If you’ve been following along this series, then you know I’m overdue to tell you where I’m flying for my birthday adventure this June/July!
Are you ready?
I’m off to Peru!
After careful calculation of airfares, local costs and what we can afford, we’ve decided to travel to one of the seven wonders of the world in Peru and I’m so excited to visit my 6th continent!But it definitely wasn’t an easy choice, especially regarding the airfare. From Los Angeles to Lima, we spent $570 (including a stopover in Bogotá, Colombia)!Overall, I’d say that’s a medium price.It’s certainly not the lowest, but it’s definitely not that high.
If you want to learn how to save on airfare for your very own trip, I’m going to give you tips to save even more money than I did!
Know Where to Look For the Best Prices
Unless you have airline points you’re trying to earn/redeem, you should generally avoid booking directly on airline sites (though they will occasionally have sales if you book directly there, so make sure you join their newsletters to see).
Search engine sites like Kayak, Google Flights, Skyscanner and Mobissimo offer you a lot more control so you can see flexible dates, price prediction calendars and flexible arrival options. I personally love Skyscanner. I find that their prices are the lowest and their format is the easiest for me to use. I love being able to search ‘Everywhere’ in the destinations section which helps me determine where to go for the least amount of money.
Remember: Always clear your cookies and open an “Incognito Mode” browser for the best prices!
Book Your Flight At the Right Time
For awhile, it was best to book your flight late on a Tuesday night. Then, they said it was best to wait exactly 54 days. Now, it’s 3-4 months before your trip. So how do you know which time to book your flight and save the most money? Lucky for you, I decided to be the guinea pig in this scenario and tried to look at all 3 theories to know which is the best time to purchase a flight.
I was looking at flights back in January and noticed Peru was definitely going to be the cheapest. I had a feeling we would end up there when I saw Peru was around $400 round trip compared to $600 for Ireland and $1,000 for Tanzania. I listed these locations as my ideal birthday destinations, but I was open to any spot that cost the least. Still, my heart was calling to Peru.
3-4 months before our departure and flights to Peru would range from $420-$490. I knew these prices were really good and wanted to book then. However, I wanted to test the “54 day” theory (and I didn’t really have the money to spend at the time).
Meanwhile, the Tuesday theory was a complete bust. I checked almost everyday for flights and didn’t notice a trend on any given day. I did however notice trends based on current events we might have seen on the news. (Sadly, the day after the terrorist attack in Sweden, prices for flights were very low.)
74 days away from our departure date and prices had skyrocketed to $575 (over $100+ per person). I was a little too panicky to wait until day 54 so I booked our tickets (hey, I’m broke too, I don’t have an extra couple hundred to play with!). I reached out to Flystein, an airfare hacking tool, to beat my price. They did find a fare of $540 per person, but we wanted to include that stopover in Colombia so we didn’t mind the extra $30 per person. (2 countries for $570 > 1 country for $540, in my opinion). Ultimately, I made the right choice. Since booking, flights have only gotten more expensive by the day!
In the end: Try to book during the 3-5 month window before your departure date! I found that to be the optimal time to purchase your flight at the cheapest. Also, if you find the price has lowered after you’ve purchased your flight, relax and try not to stress about it.
It may be easier to fly straight from your closest airport to your desired destination, but you might be spending way too much money for that convenience!
For example, Norwegian Airlines is one of the most affordable airlines in Europe. That means their main hubs in cities like Oslo, Stockholm and Copenhagen are much cheaper than flying in somewhere else. I always start or end a European journey in one of these Scandinavian cities to save as much as $300 one way! If you’re planning on flying to Europe, try flying one way in or out of those cities, stay the night, and make a connecting flight at a much more reasonable price.
If you can look into stopovers in other countries or flying to alternative airports, you might save hundreds of dollars! Additionally, being flexible with dates can drastically change your price, so try to have an open calendar.
Sebrin Elms is a twenty-something newlywed with two kitties and a serious obsession with travel. She started her blog, The Clumsy Traveler, in anticipation of a 3-month long honeymoon around the world. When she came back, she wasn’t ready to stop writing and traveling! You can learn more about her story on her blog or follow her on Instagram @theclumsytraveler.