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Booking a Flight at a Reasonable Price

Booking a reasonable flight is half the battle when booking a vacation! The price of gas is through the roof, but there are a few tricks that I can share with you to save you some of that hard earned money.

At any given point, I usually have a minimum of 2-3 trips planned or booked to some extent. Planning ahead, when possible, will help greatly when it comes to saving money on flights. I always get a ton of questions (ie. how the hell do you afford all of those vacations!!), so I'm excited to share my process!

The first thing to do is know your destination. Not "I know where I want to go", but where the closest airport is in relation to where you need to be, and what carriers fly there! If you aren't sure, after you know what airport you would ideally like to fly into, google the airport's page. Airports usually will have a list of carriers who fly to / from that particular airport. You may know the "major" airlines in your area or country, but not those in the country where you're going-and there are a TON of airlines out there. There are also a lot of "budget" regional airlines as well-but more on that in bit.

My next stop is usually www.kayak.com to get an idea on pricing. Kayak is great for a few reasons. One is that you can see options for a ton of airlines in one place, which will quickly give you an idea of the best priced carriers for that area. They also have an option that you can select that will show you additional options for nearby airports on both ends of your trip. For example, if I were looking for a flight out of EWR (which is my nearest airport), I could also select the option to see flights out of JFK and LGA. 

Keep in mind that just because they may be cheaper, that it may not be the cheapest option in the end. I also work for a limousine service, so I have a great insight with this. I'll go back to my earlier example-EWR is my closest option as it's only 10 minutes away from my house. JFK and LGA may (and often do) have flights that may be $100, $200, $300+ cheaper. But if I needed to fly out of one of those airports, I wouldn't have anyone who would drive me all the way out there, which means I would have to hire car service or a cab. Round trip service easily adds on nearly $400 to the overall cost-the tolls each way are over $30. There goes my discounted ticket right down the drain. The same applies for other end of the trip. If London is my ultimate destination, I may find a cheaper flight at London Gatwick instead of Heathrow-but instead of a $60 cab ride, I could be looking at double or more. Which goes back to rule #1: know your destination-it's the first step to saving money.

Back to Kayak-take a look at the carriers and flights available, and make a note of the airline and flight numbers for the particular flights that you may want to take. Now head over to my favorite website, www.yapta.com . Yes, YAPTA. I know it has a funny name, but this is one of my greatest discoveries ever. They've saved me hundreds over the past few years. Create yourself an account. I also recommend installing the app on your smartphone if you have one. Once you're set up, you'll want to select "Add a flight"


 Enter ALL segments into this screen. If you have a connection one or both ways, be sure to include them in order to get an accurate price. When you're done, click on NEXT.

The next screen will ask you if you've purchased your ticket already. Select YES or NO. Yes, even if you've purchased a ticket already, add it to Yapta! You'll see why in a moment.

After you've successfully added your flight in, you'll be taken to your home screen with your flight details that will look like this:


 From here, you can see that you have several options. You can see the price history for this particular flight beginning the day that you add it-which is why I say to start the process ASAP for the best chance of scoring the best priced tickets. Yapta will send you a weekly summary on the pricing history for your saved flights. Pay attention to them, and look for patterns! Sometimes, a flight will consistently be cheaper on a certain day, or sometimes a price will suddenly drop.

There are two other tabs as well: ALERTS and REFUNDS.
When you click on the ALERT tab, you can see that you have the option to see a target alert. What this means is, for example, at this moment that I took the screen shots, this particular flight is $1046.10, which is crazy expensive! I only want to pay $600 for this flight-so what I would do is set an alert target so that when this flight drops down to $600 or below, Yapta will send me an email to let me know. Fantastic right!

There's also one more tab-REFUNDS. This is my favorite.
 After you've purchased your ticket is where this comes in handy. This will let you know 1. What the airline's policy is regarding price drops and 2. When you qualify for a refund! For example, United's current policy qualifies you for a refund or credit when if the price drops $250 less than what you originally paid for the ticket. If you get the alert that it has, drop what you're doing and pick up the phone to get that money back!  Prices can fluctuate throughout the day, so be sure not to wait too long.

There's also the drop down menu that lets you rename your trip, delete, merge it into one large trip (which I usually do), and more. I also recommend installing the app if you have a smartphone so that you get the push alerts quickly since time can matter.

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If you're planning on doing an extended trip with multiple countries, consider looking into some of the country's regional carriers. My last three week trip went from Scotland to Ireland, to London, to Munich, to Krakow, back to Munich, and then back to EWR. When I started planning, I looked into taking trains from country to country. We've done it in the past, and it's very easy to do. There are a few downfalls-you waste a lot of time in transit, and taking the train with luggage can be a pain. When I started looking into regional carriers, to my surprise, I found that it was cheaper by far to fly from country to country! There are a lot of smaller carriers in the London area (as opposed to taking a major airline or going the codeshare route) as well as between countries. We opted for the first flight of the day often as this again was the cheapest option. Some of our flights we snagged for a mere $35 per ticket!

It's definitely worth taking some time to research your options, because what you might think is the cheapest option may not always be. Hopefully this has been helpful for you! Questions? Leave a comment below!





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