An essential part of the travel budget is transportation and this often includes airfare. The frugal traveler does more than keep an eye on the internet for low cost flights. He or she looks for more creative ways to increase travel expenses.
Use of free stops
When my husband and I first went to Australia, we flew with Air New Zealand. Why? Because the airline offered a free layover at their hub in New Zealand. We had never seen the country and were planning to visit it anyway. That way, we didn’t have to pay for the outward and return plane ticket.
The second time we went to Australia, we flew with Air Tahiti Nui. This airline offered, you guessed it, a free stopover in Tahiti on the way back. Another place we have always wanted to visit.
Free stopovers are a benefit openly offered by some airlines. Hidden cities are not only unannounced but are actively discouraged by airlines. However, they can be great savings for the frugal traveler.
An example of this is a trip from New York to Las Vegas. Sometimes a flight from New York to Los Angeles is cheaper, even if that same flight stops in Las Vegas to take more passengers. So what’s stopping the frugal traveler from getting off early, to the destination he or she really wants to visit?
A few things … The luggage will be sent to the paid destination, so this tip is only for passengers on board. The traveler should also remember that the return ticket must start at their actual destination.
Get pushed around
For the flexible and easy-going traveler, getting pushed around for a flight is like winning the travel lottery. Usually there is compensation and you allow someone else, who really needs it, to get to your destination on time.
Travelers knowing the rules know the compensations offered (check the carriers website), know about upcoming flights (beware of carriers with weekly flights), and can weigh that against the pain of disrupted plans. The husband and I always decide before we get to the airport (early so we have a boarding pass to give up) if it’s worth it. This way we can be the first to offer our places.
There are ways to increase the risk of being hit, the easiest being to book a flight that is already quite full (usually a flight later in the day).
Air travel doesn’t have to explode a travel budget. With some monitoring of discount sites and using some creativity, the frugal traveler can receive more for less.