Tips for finding cheap flights.

Screenshot from video “How to draw an airplane” on youtube.

Have you ever noticed that paying for flights can, quite often, be the most expensive part of the trip? Thought flying is exceptionally convenient, it can also be exceptionally expensive.

Finding cheap flights, or at the very least, the best deal you can get on the day you’re purchasing, is important. So, here are some tips to finding the cheapest ticket possible.

Search prices using travel booking websites. Websites like Expedia, Travelocity, Kayak, Momondo, Cheap-O-Air, etc… all have the ability to provide you quotes of tickets from multiple different airlines. If you don’t have flexibility as to when you book, at least check prices across different websites before you book to find which might be cheapest. My favourite website for searching plane ticket fares is momondo.com because I find it provides the option for the most airlines.

If you’re going to be making stopovers, consider the option of flying with more than one airline. One of the things I most appreciate about momondo.com is that the quotes it provides you can often include more than one airline. This is how you know you’re finding the cheapest tickets. Momondo might include a flight from Calgary, Canada to London, England on Air Canada and then a flight from London, England to Copenhagen, Denmark on Lufthansa. This is important to deal hunting because, if you live in Canada you know how expensive our flights are! Booking London to Copenhagen with AirCanada rather than Momondo could mean that you pay for AirCanada fees, rather than Lufthansa fees for your Copenhagen flight. And Lufthansa fees are A LOT cheaper.

Be flexible with your dates! If you know you want your holiday to be during a specific time of year, but don’t have specific dates you need to travel for, be open to all dates during that season. IE – If you want to go to Mexico in Winter, flights in January might be extremely expensive, while flights in February might be several hundred dollars cheaper.

Fly on weekdays, where possible. I’m not sure if this is the case internationally but I’ve noticed that , when purchasing flights in Canada and the USA, it’s more expensive to fly on Friday, Saturday and Sunday then it is Monday-Thursday. This is especially helpful when you’re leaving for quick trips, or weekend trips. Leaving on a Thursday as opposed to Friday could save you a lot of money on flights.

Airlines biggest ‘sales’ are offered on the biggest holidays. Boxing Day and Black Friday/Thanksgiving will always have considerably reasonable seat sales. Other holidays where seat sales often occur are Mother’s and Father’s Day, Canada Day and 4th of July, and Family Day (if it’s celebrated where you are).

Always book in advance. Gone are the days when airlines would put up last minute offers. These days, the longer you wait to purchase, the higher the prices are going to be, with very few exceptions. I’ve noticed that if you’re flying within Canada or the United States, five weeks in advance seems to be the ‘sweet spot’ for purchasing tickets.

Fly into smaller airports, where possible. If budget is important to you, consider this, airlines pay heavy gate fees to be able to fly into major airports (especially if they’re international airports) and that gate fee they pay is passed on to customers through ticket prices. This is why flying into smaller airports can often be much cheaper. Example: Flying into Abbotsford Airport, 1 hour from Vancouver BC can be anywhere from 50 to 200 dollars cheaper (depending on where you’re coming from) than flying into Vancouver Airport.

Use a credit card that collects airline points. This is SOOOOOOO important. While you’re buying your groceries, paying for your hair cut, paying your bills, or doing anything that you spend money on, use that credit card. Even if you use the credit card for a purchase and pay it off 15 minutes later, you will be collecting Airline rewards points for those purchases. Do some research about what card will get you the best rewards for your lifestyle. I took this leap in 2014 and, since then, have earned anywhere from $200-$600 off flights per year depending on how frequently I’ve used the credit card.

Set goals and make radical changes.

I’d like to repeat the advice that I gave you before, in that I think you really should make a radical change in your lifestyle and begin to boldly do things which you may previously never have thought of doing, or been too hesitant to attempt. So many people live within unhappy circumstances and yet will not take the initiative to change their situation because they are conditioned to a life of security, conformity, and conservatism, all of which may appear to give one peace of mind, but in reality nothing is more damaging to the adventurous spirit within a man than a secure future. The very basic core of a man’s living spirit is his passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun.¬†

Jon Krakauer, Into the Wild

‘What do you want out of life?’

I’m actually asked this question quite frequently. Especially in the past four months.

Genuinely, I want adventure. I want to be able to stop and think ‘I can’t believe this is my life’. I want to do things that I never ever thought I could do. I want to go everywhere, see everything and meet everyone. I want to try foods that gross me out and scare the crap out of me.

I want to get on a plane and not know where that plane is headed. I want to know that I always tried, that I always put forth the effort and that I never backed down from a challenge.

And most of all, I want each day to have a new and different sun.

Where do I see myself in five years? Where do I see myself in ten years? Happily travelling the world, sharing stories of people and culture, places and faces, showcasing the unknown, the overlooked and the forgotten about. And, most of all, hopefully instilling a whole lot of wanderlust in everyone that I meet.

I hope that you’ll join me for the ride. And perhaps a cheap flight or two hundred along the way.

Working on the story of my latest adventure right now.

Why you should travel more and buy less.

I wholeheartedly believe there is a distinct difference between travelling and being a tourist. Tourism is a commercial product. I liken it to that of holding a movie pass. You’re experiencing something different without ever actually leaving your comfort zone. It’s safe. It’s easy. Travelling, on the other hand, has a lot more to do with exploring and immersing yourself into a time, place and culture that you don’t understand. Travelling is a mindset that you want to be as much a part of your destination as it is a part of you.

Big cities might be filled with tourists, while travellers are those who follow the less beaten paths of this globe. The rewards might be great in either category, depending on what you’re looking for, but I happen to be a firm believer in travel over tourism. If you’re going to take the time and money to go somewhere – truly go there. Immerse yourself in the adventure.

  1. Step outside of your comfort zone. Travelling allows one to leave order and conformity and move towards the unknown. Pushing yourself out of that comfort zone can teach you just how far into the unknown you’re willing to go and just what potential you might be capable of.
  2. Escape your routines. Use travel as a tool to beak your behavioural patterns that keep you in the ‘daily grind’. Travel can provide that much needed escape from the world you hold so dear, but need a break from every now and again to avoid burnout. Scheduling your travels gives you something to look forward too and allows you to know when your next break is coming, when your next escape is waiting.
  3. It’s a free education. The last thing that you want to do is travel with the belief that you know everything. You’ll be shocked by your own ignorance. There’s too much to this world that you don’t know and haven’t learned yet. Travelling gives you an opportunity for that education that a classroom can’t teach and it also shows you just how much you don’t know.
  4. You’re exposed to new ideas and beliefs. While people often fear what they don’t know, or don’t understand, travelling puts you into situations where you’re forced to see these circumstances firsthand, witnessing that which can forever change you from there on out.
  5. The more you explore, the more you realize how complex human life is. And it’s hard to acknowledge that so few people will get to experience/know that within their lifetime.
  6. It increases your problem solving skills. It can be easy at home to go about your day in the same monotonous way as you’ve done over and over before. Drop yourself in a new location in a part of the world and you’ll be faced with a need to solve problems you’ve never faced in your daily grind. Reading a map in a foreign language is a problem that you’re going to have to learn to solve.
  7. Experiences come with expiration dates. This one is important. Who you are right here and now is not who you will be after you get married or have children or go through other changes in your life. The way that you experience a country/place/destination right now won’t always be the same. Someone who’s just out of highschool, backpacking through Europe will experience it in a completely different way than a retired couple. That’s not to say you won’t enjoy a trip when you’re a retired couple with your spouse, that’s just to say – are you really ready to give up on the experiences you could be having right now for the one day? For the some day?

Honestly, I’d take experiences over new shoes any day. I’m a firm believer in the statement ‘Collect Moments, not things’. Furthermore, moments and memories are the only form of wealth you can gain that give yourself that doesn’t diminish in time.

There’s so much more to travel than seeing a landmark or taking a selfie in front of a monument. Don’t get me wrong – those moments are pretty great too. Everyone needs a selfie in front of the Eiffel Tower. But, for me, the importance of travel is about who you become when you go to a place, the person that you get to be and the person you transform into based on the situations you’re immersed in.

There’s really, genuinely important reasons for you to squander away your extra money. There’s a whole world out there to see. And yes, there are some material things in life that are important for you to purchase. But I guess, the point of this ramble from me is that there are so many important reasons to start putting that money aside and to be saving it for your next adventure.