Monday, January 18, 2010

How to Fly Without Money

My Guide to Finding Cheap Flights Around the Globizzle


Having your love(r) live across the Atlantic means that we have some hella expensive booty calls. People ask me constantly how the heck can a Scarborough girl like me, afford to travel so much, and as I wrote in the first post, it just takes a lot of time and energy searching for the cheapest tickets. Also, it's knowing what IS cheap. In the last section I list a couple of the cheapest prices I've had for flights.



(Hidden Beach picnic. Costa Brava Spain)
For example, one month before I head to France I have JUST found tickets round trip from France for $475 CAD! If you don't buy tickets much, let me tell you that this is the cheapest you could hope for one month before flying. Tickets to France on average are 800-1400 CAD. So I'm stoked. I hope this knowledge will inspire all you Spring Breakers!


Tips
1. DON'T WAIT. As soon as you find a ridiculously cheap ticket you better buy it! Airlines usually only sell a limited number of seats at the discounted rates so it is bound to sell out quickly. If your date has sold out, don't despair, just put in different days and you will usually get the cheap original price.

2. Avoid flying on weekends: Flying on Tuesday, Wednesday and sometimes Thursday will
be your cheapest bet. The weekend cheap tickets sell out the quickest. Example: Paris-Toronto RT on Sunday it was 554 euros and Mon or Tues it was 428.. If I tend to miss a couple classes it is in the name of being penny wise!
 
3. Use other country's Google site. For instance by using Google.com I found my Paris Toronto ticket for 480 euros but when I used Google.fr and typed in "vols pas chers Paris Toronto" I honestly found the tickets for $100 cheaper!! I just realized this and it is a gem.

4. Clear your cookies (?) : I don't even know what that means but it makes me hungry.

5. Subscribe to Flight Websites: I hate emails but subscribing to newsletters are awesome because you can find tickets with great airlines for nothing at all when they have a sale. Gives you a great reason to plan a trip.

6. Use Air Canada (or any major airline's site) for your flight search. AC is super expensive, BUT it has a great and efficient website and shows you the price matrix for all the days surrounding your specific date of travel. This is a great indicator as to what are the cheapest dates to fly for your search in the below mentioned travel agencies.

7. Book Roundtrip Tickets: I swear to you that a majority of the time it will be cheaper, don't ask me why though.  For instance when I moved to France I paid about $600 CAD one way. When I booked a roundtrip it was around $500!!! Same has been true with my recent flight search. One way from Toronto to Turkey was $1200 whereas the RT was $975!

For more tips, check out the Frugal Traveler in the NYT on the subject. Booking a Flight the Frugal Way.

Websites

From North America

New!
Sunwing Airlines: I feel like I just robbed a bank. Today (June 15, 2011), I paid 330 Euros (474 CAD)  for a RT Paris to Toronto for 2 weeks. Holy god, I had to look up if the agency was real, I really couldn't believe it. 



Cheapflights.ca: This is the site I use as a bible. Gives you a good comparison of all the travel agencies. Flight Network and Orbitz tend to be the best. Orbitz gives you an automatic price gurantee that Paul and I received once when we booked a Thailand ticket for too much.

cheaptickets.ca : Recommended by a friend. Checked it out and it definitely had some good deals to Europe from North America.

Vayama.com. Found one way ticket from Bangkok to Toronto for 987 USD (searched July). Read about this site on the NYT Frugal Traveler.

Studentuniverse.com : You have to register with your school account to have access to this site. Although it has been good for finding cheap flights, it has never been the cheapest. But it's worth a try.

canadianaffair.ca : This is one of the most unbelievable websites for people traveling to the UK. Tickets they say go for $80! I haven't used it myself yet (my amour is french) but it seems great.

Europe

New!
Momondo.com: This has become my favourite place to start the flight search. It is efficient, easy to use, gives you the price matrix for all the days surrounding your ideal search. PLUS, what I found on this site was cheaper than the flight's site itself. ie. Airtransat site said 445 euros for Paris to Toronto RT, but this site found it for 435 euros. ha I know, no biggie but still!!! Thanks Steph!
 

skyscanner.net : Easy to use website for flights in Europe. Definitely has declined in its ability to land the cheapest flights though.

Ryanair.com: If you are new to europe this airline will give you the opportunities to see the world that you would have thought possible. Examples: Weekend Trip in Venice = 5o euros. Weekend Trip Paris-Portugal 60 euros. Paris Sweden 16 euros!!! Attention though, this site will charge you 10 euros extra after you've booked! One last thing to be mentioned. You have to go to Beauvais, which is hella far (1 hour from Porte Maillot in Paris) and you have to pay 13 euros for the bus ride there.

promovols.fr : Flying from france, use French websites. I have discovered something this week and that is using local websites tend to be cheaper!!


easyjet.com: I haven't used this one yet because Ryan Air has monopolized my travel in Europe, but I think this is a great alternative to cheap European flights. According to the one of the comments below by Mike, Easy Jet IS easy and cheap to use (I've seen the cheap prices myself). He made an excellent point that you do not have to go to a mega-far airport as is done with Ryanair, which can make this a better alternative depending on your time constraints.

Asia
airasia.com : The Ryan Air of Asia, you will find crazy $1 sales constantly within Asia. Check the site periodically for deals!

The Frugal Traveler Blog gave me his list of cheap flights. Worth checking out! I am going to try it asap. Click here.

Compare your Search (CAD, Tax and fees included)


Here's some of the cheapest prices I've had or seen in my life. Use it as your goal! Don't buy anything over $1000, I swear!



Toronto to Paris : $475 CAD RT (updated June 2011)
Toronto to Bangkok: $780 RT
Paris to Sweden: 23 Euros RT
Paris to Porto: 30 Euros RT
Toronto to London : $200-400 RT
Toronto to Hong Kong : $800 RT
Kuala Lumpur to Jakarta: $25 One way (Air Asia)

Music

A song showing why it's worth the money to see them.
Home- Edward Sharp and the Magnetic Zeros.mp3



Now your turn. If you have any suggestions or hidden gems that have saved you a gabillion euros, let us poor souls know!


10 comments:

  1. Felicia! I saw this through my Facebook news feed and I figured I had to check it out. BTW - This is Mike Hodgson! I am heading to Europe this Summer, for a blockbuster of a trip. Right now, were planning on hitting up about 20 countries. I have had some experience travelling around Europe already, and I find that Easyjet is the best website, because the flights are ALWAYS cheap, and it only shows destinations where the flights are offered, rather than have you looking at pages where flights don't exist. Ryanair is, of course, a gem, and I have plenty of experience with it. I flew Riga, Latvia - Tampere, Finland for 11 euros! The only problem with Ryanair is that you usually need to take a bus or train in order to get into the actual city - the terminals are usually located on the outskirts.

    Anyways, the countries that were planning on going to are: Iceland, Denmark, Norway, Lithuania, Poland, Scotland, Portugal, Spain, Italy, France, Belgium, Netherlands, CZ, Slovakia, Slovenia, Luxembourg, Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Croatia. I know Europe fairly well - I have already been to SW, Norway, Spain, and NE, but I could always use some tips. I have found cheap flights for more or less all of my connections.

    One question that I did have tho is: Is it better to book all your flights/train tickets in advance and adhere to a strict plan, or is it better just to kind of wing it. I know that winging it would give you the freedom to stay as little or as long as you like in certain regions, but I know that that would really limit my trip. I think its best to have the whole thing planned, as tickets only get more expensive, and I don't want to get stuck in a location and not have any cheap flights available. Any suggestions?

    Mike Hodgson

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  2. Basically cookies are small pieces of information a lot of websites take from your computer (area, browser, IP adress, etc.) to do things like remember your passwords, your tastes (amazon), etc. A lot of people say low cost websites use cookies to track how much a same person comes on their site and what flight they look at. Supposedly, prices go up if you look up at a flight too much. You can erase the websites memory by deleting your cookies (super easy in any browser). Personally I never found this to be true (on ryanair at least) and more relevant to conspiracy theorists but it won't cost you anything to try!

    Cheers love.

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  3. Hey Mike, your trip sounds like it will be epic. It all depends on your budget. If it were me (and I am VERY poor) I would book the destinations with the most travel time between them with flights, so you can keep your cost and travel times down. If you want to be flexible AND cheap in Europe I'd suggest taking a bus. Even the same day, the tix are pretty cheap and they usually have a student discount. I rode from Prague to Paris, bought the tix the same day for like 48 Euros. Granted, it was 18 hours of hell, but hey when you're poor you make the sacrifices!

    So in sum: book some major flights and bus the rest. As for trains, hell they are ****in expensive the more time that goes by, more than flights sometimes!!!

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  4. i also really like kayak.com. it's a great search engine, if nothing else (because it pulls flight info/prices from a bunch of different sites).

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  5. 8. Find a rich boyfriend. ;)

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  6. this blog is amazing!!

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  7. I don't know who wrote 'find a rich boyfriend'! But I will reply to our funny anonymous writer.

    True, my amour is not debt ridden as I but in the name of equality (I am an ardent feminist) we split the bill, whether it be for dinner or plane tickets. Those in LDR (long distance relationships) I'm sure have similar systems.

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  8. lets be honest can't dismiss that it has its perks!

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  9. I'm surprised you don't go for flight search engines - en.momondo.com and especially anywayanyday.com are my favorites.

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