Airfare is one of the most expensive purchases for a trip. That’s why we do so much research before booking. Here are some of the ways we’ve recently saved a ton of money by doing more than plugging our starting and ending points into a search engine. Now we can take even more trips!
1. Train and Plane Combo
Our family is going to Roatan, Honduras in January. You can fly directly to this Caribbean island from Miami, Dallas, Houston or Atlanta. Flights from our family’s home airport in Philadelphia, however, are expensive. Roundtrip economy tickets started at $1050 pp when we looked. From Washington, D.C., where we live, tickets were half the price. So for a $50 pp Amtrak ticket, they’ll spend the night with us before going. This saved a total of $800 for two people.
2. Look at One-Way Tickets
We didn’t have enough miles with any one airline for a trip to Florida in January, so we flew down on Southwest and back on JetBlue. That covered it!
3. Book Airfare in Segments
We’ve been enjoying really cheap first and business class fares from Washington, D.C., to Central and South America lately (for about $1k pp). That makes it hard to go back to economy (which we absolutely will be doing for our next few adventures to Europe 🤑).
So we were disappointed to see that first class tickets to Cartagena, Colombia, were out of our price range (at $1.5k).
Determined to make it work, we researched all kinds of reward and flight combos and couldn’t find anything.
Finally, we decided to book on Avianca direct from Miami. We will be going from Miami to Medellin for 3 nights, from Medellin to Cartagena for 4 nights and back to Miami on business class for $735 pp. We will use 25k miles each to get to Miami and back on American.
Our Airbnb accommodations were just $300 pp for the week to rent full apartments. So there you have it: $1k per person for an international vacation. If we opted for economy seats, this one-week trip would’ve cost $250 pp less.
We originally priced it out to be $1300 pp for economy flights + hotels or $2200 pp for first/business class + hotels from D.C. Thus, the miles + hub + home-sharing combo resulted in huge savings. At least $600 for a couple.
4. Find the cheapest direct flights for a long haul
We don’t have it booked yet, but we’ve been dreaming about a trip to Africa. We’re thinking either Kenya and Tanzania or South Africa, Botswana and Namibia. Getting there from D.C. isn’t easy. Plus, connections in Europe or the Middle East can add hours onto your journey.
After a bit of research, we found that the cheapest and fastest way to get to Nairobi was to book a direct flight from JFK. It’s super easy to get a cheap flight or one on miles from D.C. to JFK.
A word of caution: investigate. The cheapest and most direct way to get to Johannesburg was to book from D.C. with a layover in Atlanta. Delta’s direct flight from Atlanta sells at a premium, so it would actual cost more to book in segments.
At any rate, when we’re ready to book a trip to Africa, we’ll know what to research!
5. See if it’s better to book one-ways all at once or separately
For our Miami -> Medellin -> Cartagena -> Miami trip, it cost $120 pp less to book all the segments at once on Orbitz rather than book the international and domestic flights separately. This is probably because all legs were on Avianca. Sometimes it is much cheaper to book the domestic one-way flights separated—so always check both scenarios.
We hope these tips help you save $$$$$ and travel more!! ❤️✈️🌎💫