3 Tips for Paying Less for Your Next Flight
Since I moved to Italy eight months ago, I've traveled every month, at least once. One of the things I love about living here is the proximity to both other places in Italy as well as all of Europe. And while I was flying here all the way from California before I moved, I'm now sticking to trips to the east coast, which is a little shorter for me.
Here are some tips to help you if you want to save a lil' money on your next flight.
1. Check Both Versions of Airline Company Websites
I discovered this trick haphazardly! I tend to fly American Airlines, and one day, I flipped over to its Italian website and was surprised to see that the same exact flight to the U.S. was cheaper!
To illustrate this point, I actually found the OPPOSITE to be true today. This same flight from Rome to Miami is $912 round trip on the American site and €1,364, which right now is about $1,493.
The tip here is: check both versions of the sites! Also look at what the current exchange rate is, as that will impact what you pay.
2. Look at Smaller Airlines
In the U.S., we're familiar with Delta, American, Virgin, JetBlue, et cetera, but in Europe, there are a heck of a lot of smaller airlines that go between certain countries.
I flew from Lamezia Terme in Calabria to Milan a few months ago for under $75 round tri on WizzAir.
There are also:
Often these smaller companies will run specials to fly between European countries. For example, right now RyanAir has a special from Italy to Croatia for €21.99 each way. That makes taking a quick holiday weekend really affordable, amiright?
3. Use Technology to Search Flights
I've mastered the fine art of finding the best price and flight, but it took years of work. Now you can do what I do even faster by leveraging websites that search for the best fares.
I've been using Hopper and Kayak for years. I just found out about an Italian site called Momondo that I'll try next time. While the features of each of these sites vary slightly, generally they each will scour the net to find both the lowest-priced and the shortest airfare for your destination. Hopper will also help with rental cars and hotels.
I still go to the airline website to make sure I'm getting the best price.
4. Be Loyal
While it won't immediately save you money, having a loyalty membership with a particular airline (or two) can pan out in the long run. You'll rack up points with each journey, and eventually, you'll be able to redeem those points for future flights.
Do like me and open an airline-branded credit card and you'll rack up points even faster. I've been using points just to upgrade for overseas flights, which is helping me conserve my American miles. I buy a base ticket and then put in a request for an upgrade. Usually, I get it, though last time, I did not. And sleeping upright is not my jam!
With a little patience and effort, you can save a lot on flights!