You’ve finally taken the leap and booked your Build Abroad trip! The next step involves figuring out what is the best flight option for you. Booking an international flight can be a daunting task especially if it’s your first time traveling, you are going it alone, or to a part of the world you are unfamiliar with. Here are four tips to help those of you from the penny pinchers taking five layovers to those going after time saving direct flight tickets.
This is where everyone should start when looking for a ticket. Websites like Google Flights, Hipmunk, Momondo, and Skyscanner will allow you to test every possible variation to your heart’s desire. What if you left on a Wednesday? What if you took Delta? What if you had a 20 hour layover in Amsterdam? Every possible flight, time, and location are all aggregated into one user friendly place for you to test your options. This way, you can confirm the going rate for a trip to your destination while searching for the cheapest available flights.
Changing factors like dates, times, one way vs round trip, and airports will have you well on your way to finding the best value ticket. Don’t forget to check-in on a few different days of the week as airlines are notorious these days for fluctuating their prices even hour by hour. Another way to save is by being flexible with the dates you choose. This may allow you to arrive a few days early or stay a few days later, a win-win as you’ll have more time to travel and explore while actually saving you money in the process. Well worth it if you ask us! Also, as a reminder to our students and retirees, sites like STA Travel and AARP respectively can offer great discounts on your trip flights.
Set up Fare Alerts
Maybe the most important feature to ever come to online flight booking is the Fare Alert. This nifty tool works on all the flight aggregators listed above. Gone are the days of checking over and over as you continually refresh pages waiting for a cheaper price. By setting up an alert, you will be notified instantly when a trip you’ve preferenced has lowered in price. You can set the dates you are looking at, the locations you’d like to travel, and the receive updates as the price of your trip moves up and down. The website does all the work while you end up booking the lowest price with a smile.
It Pays to Be Loyal
Virtually all airlines have a frequent flier program. These programs payback those who stick to one airline through rewards, points/miles, and upgrades. If you travel a lot personally or for work, you can rack up a healthy amount of miles to use towards other trips, like your upcoming one with Build Abroad. The great thing is, you don’t even need to cover the entire flight. Many airlines offer flexible pay options where you can use cash in a combination with points thus lowering your overall total spending. Remember to always enroll in your airline’s programs that you use — it’s free and will start to add up over time. Who doesn’t like free points and miles just for traveling? You either get them or you don’t so it’s well worth your while to take a few minutes and sign up.
Credit Card Rewards
Today it’s not uncommon for many credit card companies to offer their own airline booking at a discount through their respective sites. This can come in the form of discounts, points counting double towards airfare, or specials that your credit card company has up and running. It’s also a good time to check if you’ve forgotten about a few years of points you’ve slowly been accumulating! Lastly, if you are a responsible person, many new credit cards will offer points, travel bonuses, or miles for signing up. Often you can cut the cost of your trip in half or at least make a dent in the overall total.
It makes sense if you’re in need of a new card or canceling a rarely used one to upgrade to a newer improved benefits card. Either way, if you find yourself in need of a new card, it’s worth it to shop around for the best sign-up deal available. Visit the Points Guy for the best rewards cards that are constantly kept up to date. Even if the offer only comes in the form of points, if they can be converted into cash you are all set for a cheaper trip.