Sunday, February 22, 2015

How to find the cheapest flight fares

While planning a European trip on a budget I quickly discovered that the single most expensive part of the trip was going to be the air fare. You don't have to be a seasoned traveler to know that simple fact. In fact, traveling to, as well as in Europe will be your largest expense.

I began looking for cheap fares using all the "known" search tools that I read about in all the travel blogs I could find. Kayak, Skyscanner, ITA Matrix by Google, Cheapoair are among some of the more popular airfare search engines. Most returned very similar results that were still more expensive than I would like. Then I stumbled on a blog, cannot remember the name, that listed Norwegian Airlines as an inexpensive source for flights to Europe.

Airline fares are all about when you travel and where. The cost to fly to London from Miami can go from $390+ on one day to $2,000+ with the same airline and the same economy seat just one day later.

Flexibility
If you can be flexible with your departure and arrival dates and times you have a much better chance of finding an expensive flight.

Norwegian Air listing for April
Some sites offer a month fare view giving you a wide range of options of days to fly. This kind of flexibility can save you $100 to $200. In the example I found, a one way ticket to Oslo, Norway from New York can range from $278 to over $600 depending on the day you fly. "But," you say; "I don't want to fly to Oslo, I want to fly to London!" Well, Ryanair flies to London from Oslo for $20!
Actual Ryanair fares listed

Making your trip to London just $247 one way. And, you get to spend one day in Oslo!

If you are as flexible and imaginative on the return leg, you may even find lower fares.

Though Kayak and other low fare sites may find you low cost fares to your destinations, if you do a bit more research and consider other non orthodox destinations you may be able to find dirt cheap fares to some pretty interesting places.

Start with Norwegian Airways and find other low 'with-in' Europe carriers like Ryanair. Enter several destination until you find fares that fit closest to your budget.

A flight to Riga Latvia on Norwegian Airline is $329 one way (OW) from New York's Kennedy Airport. AirBaltic, Latvia's airline flies to Paris for $89 only a day later, or stay a couple of days in Latvia, it's the same price! The flight to Paris comes to $418 one way. Kayak's lowest fare for a flight to Paris on the same day was $439. And that is without the added bonus of a day in Latvia. If you are adventurous, a day in Riga, Latvia is an added bonus!

If you are truly adventurous, try flying to Dubrovnik on Norwegian for $298 (OW) and from Dubrovnik on Easyjet to London for $34! Thats $301 to London from New York. And you get 2 days in Dubrovnik, the jewel of the Adriatic. Its a no brainer.

Actual EasyJet fare
(In some cases the return flight might be cheaper.) You can be as imaginative as you want. London by way of Dubrovnik and then New York by way of Bucharest is a real possibility. You just need to be a little creative.

Pay special attention to the dates! Make sure that your secondary airline has flights a day or two after your arrival from the US. This will give you the opportunity to spend a day in a wonderful city you may not have even considered.

Precautions
When you purchase your tickets from the small regional airlines like Ryanair and Easyjet, make sure you confirm the flight status and reservation by phone with an airline agent. Don't depend on printed boarding passes from your computer. Get any reservation and confirmation numbers by phone. Although you should not have any problems purchasing your fares on their websites, it always pays to confirm.

Requirements
There is only one thing you must do: Travel light, in both baggage and mind. You will be taking advantage of very low fares which will require you to make several trips to an airport. You must travel like a traveler, not like a tourist. Your attitude should be that you are off to see new, incredible things and places and meet wonderful people. Do this and you will enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime travel experience.

You can price round trip fares this way also but lower fares can be found by looking for one way destinations for each leg of your trip. You only have to take the time to plan. Imagine flying to Glasgow then to central France on your inbound leg and then from Dubrovnik to Oslo and home on your outbound leg for under $600! Its possible. The only critical variables are when you fly and where you are willing to explore. If you are flexible with those aspects of your trip it will be an exciting adventure that wont make you go broke.

Your dream trip does not have to cost you a fortune, just a little time planning. 

You can find a list of European airlines here as well as lesser known destination

Just another teaser; Condor flies to Glasgow from Orlando for $204 on May 3rd and 10th, Ryanair then flies to Carcassonne, France 2 days later for $56. You get to France for $262. Once in France you have all of Europe on rails.

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