Let me be the first to admit: I hate flying. I will pick taking a train almost every time over having to fly. There’s less waiting around, no long security checkpoints, and there’s an abundance of legroom.
But when you’re traveling abroad flying is your most wallet-friendly way of traveling. Companies like RyanAir, easyJet and AirAsia make flying from to and from various countries extremely easy and cheap.
To prove my point, I just went to RyanAir’s website (which has a section called Find Cheap Flights!) and found a flight from London to Luxembourg for $18.59 USD. And if I really wanted to be a big spender, I could spend $23.24 USD to go from London to Barcelona. A train ticket from London to Barcelona would be at least $80 USD, and take over 22 hours of travel time, compared to the 2.5 flight that RyanAir provides.
It’s important to caution here, just as NomadicMatt does, that budget airlines are cheap because they will hit you with extra fees. They might charge you for $18.59 USD for a flight, but they will charge you for carry on bags, printing your boarding pass or using a credit card. It’s important to make sure your cheap flight will actually be cheaper than if you went on a more expensive airline that doesn’t charge for everything besides the clothes on your back.
Another thing to note about budget airlines is that they may not necessarily leave out of the biggest airport in the city. So when planning your trip you need to look at your departure and arrival airport’s name to make sure it’s not an hour away from the city you’re wanting to go to.
You should also check flight aggregators like SkyScanner, Google Flights and Momondo will which look at all flights to and from your destination, and will help you find the cheapest flight. Company websites may not always provide the cheapest fares listed, so it’s important to do your research before buying a ticket.
Another way to save money is to not fly direct. By flying with a layover, you’ll likely save hundreds of dollars. A next-level version of this hack is to book the two flights separately. You might be able to find a flight from BWI in D.C. to London, and then a cheaper flight from London to Paris separately. All you have to do is a little more planning, and make sure that you have enough time in your layover to make the second flight.
Photo Credit: Michell Zappa on Flickr.