Guest Post by Steven Cuffari
For those of you who travel less than once a year, turn back now.
This article is not for you.
This is for the consummate travel enthusiast who flies at least once a year and is dedicated to traveling more and spending less.
If that sounds like you, then read on.
The internet is filled with so-called tips and tricks to get the best deals on airfares, each one promising a dreamy utopia of fool-proof methods to save the most money.
In reality, flight hunting is an endeavor of ups and downs (no pun intended), successes and failures, victories and defeats.
There are no guarantees.
Just when you thought you found the best flight price and book it, you inevitably hear about a friend or a friend of a friend who found a cheaper one.
Simply put, finding the most affordable flight tickets is a matter of dedication, vigilance and using the right tools:
Sign up for Alerts and Track Trends
It’s the 21st century. If you’re not using apps, alerts and search engines to find the best ticket prices, then you need to step up your game. There are dozens of companies that offer apps, alerts or both. The best ones are free, so you can sign up for several at no cost.
Kayak.com and Google Flights have the most comprehensive listings, but Skyscanner.com, TravelPirates.com and AirfareWatchdog.com are also very good and have apps of their own.
Once you have all your alerts set up, you can track pricing trends on your own or use the built in functions that come with each app.
Plan Ahead but Stay Flexible
Planning ahead is an obvious truth in flight hunting. The more time you have to search, the better your chances are at finding the best price. Staying flexible is a key part of this planning. Most travel websites and apps have a “flexible dates” search option which allows you to view a chart of possible flights for a range of departure and return dates.
Still, last-minute flight deals are a reality and they can pop up without any warning. This can be a joy for some, but a deep sadness for others.
One of the most depressing times in a flight hunter’s life is when they find an amazing deal but can’t travel on the specified dates. Normally, there is not much you can do to remedy this. If you can’t fly, you can’t fly. Such is life.
The only way to take advantage of surprise deals like these is to be ready at a moment’s notice to drop everything and pack your bags. Not everyone can do this, but this flexibility is often the key to finding the cheapest tickets.
Know Where You Want to Go
“Knowing where you want to go” is not what you think. It’s not simply choosing a destination. Knowing where you want to go means research. Learning about your destination can save you money in unexpected ways:
Geography: Knowing airport locations, transportation links and nearby towns and cities can help you save money by flying indirectly to your destination. Often, it is cheaper to fly to surrounding areas which are accessible by inexpensive local or regional transportation from your final destination.
Culture: The cost of flying to most tourist destinations is affected greatly by local holidays and special events. Knowing what they are and avoiding them can save you tons of money, unless of course the purpose of your trip is to visit for those occasions.
Weather: Like culture, weather affects the cost of ticket prices to fly to most tourist destinations. High season (when more people travel and flights are more expensive) is usually during the summer months, and low season is usually during the winter. Avoid high season and reap the benefits! And remember, south of the equator, summer months begin in December, not June!
Be Realistic and Keep Your Eye on the Totals
One of the major reasons this article exists is to emphasize the fact that there is no guarantee to finding the best flight prices. If you become dependent on so-called airfare hacks, you will soon learn that tips and tricks can easily turn into traps.
Being realistic means understanding that you won’t always find the best flight price to suit your needs. It also means coming to terms with having to pay more sometimes. In those cases, you can keep your eyes on the prize by trying to save on other aspects of travel, like accommodations, food and entertainment.
Sites like Airbnb.com, Hostels.com and even Couchsurfing.com can save you tons of money on places to stay. You can save money on food by finding accommodations equipped with kitchens.
In some cases, you can even get a refund from the airline if the price of your flight drops after you book it. The website Yapta.com can help you to get these refunds in accordance with each airline’s rules.
Always Check Multiple Sources Before Booking
You’ve done it. You’ve found the right flight, the right date and the right price. Just click that Book Now button, and start day-dreaming about your upcoming trip. Right?
If you haven’t checked multiple sources for your ticket, then you’re not done. Considering the following techniques to cross reference your price on multiple sites.
Change Your Location: Most websites know what location you are searching from based on your IP address. They can serve you up different prices based on that address. Try using a VPN to change your location when you visit a website. You might be pleasantly surprised by a lower fare.
Use Local Sites and Currency: If you are searching for an international flight, make sure that you check country-specific versions of the site you’re on and in the local currency. Trying this in combination with changing your IP address can produce some interesting and lucrative results.
Check the Airline Website: While it is important to use apps, search engines and price alerts, it is also crucial that you never fail to check airline websites in conjunction with these tools. More often than not, buying directly from the airline does not save you money. Still, you can avoid kicking yourself later by doing your due diligence and checking. At the very least, it’s good to know what the airline’s price is so that you know exactly how much you are saving.
Put It All into Perspective
The above suggestions all have one thing in common:
Keep your options open.
Finding the best deals means leaving no stone unturned. Although we truly believe that, we wanted to get an idea of where the average American finds what they think are the best flight deals.
So, we conducted a survey that asked more than 2,000 random Americans the question, “Where do you find the best flight deals?”
The majority of respondents claimed to find the best flight deals on search engines (28.2%), travel websites (27.4%) and airline websites (20.3%).
Less than 20 percent claimed that they find the best flights deals via mobile apps (6.8%), email alerts (6.1%) and email newsletters (3.2%).
Surprisingly, eight percent of respondents claimed to find the best flight deals the old school way—at travel agencies.
Wherever you find the best flight deals, remember the most important thing:
Enjoy your flight!
This article originally appeared on Couponbox.com
How to Spend a Sunny or Snowy Weekend in Sochi
Caption: Sochi’s sandy beaches and blue sea are something we might associate with a Caribbean getaway.
Snow and Sochi are not always two things we associate with one another. Sochi has a sub-tropical climate and is one of Russia’s best-known beach resorts. However, just a short trip inland is the famous ski park of Krasnaya Polyana. In one weekend you can sun yourself on the beach and pick up your skis in the mountains. The incredible range of activities on offer makes this a bucket list destination for many. Here’s how to spend 48 hours there.
Stay at Rodina Grand Hotel & Spa
The Rodina Grand Hotel & Spa is undoubtedly the most luxurious hotel in Sochi. All of the rooms look out either onto the beautiful black sea or to the immaculately kept subtropical gardens. While the views out are stunning, the rooms are even more special. Each room is only furnished with natural materials, marble bathrooms, precious wood furniture, and leather upholstery. Royal interior designers were appointed to ensure that the hotel was up to the most exacting standards, and it shows.
Stroll Along Sochi’s Promenade
Sochi’s climate is perfect for beach-goers. The city boasts a long, well-kept promenade, which provides the perfect place to enjoy a morning stroll. Start at the port where you’ll see enormous cruise ships, as well as some privately owned superyachts. If you get lucky then you might even witness a regatta. After you’ve enjoyed the port, make your way along the rest of the promenade, taking in the Olympic Park as you go. Once you’ve found the best bit of beach, stop off and soak up some rays. Perhaps have a swim to build up an appetite, then dry off and take a short walk up to the restaurant for lunch.
Eat at Vysota 5642
Caption: There are lots of traditional dumpling dishes at Vysota 5642 but Khychin might just be the most delicious.
Vysota is a spectacular restaurant near the beach. It’s owned by famous restaurateur Arkady Novikov, who was determined to make this place a foodie destination. If you fancy a taste of home then the burgers here were immediately voted the best in Sochi, bringing together freshly ground, properly seasoned beef and simple toppings. However, if you want to try true Circassian cuisine, then the menu will not disappoint. The Khychin are delicious, combining beet leaves with cheese in a paper-thin casing. So too is the chicken in sour cream. All of the ingredients are sourced locally, from foraged herbs to chickens that have lived an almost wildlife.
Visit Krasnaya Polyana
Krasnaya Polyana is a ski resort just an hour away from Sochi. You can buy a day’s ski pass and enjoy the slopes to your heart’s content. Or if you aren’t particularly sporty, there’s another big draw up here, Casino Sochi. The European Poker Tour is one of the most hotly anticipated events to come to Sochi in recent years and will be returning again in 2021. The Casino Sochi has played host to the tournament and has seen some interesting occurrences in its time. Besides holding regular events it also has a huge selection of table games and slot machines. The building itself is beautiful, with richly decorated interiors, so whether you’re playing the slots, skiing the slopes, or soaking in the scenery, Krasnaya Polyana is definitely worth a visit.
Sample Some Sochi Wine
Russia is most widely known for its vodka, but it has a surprising wine history. Sochi is the region that produces the most wine, some 60% of the country’s output, thanks to its southerly location and warmer climate. Russian wine is fascinating for those with a real interest in wine and delicious even for those who haven’t. Abrau Durso is a short trip away and offers tasting sessions and vineyard tours for real enthusiasts. However, if you’re pressed for time then most of the restaurants around town will be glad to tell you about the local wines on the menu. Of course, if you’d rather there is always a good selection of vodka too, so no need to choose one or the other!
A Trip To Qatar In 2022
While although international travel is not on the agenda in this current climate, one would hope that the world will return to a sense of normal by 2022 and if it does, it means football’s biggest party will be sending out its invites.
A party that will be hosted in the Middle Eastern nation of Qatar and although FIFA’s decision may have initially raised some eyebrows, there’s no doubt that plans for such large festivities are being anticipated all over the globe.
It is the first time that the crown jewel of world football has been staged in the Middle East and although that adds an element of pressure to the Qatari organisers, they are ready to put on one gargantuan show.
Breathtaking sculptures can be found all over Qatar 😍
From the airport, to the cities and even the desert!
How many works of art will you discover?
— Qatar Day- Pulse of Nation (@qatarday) September 17, 2020
Of course, the show needs its headline names and with 32 teams earning qualification for the tournament over the next couple of years, the likes of Kylian Mbappe, Neymar and Lionel Messi will be ready to display their talents on the biggest stage of all.
Even though we are still two years removed from the first game of the tournament, the bookmakers are still taking bets on the eventual winner and at present, France and Brazil are topping the odds to get another cup at Qatar 2022.
France will certainly be considered as favourites and after success in Russia back in 2018, Paris Saint-Germain’s Mbappe will be ready to lead his side to back to back trophies and a third overall title for the country after previous jubilation in 1998.
With that said, a lot can change between now and November 2022, as form and fitness will dictate who will be able to mount a serious challenge and who will end up being left behind as nothing more than an also-ran.
When it comes to who wins the competition, that is not something we will know for quite a while and although the start of proceedings seem still a long way away, that should not stop you from making your own travel plans.
Even though Qatar has a relatively small landmass when compared to previous host nations, it is still ready to open its arms to football fans in all corners of planet Earth and with 80 countries enjoying the ability to travel visa-free, that will be one less headache for you to worry about.
While when it comes to headaches, alcohol is still something of a sensitive issue within Qatar and although it is largely forbidden in day to day life, there will be the usual fan parks in place, in order for you to enjoy a beer or two.
In addition to that and if you are not in the vicinity of a fan park, you will be able to celebrate or commiserate with a beer in any of the licensed hotels or restaurants, but do check if such venues are in possession of the necessary license before booking.
Much has been made of the weather and with that in mind, you may want to swap the alcohol for water and keep the hydration levels at their maximum, especially when you consider the expected temperatures of 24 degrees Celsius.
The weather may be conducive to wearing less clothes than back home, but if making the trip to Qatar do please consider the local customs when it comes to clothing and for men, a pair of knee length shorts should be sufficient to keep the heat at bay and keep you comfortable.
By comparison and for the female of the species, a little more caution may be required and therefore the advice is, to dress modestly in public – a remit which advises against showing your shoulders or wearing a short skirt.
Before the tournament begins, nine stadiums will be newly created and three will be renovated, which means the seven host cities of Al-Daayen, Al-Khor, Al-Rayyan, Al-Shamal, Al-Wakrah, Doha and Umm Slal will be ready to host the 64 scheduled fixtures.
With this advice, all you need to do is book your flights and with the likes of British Airways, Qatar Airways, Iberia, Sri Lankan Airlines, Turkish Airlines, Japan Airlines, Air India, Jet Airways operating in the area, there is nothing from stopping you joining the party in 2022.
Consider alternative airlines when booking your next trip
Whether you are a devoted Muslim wanting to finally make your Hajj, or just a tourist to Arabia and the Middle East who wants to get around cheaply, it’s important to not waste money needlessly on airlines.
Thankfully, competition has been heating up in the region for some years now. Lower cost airlines have been springing up all over the region over the past several years, and this benefits us, the consumers, immensely.
Choosing the Right Service
Finding the right airline to choose can be confusing. Now, more than ever, people need a way to source all of the airlines to find the best way to travel. Many with low budgets have found great ways to save. Spicejet tickets allow you to book the best flights with the best airlines.
The power of secondary airports
Flyadeal, the people behind the portal in the above section, aren’t just a portal, they are an airline. The great thing about this airline is that they have a hub in a secondary city (Jeddah).
This is one of the secrets to saving money, if you can avoid the major airports, you usually avoid a lot of taxes and extra charges that wind up getting built into your tickets.
Secondary airports are often very close to major airports, sometimes surprisingly so. Finishing the last couple of hours of your trip by land can lead to major savings at the end of the day because of this.
Airlines are desperate right now
It’s no secret to anybody that 2020 has been a real rough year for airlines. Many of them seem to be even raising their prices, but ultimately, it’s the consumer who determines the price of something, not the provider. Don’t panic if you start seeing high prices everywhere. Keep looking for alternatives and waiting. Outside of the immediate short term, the trend is going to be for the cost of travel to fall sharply, and this applies all over the world.
Established airlines may take more time than the newer more competitive airlines to get on board with pricing that’s going to be acceptable to consumers. That’s exactly why you need to use a good portal as a starting point, one that works with an increasingly large network of low-cost airlines.
Being adventurous will pay off in more ways than one. Cheap air tickets should be a more normal occurence in the future due to a slight decrease in demand. However, over time this will all even out but for now you can enjoy your economical tickets.
And to top it off, you will have the run of places that are normally jam-packed with tourists and visitors. It will definitely pay off in spades to do some due diligence now and be on top of things. And that definitely starts with getting your alternative airline game on.
Meet Cole and Adela
We have been wearing out our jandals (Kiwi for flip-flops) on our travel adventures around the world since 2009. We think our blog is thought provoking and a little witty. But we have been proven wrong before. Find out more about us here...
New on Four Jandals
What Are You Looking For?
- Adventure Travel (233)
- Africa (25)
- Asia (30)
- Auto (1)
- Business (4)
- Canada (4)
- City Guides (25)
- Education (4)
- Entertainment (6)
- Europe (176)
- Events (3)
- Fashion (4)
- Finance (4)
- Fitness (2)
- Food (15)
- Health (6)
- Home (3)
- Inspiration (12)
- North America (52)
- Oceania (32)
- Other (219)
- Personal Musings (9)
- Reviews (15)
- Sports (1)
- Technology (11)
- Travel Blogging Tips (9)
- Travel Tips (252)
- Work (1)
- Adventure Travel3 months ago
Tips Before Sending Christmas Photo Cards
- Adventure Travel2 months ago
Hiking Adventures in Bryce Canyon National Park
- Entertainment2 months ago
Playing Online Poker
- Adventure Travel2 months ago
Yacht Charter Destination Of The Month: The Middle East
- Travel Tips2 months ago
How to Spend a Sunny or Snowy Weekend in Sochi
- Sports1 month ago
5 Things Every Wakeboarder Should Know
- Adventure Travel2 weeks ago
Hammock vs Tent Camping