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!