6 Tips: How to Fly on a Budget

6 Tips: How to Fly on a Budget via monkeysmiles

I’m so excited to share these tips on flying for less cash out of your pocket.  I am all about travel and exploring Europe while I’ve had the chance to be here but I want to do it with as little cost to us as possible.  This is what I’ve discovered about flying during our travels.

Web Apps.

Your best friend is a Web App like skyscanner.com.  It compares ALL of the airlines (some smaller, and cheaper airlines are left off of the bigger, more well known airfare search sites), lets you select multiple airports during your search and you can view pricing for every day of the month at once which brings me to my next point.

Be Flexible. 

Depending on the day you want to travel, you could potentially be paying a fraction of the cost if you moved your flight one to two days before or after.  Check out the monthly view on the Skyscanner WebAp to help determine which days are your best bet.

Google Flights.

We My husband set up this amazing little gem (google.com/flights) to let us know when the flight we wanted to Athens would drop in price.  When we received the alert, we decided to purchase the tickets and if you look for the same flight now, tickets cost over 3 times as much. Handy little tool to have, huh?

Flying from North America to Europe. 

If you don’t plan on making the jump over the big pond, move to my next point.  If you do, consider flying into a different country than originally planned and buy tickets from a European based airline to transfer you to the desired country.  For example, you may want to go to France but tickets to Germany cost half the price.  Buy the tickets to Germany and purchase separate tickets on an airline like RyanAir to take you to France.  At this point, you could enjoy some time in Germany and then move on to France or you could have a semi-short layover and never leave the airport.  Keep in mind however, to give yourself enough cushion for your layover so that should something happen with your first flight, you’ll still have plenty of time to make your next flight.

Sign Up for Mileage Programs. 

This seems like a “no-brainer,” yes? Nowadays you can get mileage points (sometimes just for signing up for the credit card!) for more than just flying with the airline. Many credit cards will give you points toward flights for every dollar spent.  If you’re disciplined enough, you may consider using only your credit card for all purchases and pay it off at the end of every month.  If you’re not already following @thepointsguy on twitter, you probably should be.  He gives up to date tips and reviews to gain more points and is worth checking out.

Multiply Your Points.  

Our family tends to fly through Star Alliance member airlines (United, Lufthansa, Air Canada, etc.) and we’ve been able to multiply the amount of points we earn, exponentially, by enrolling in programs like MileagePlus X (an app that allows you to earn points on everyday purchases at participating locations), MileagePlus Shopping and using our MileagePlus Explorer Credit Card (which has also given us awesome freebies like United Club Lounge access and priority boarding privileges).   Ok, stay with me.

To give you an example of how much you can earn, let’s go through the steps to make a purchase at XYZ Store.  

  1. I would visit MileagePlus Shopping, find XYZ Store in the search bar and click to the website.
  2. I select which items I want to purchase and go through to the payment screen (you can earn up to 15 points or more per dollar spent).
  3. When I see how much my total is, I buy an e-gift card for the exact amount I want to spend, through the MileagePlus X app (this can be up to 5 points per dollar spent).
  4. I pay for the gift card with my MileagePlus Explorer Credit Card (earning my regular 1 point per dollar spent).
  5. I use the gift card information to complete my purchase at MileagePlus Shopping and ta-da, I just earned myself 21 points (plus or minus) per dollar spent. Now that adds up quickly!

It seems a little crazy at first but once you get into a rhythm, it becomes natural and an awesome way to earn those points you deserve and pay less on travel.  What are your go-to flying tips on saving moolah?

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