad.
Before we divulge where we’re headed off to, we wanted to share our tips/tricks for booking affordable international flights. We LOVE traveling, and we know we’re definitely not alone on this. Since your flight will be one of your highest expenses, if not your highest, we wanted to share what helped us be able to book affordable transportation. Now, we are by no means claiming to be experts on budget travel. But these techniques helped us to find and book two international flights (with trip insurance!) for about $1K TOTAL (half the price of what they normally run from Phoenix to this destination)!! So, here goes!
1.Be flexible with your destination
There are a lot of factors that go into how expensive flights are to any particular location, with one of the biggest being tourist seasons. Want to visit the Netherlands for their tulip festivals in the Spring? Expect to pay more for your flights (and everything else). Heading to Germany for Oktoberfest? Be prepared for pricier flights and lodging. To combat these higher prices, we suggest:
Tip#1: Pick a few places you’d like to go instead of limiting your vacation to a specific destination. For example, a few places that were on the top of our list to visit were Tokyo, Copenhagen, and Hawaii. The more places you’re open to going to, the more opportunities you’ll have for great deals!
2.Track, track, track!
Once we had our list of places we wanted to visit, we used multiple tracking websites and apps to stay on top of all the deals. Our go-to tracking applications were 1) Google Flights and 2) Hopper. With Google Flights, we tracked flights between Phoenix and multiple destinations for fluctuating dates (we had a little wiggle room with our departure/return days). We’d get emails when our flights dropped in price, so it was a very passive way of tracking deals. With the Hopper app, you plug in your departure and arrival cities, and it brings up a calendar of the cheapest dates to book flights to that location. Once you select a flight, Hopper tells you if you should book now (i.e., they’re not expecting prices to drop lower) or if you should wait to book (i.e., based on their predictions, prices will probably go down further). Lastly, we did utilize the free version of Scott’s Cheap Flights to stay in the know on deals; however, we didn’t find it super helpful most of the time since Phoenix doesn’t happen to be a departure city that’s normally listed on their free emails about flight deals. Nonetheless, we think it’s worth signing up for their emails, and we’ve heard great things about their paid service as well.
Tip #2: Find the tracking websites and apps that work best for you, and if possible, give yourself time to track the deals for a few weeks so you know the normal prices to your locations. Otherwise, how will you know if you’re actually getting a deal?!
When you’re in this tracking phase, be patient and really try to wait for a good deal. If you’re a planner and still want to get started researching accommodations, activities, restaurants, etc., you can do that for all of the places that you’re monitoring! Make sure to save the information you’ve collected and the research you’ve done for whichever location/s you don’t end up booking flights for this time for future trips!
Tip #3: Do other productive tasks while you’re waiting for your flight deals, such as researching activities to do or fun areas to stay in. Keep track of your findings, and whatever information you’ve collected for the places you won’t be going to this trip can be used for later vacations! You’ll distract yourself from keeping constant watch on flights (leave it up to the tracking websites and apps to alert you when good deals come your way!), and you’ll be productive at the same time!
4.Jump, jump, jump!
Have a conversation with your traveling companion/s in regards to what prices you’ll want to jump on when/if they come up. The last thing you want to happen is to get notified of a great deal and then have to wait to verify that it’s ok to purchase with your spouse/friends/companions who will be going with you. We did NOT do this, but thankfully it ended up working out anyways (I caught Evan just before he went into work and he agreed that we should buy!). Having this conversation beforehand significantly increases your chances of actually booking the good deals that come through.
Tip #4: Know beforehand what deals you and your traveling partner/s are okay to jump on price wise. Then, when a good deal comes your way, go for it!
Again, these tips/techniques helped us to book both of our international flights as well as trip insurance for about $1K total to………… Copenhagen!!!!! We’re so excited to be visiting this gem of a city, and we can’t wait to experience the alluring Danish hygge! We’ll be flying into and out of Copenhagen, but we’ll also be visiting two other cities whilst in Europe: Prague and Munich. We’ll share more on why we picked these cities for our first European experience, but for now, we hope that these tips help you book your next adventure!!