How to Find Cheap Flights

The hardest thing to justify, when it comes to travel, is the cost of the flight. It’s almost always the most expensive part of travel and the biggest roadblock to you visiting your top bucket list destinations. There’s no secret website that gives you 99% off any flight you want, but there is a combination of things that you can do to ensure that you’re finding the best deal currently available.  We’ve learned so much and want to share all our tips and tricks for finding cheap flights to anywhere right here. There’s no better time to be booking flights, fuel prices have been relatively low for a few years and airlines are desperate to attract passengers due to the pandemic.

Knowing When It Is the Cheapest Month to Book a Flight

There’s not one individual month that is the cheapest to actually purchase a flight, but there are two things to consider to always get a better price. 1. How far in advance are you booking the flight? 2. What season is your trip happening? Let’s start with how far out you should be booking. If I go search for a flight for next year at this same time, right now, all I’m going to see is the highest possible prices because the airlines assumes that they have plenty of time to fill all of their seats. The same goes for the opposite! If I look for a flight that leaves in 3 hours, they’re going to assume that I don’t have any flexibility and the price will be a high one.

So what’s the sweet spot? Well, Skyscanner compiled the data on their flight search engine and found that to find the cheapest domestic flights you should book three weeks in advance for domestic flights and two weeks in advance for international flights. In terms of which actual month is the best to purchase your flight, you should be buying flights in September for domestic and August for international flights. This is based on historical data and averages, but it is always subject to change as travel culture changes!

Knowing When It Is the Cheapest Day to Book a Flight

Domestically, you want to book you flights on Saturdays, Tuesdays, or Sundays, in that order. Internationally it is best to book your flights on Saturday, Sunday, or even Friday. I’ve seen this data change over the years as the best days to book used to be Wednesdays and Tuesdays, and the worst used to be on the weekends. We’ll do our best to keep you updated here on our website. Make sure you’re subscribed to our newsletter so you don’t miss any future updates!

Which Season or Month Should You Be Traveling in to Get the Cheapest Flights?

Now with the same data that Skyscanner compiled, they found that the cheapest months domestically are January, September, and October and internationally the cheapest month is March. Anecdotally, we prefer traveling during the shoulder seasons, meaning late spring and early fall or their summer counterparts. It is a time of year where you get some of the benefits of summer weather without as many tourists, and the lack of other travelers leads to cheaper flights, hotel rooms, activities, etc.

Keep in mind that these are all averages and definitely vary per destination, but if you don’t want to do all the due diligence and nitty gritty research on each potential trip, these averages are a good place to start! In the flight search engines section I’ll show you how to ensure you’re getting the cheapest flight for the destination you’ve chosen.

Cheaper Destinations

Are some destinations cheaper than others? Absolutely! You will never find a flight to the Maldives cheaper than what you can find to Amsterdam. After years and years of searching for cheap flights, you get a pretty good idea for the price range each destination holds, but here are some tricks to be able to estimate the price of a destination at a glance. Generally, the cities that are most expensive in terms of cost of living are the most affordable airports to fly in and out of. This is simply because of volume. The more remote an airport is, the more it costs the airline to fly in and out of there.

Distance is going to be another factor, but once you pass four hours of flight or so, it isn’t as serious of a factor anymore. For example, when picking a destination that is within two hours, you can almost find flights for between $100 and $400, but when you pass four hours or so, prices don’t usually drop below $300 or $400.

Which Budget Airlines Are Available for Your Destination

Apart from popularity and distance, the airlines that fly the routes you’re looking for will have arguably an even great impact on the price of the flight. To get the cheapest flights, you need know which airlines to look at. In the western United States you can fly Frontier or Allegiant and in the East you can fly Spirit. In Europe, there is RyanAir and Norwegian and in Eastern and Southeastern Asia you can fly China Southern or China Eastern. You can also grab a basic economy seat on a standard airline like Delta, but you want to be aware that essentially turns your experience into a budget airline experience.

No matter who you book with, you must always pay attention to what is included in the price of the flight. Most budget airlines won’t include food or drinks, checked baggage, carry-on luggage bigger than a briefcase or purse, seat selection, etc. and will have limited legroom, poor change and refund policies, and not the best customer service as a result. With that said, we fly budget airlines all the time because sometimes it is just worth it to sacrifice some comfort to save hundreds of dollars! Any of the below flight search engines will show you which budget airlines are available for your destination and will help you save money.

How To Get the Best Flight Deals

The name of the game is flexibility. If the only days of the year that you can travel are on Christmas Eve and New Years Day then you’re not going to have much luck finding cheap flights. On that same note, if there is only one destination you’re dying to go to, flights to that destination might not vary much in price throughout the year, or if they do get cheaper at some point, that may not be at the time that you’re available. So if you want the best flight deals, then be flexible with when you fly and where you fly to.

Do you have any flight tips? We’d love to hear them. Comment below!

Travel Insurance: Is It Necessary?

The truth is, when it comes down to it, travel insurance is a necessary evil. It’s something you don’t want to spend money on, but when you find yourself in an unfortunate situation far from home, you will be happy if you have it.

What is travel insurance?

Travel Insurance is financial security against accidents that may happen on your trip. It will provide you with medical coverage if you get sick or injured on your journey, reimburse you if your new iPhone gets stolen or your flight gets canceled, or if a family member dies and you need to go home. It’s protection against those emergencies that can come out of nowhere and cost you dearly if you are not prepared.

Since most health programs will not cover you overseas and credit cards often provide minimum protection, buying a good travel insurance is a no-brainer.

Why should I buy travel insurance?

We can’t speak for others, but we can tell you why we never travel without travel insurance.

For us, it’s peace of mind knowing that if one of us do get sick, we do not run the risk of potentially running up huge medical bills and that there will be someone there to pick up the tab if we get unlucky and need to go to the hospital.

It means that we can do the activities that we love like skiing, surfing, diving, and many other things without worrying about the financial consequences of an accident.

It means that there is someone we can call if we are in the middle of Thailand with malaria symptoms, who will tell me what hospital we should go to or even more importantly which ones we should avoid.

And if my bags get lost or stolen, at least we know we haven’t lost everything. We have someone to call that can help us with some emergency money if all our credit cards and money are stolen.

Is travel insurance expensive?

The price can vary depending on your age, medical history, where you are going, how long you will be traveling for and what you planning to do during your trip. Activities like hiking in Nepal, which is considered a high-risk activity with potentially enormous costs for medical evacuation, will for instance often add a bit to the price of an insurance.

But on average, for a regular travel insurance, we are just talking a few dollars per day. Less than you spend on a smoothie, a coffee at Starbucks or a beer!

What to look for in travel insurance

Not all travel insurance are created equal. Make sure you read the fine print of your policy. I can only tell you what we look for and you will have to decide for yourselves. We look for a travel insurance that:

  • Has sufficient coverage to pay for any medical expenses. Typically at least 100.000 USD, preferably more.
  • Covers both injury and sudden illness
  • Will cover emergency evacuation and care, so if we get injured on a trek in the jungle, it will cover the expenses to get us to the hospital.
  • Will pay for transportation back home to my own country if necessary
  • Includes the activities that we enjoy. If you think you might do a scuba diving course then make sure your insurance covers you for that. Sometimes you need to purchase extra coverage for more extreme activities like kitesurfing or horseback riding.
  • Covers the countries we want to visit. Make sure your insurance covers you in high-cost countries like Japan and the US if you are traveling there.
  • Can be extended while traveling if our travel plans change
  • Covers my most important valuables should they get lost or stolen
  • Has a twenty-four-hour emergency contact number we can call to get help
  • Cover cancellations if ourselves or a family member get sick and we can’t travel after all
  • Covers any political unrest or emergency situations that may result in the trip getting cut short
  • Claims can be filed online
  • Is reasonably priced

CLICK HERE TO GET A QUOTE FOR TRAVEL INSURANCE

Which travel insurance should I get?

There are tons of companies offering travel insurance. We have traveled for a long time and have researched a lot of travel insurance providers over the years.

Our favorite is World NomadsWe have used them several times over the last ten years and have been very happy with them. Their customer service is in our experience top notch, the insurance can be bought and extended online while traveling, and it covers quite a few of our favorite adventurous activities.

World Nomads is also the travel insurance recommended by Lonely Planet and National Geographics.

Use this widget below to find a plan for your trip:

https://qqc-api.worldnomads.com/getwidget?brand=wn

How to Plan for an International Trip

Planning an international trip can feel overwhelming and even a bit daunting, but taking the time to plan ahead will not only make your trip way less stressful, but it will also help you feel less overwhelmed so you can actually enjoy yourself once you get to your destination! That’s why it’s important to make sure you know what you want to do, where you’re going to stay, and how you’re going to get around while you’re traveling. We’ve planned for so many different international trips, and after a lot of trial and error, we’ve found that these are the things we always make sure we’ve thought about and planned before we leave, so we’re not hit with too many surprises once we land. Here’s the best way to plan for a trip abroad:

  1. Pick where you want to go and create a budget: Decide where you want to go and create a budget. Traveling abroad can get expensive quickly if you’re not careful, which is why we always suggest creating a budget first. Knowing how much money you have to spend will help you choose the best place to go and which activities you can afford to do during your trip.
  2. Find a great flight deal: Sign up for email notifications for flight deals. We use Google Flights. When you’re choosing departure dates, if you select the month view and are flexible with your dates, you can see which dates are the cheapest to fly. Even though it’s not always possible, you can save a lot of money if you’re flexible with which days you fly.
  3. Create a spreadsheet: We love creating spreadsheets to organize our plans. That way everything we want to do, where we want to eat, and where we plan to stay can all be written out in one place. Start by adding in your travel dates and then create a rough itinerary by listing out the activities you want to do on each day.
  4. Research: Read travel blogs, go on Pinterest, or search on Instagram to find inspiration for what you want to do during your trip. Pinterest is a great way to find good travel blogs and find inspiration for places to go and things to see. We always suggest reading blogs written by people who are similar to you, because then you’ll know you can trust their style, the type of food they eat, and the way they travel. And that way you’ll know that their suggestions are likely things you’ll be interested in doing as well.
  5. Fill in your itinerary: Once you have an idea of the activities that you want to do, go to Google Maps to start organizing and filling in your itinerary. Within Google Maps, you can pick the places that are a priority for you on your trip and star them. To create a star, click on “save” on the left hand side and select “star place.” Then you can start to see which activities are in the same area. By starring things on Google Maps, you can easily see which activities are in which area. Once you have an idea of the activities you want to do, start filling in your itinerary. If two or three things are in the same area, then you’ll know that you should do those things on the same day. And if there’s something else nearby that looks fun/worth checking out, you can add that to your itinerary for that day too! To make sure everything is done as “timely” as possible, stick to one area of town each day. That way you won’t be crossing back and forth across town going to different places, and you’ll also save money by not paying for taxis or other transportation.
  1. 6. Book your accommodations: Now that you know what activities you’ll be doing each day and where you’ll be spending most of your time, it’s much easier to decide where you want to stay. Book your accommodations close to the things you want to do, so you won’t waste time or money getting back and forth to your hotel every day. We always use Hotels.com to book our hotels, because not only do they always have great deals, but they also have a reward system where your 11th night is “free.”
  2. What they do is take the average amount that you’ve spent on the previous 10 nights you’ve booked through Hotels.com and then you get that many dollars toward your 11th night. So say you’ve spent $100 on 10 nights at hotels, then on your 11th night, you’ll get $100 off. It’s essentially 10% off, which is a pretty good deal if you ask us, so that’s why we always book through Hotels.com. You can also search for hotels based on neighborhood or attractions in the city, which makes it easier to find the best place to stay.
  3. 7. Book transportation: If you have everything booked ahead of time, then you won’t have to worry about anything once you show up. There’s nothing more stressful than showing up to a foreign city and not knowing how to get around or where you’re going to sleep, which is why we always suggest booking everything ahead of time.
  4. 8. Buy tickets to your “must do” activities ahead of time: If you book tickets ahead of time, you’ll save yourself time by avoiding lines and you might even be able to get a better deal. If there’s a museum you know you want to go to, or if there are certain activities like skydiving or snorkeling, you can generally buy those tickets online ahead of time. Then you’ll also be able to fill out your itinerary better, and it’ll save you so much time when you’re at your destination. You’ll also avoid showing up somewhere to buy a ticket and finding out it’s completely booked for the day or that you have to wait a few hours before you can go in.
  5. 9. Complete your itinerary: Fill in the rest of your spreadsheet and make sure all of your activities, places you want to eat, transportation, and accommodations are booked. We also always suggest leaving a few hours open every day for “free” time. That way your days won’t feel too rushed and you’ll have time to do things that you stumble upon as you’re out wandering and exploring the city. We also try to leave one or two days on our itinerary completely empty. We might add one place to eat or one thing to do on that day, but other than that, we leave the rest of the day open, so we can relax on a beach, go back to a place we enjoyed earlier on our trip, wander aimlessly, or even just relax and take a nap.

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Long Flight Survival Tips & Tricks

Everyone dreads the cross country flight. 10+ hours of being stuck in a small seat with nowhere to go is no fun. You start getting restless, your legs start cramping up, and it’s hard to sleep. We’ve done these flights numerous times and are going to give you some of our most recommended tips to help you travel more comfortably.

  • Avoiding Jet Lag – Jet lag is the disruption of the body’s rhythms with travel across time zones, plus probably pre-travel sleep deprivation. You need to adopt the ‘rhythms’ of your destination to help adjust, so set your watch to the destination time as soon as you are on board. Flights east generally caused worse symptoms than those westbound. A general rule of thumb is that the number of days needed to recover is equal to two-thirds of the time zones crossed. With westbound flights, the number is half the time zones crossed
  • Wear Shoes – Never, repeat, never, use plane toilets without wearing shoes. The flight attendants work hard to keep these areas clean but you can guess what some of the splashes on the floor are and do you really want to walk in that and then take it back to your seat? You need loose comfortable shoes as your feet can swell during the flight so we recommend traveling in lightweight sandals.
  • Basic Toiletries – Even with liquid security restrictions, you are allowed basic toiletries on board. Do check before traveling in case the situation changes. We’d advise taking a small toothpaste (under 100 ml) and toothbrush, a small moisturizer, and deodorant. This should also stop people taking too long on the toilets. Remember you can freshen up in the airport toilets when you collect your luggage if you have friends coming to meet you and you’re worried about smelling.
  • Wear Layers – You’ve got to contend with busy airports at each end, and different levels of air-conditioning on the plane, so layers are best. Try a body warmer/vest with pockets as it gives even more ‘hand luggage’ space.
  • Stretch Regularly – Get up and stretch regularly if possible, or at least circle your ankles once an hour. This helps maximize blood flow to your extremities, as sitting down for long periods of time is not recommended. The in-flight magazine will have pictures of the recommended exercises.
  • Chewing Gum – Chewing can help with the changes in air pressure, as can sucking on hard candy. Remember, your ears don’t always pop just at take-off and landing times, but during the flight too. Chewing gum can also help if you feel nervous as it gives you something to do.
  • Use Cushions – To help ease lower back pain, place one of the pillows provided between your lower back (just below your ribs) and the seat. If you are trying to get some sleep do support your neck, you can use your own inflatable neck pillow or scrunch one provided by the airline.
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Our favorite travel apps

There’s no shortage of travel apps cluttering up the Android and Apple marketplaces these days — and that’s a problem, because it’s very hard to choose which ones to use. We have been able to narrow it down to a handful that we use to book our travel deals. Here are our favorites:

Skyscanner

Skyscanner is a travel app that rates flights for you and lets you know if the flight you’re looking at is the cheapest option so you can get the best deal. The app is also very intuitive and easy to use. The two functions we like of the Skyscanner app is the price chart: you can see your search results per day in an interactive monthly bar chart. This is great in so many ways and it means it can help you decide immediately which is the cheapest date to book the flight. Second is that you don’t even need to know where you want to go. Based solely on your fixed dates or a broad time period, the Explore option shows you where is cheapest to fly, which is a perfect tool for the early stages of your trips.

Google Flights

This is the website we always use to begin the process of looking for flights for our next trip. It does a great job searching the internet and giving you the best prices from various sites like Kayak, Expedia, Orbitz, and even individual airlines. Our favorite tool on the website is the tracker function. If you find a flight that you are thinking about booking but decide to wait for a bit to see if the price goes down, you click the track button and Google does all the work for you! It will send you an email every few days letting you know if the price goes up, down, or stays the same.

Hopper

Very similar to Google Flights, but with a very simple and easy to use app. It tracks flight prices for you and sends you a notification when prices change. You can also book hotels through this app.

Airbnb

Airbnb is our go-to app for when we don’t want to stay in a hotel on an upcoming trip and prefer to rent a house, condo, etc. Sometimes we feel like you don’t get the local experience in a hotel like you would if you stayed in someone’s house. There’s even options to rent out rooms instead of the entire house if you’re looking to save money. If you have never used Airbnb before, click this link, register on the website, and you’ll get $40 off your first booking!

TripIt

TripIt declutters your itineraries and documents by keeping them organized in one place. You can set your reservations to be automatically sent to TripIt, which will let you view travel confirmations, flight itineraries, tickets, hotel and Airbnb booking info, rental car reservations, ferry tickets and driving directions without ever leaving the app. TripIt also makes it simple to share your trip plans with whoever is picking you up from the airport or train station, or anyone else who may need to coordinate with you or know what your travel plans are.