Here are the two most important expenses that you always have to deal with when planning a trip: 1) Accommodation and 2) Flights (unless, of course, you decide to purchase a private residence or a yacht while overseas, in which case, that’s a completely different story😅 ). And because these are the most pricey items when it comes to budget for a trip, people tend to get very nervous over flights and accommodation bookings.
When it comes to flights, I have come across 5 key traps that keep being repeated over and over again, everywhere on social media and on several travel blogs:
1. Skyscanner is the best: Nope, it is not. Sky scanner is great in its own rights, but I wouldn’t qualify it as the best. In fact, people should not even say “the best”, but rather, “the best for me”; because what works for one person doesn’t necessarily work for another.
For instance, when I was looking for affordable flights to visit other European cities while in Geneva, almost everyone in my entourage was praising Skyscanner wonders. Interestingly, every time I’d go on Skyscanner to look for a flight, I would never get the results that I want. And at times, I could not even see any flights listed for my intended dates. Someone introduced me to Google Flights, and it was a game changer for me, I’ve used it ever since. Whenever I enter a search on Google Flights, it combines all the results that are available, with all airlines, all layover options, etc. Additionally, it sorts out the prices based on the least expensive, and you can even check the most expensive flights if you feel adventurous. Moreover, Google Flights has this great option of suggesting travel dates that could make you spend even less money. And did I mention that they include results from ALL airlines?
The lesson: before landing on Google flights, I had to try a million options: Expedia, Cheapoair, Skyscanner, Trivago, etc. At the end of the day, you need to give it a try for yourself and use what works for you, and not take anyone word for it.
2. I have a limited budget, so I need to go with the cheapest flight: wrong. I used to fall into this trap a lot, and I’m glad I’ve seen the light. Whenever you look at the price of a flight, there are a lot of things to take into consideration: departure and arrival times, duration of the layover, number of transits, and last, the number of carry-ons and bagages allowed.
- First case scenario: if for instance you get a $50 round trip flight deal, but with no carryon and no suitcase allowed (which means you need to purchase it afterwards), and you also get a $70 deal with a carryon allowed but no suitcase, which flight would you take? To make that decision, you need to know how much a carryon costs for option 1. If the carryon costs less than $20, then option 1 is definitely the cheapest of the two, but if it’s more, then… well, you get the point.
- Second case scenario: say you’re planning a one day trip to a special city, like I did for my trip to Brussels. Ideally, you’d like to leave early in the morning and return later at night, or early the next day. Option 1: you get a $50 flight that leaves at 12:00 PM and returns the same day at 6:00 PM. Option 2: you get a 110 flight that leaves at 7:00 AM and returns at 8:00 PM. Which option is best? I’ll let you figure out this one on its own, feel free to give me your answer in the comments! (but if you picked option 2, I know you definitely got the point!)😎
3. It’s always better to use different airlines based on whoever offers the best deal: false. Sometimes, it’s advantageous for your to use different airlines, other times, it’s wiser to stick to the airlines you are familiar with, especially if you already have miles with them. For instance, if I get a Quantas Airlines (Australian airline company) for $60 and a Virgin Australia Airlines flight for $100, and I am a frequent flyer with Virgin Australia, I would personally choose to opt for the $100 flight because it would help me to accumulate a few miles (just for a $40 difference). Small rewards, but handy on the long run. But if my budget is extremely tight or there is a bigger price difference (in the order of the hundreds), then I’d gladly consider switching to the other airline and, why not, start a Frequent Flyer account with them too! 🤗
4. If I ‘m used to a specific airline, I should just stick to it: wrong. For instance, I’m a huge fan of American Airlines when it comes to traveling to North America and beyond. However, depending on where I want to go, Delta would offer me way cheaper and better options. Perhaps airlines have agreements with specific airports, I wouldn’t know for sure. But for some cities, American Airlines would charge me two to three times the price of a ticket sold on Delta and this for similar services (I have checked), and Delta would do the same for other cities. So even if you have your go-to airline whenever you travel to a specific country, be open-minded.
5. First and Business classes are always more expensive: said who? Psssh. My sister recently came back from a trip to Philly (Philadelphia) which she absolutely loved (in fact, she promised to write a guest post on http://www.travelwithclem.com about it, stay tuned!) And guess what, she travelled Business, and paid the same price she would have paid if she had traveled Economy (with a mere difference). And would you believe me if I told you that with an additional 20$-100$ to your economy fare, you could actually get a first class ticket, if you book your flight 6-8 months in advance? Test the waters, you’ll be pleasantly surprised😎
Do you agree with these tips? And are there any other flight myths you know of?
Join the discussion by letting me know in your comments, I’d love to know!