Now as promised, I said there would be a part two to my previous post and I’m staying true to my word. But there will also be a part three. It was getting to be kind of long and I was adding more information so I’ll spare you a 500 page post. Okay not that long but still. Besides the human attention span is 4 seconds shorter than a goldfish. Sad. I firmly believe everyone should step beyond their front door and see the world or at least different parts of the country. We could probably have a better understanding of other cultures and races if we just took time to explore and not stayed in the comforts of home. We’ve all seen where that leads and I just don’t have the time nor the energy to spend discussing the injustice, the discrimination and the cataclysmic catastrophe that will occur if a certain individual is elected president. Lord help us all if that happens!!
Any who, we all know the biggest expense is your air travel. It will easily determine where and when you’ll be able to take a trip. Soooooo...I’ve compiled a few hacks and sites that we’ve personally used to help you get the most bang AND time for your buck.
Hack #1 - Don’t Check Bags Unless You Truly, Truly Must
I never check bags usually. It’s always been carry ons for me because I had a huge fear that my luggage would get lost. But truth be told, I never had the need. I’ve managed to pack for 7 days (this includes 2-4 pairs of shoes, makeup and even hair tools) by using a carry on and a large bag or backpack. I roll every piece of clothing and I pack my purse in either the luggage or bag/backpack leaving out my ID and ticket of course so that I can pack just a little bit more.
No checked bags means no checked bag fees AND more outfits because you're staying longer right?
Oh! You don't have to check car seats either. Well at least with Southwest. We found out the hard way. We woke up late for our flight to San Jose, CA last year and honestly would have made the flight despite it being scheduled to take off within and hour and half from the time we actually woke up. But since we had never flown with our son, we assumed that you had to check it. Wrong. Wrong!! The time we took to get through that process would have allowed us to make our flight. We were at the front of the security line as they made the last call for our flight. Le sigh....So instead of having a full day, we had just a few hours for our first day. So future reference, they will check the seat while you're boarding the plane. We did that on the way back.
Hack #2 - Preferred Travel Sites
These sites help you break down every aspect of your flight including connecting flights among cities and countries. They’ll also help you find the best deals so you’re not overpaying for your next adventure. Life is about adventures right? No need to cut them short or miss out on them all together because the flight is too damn high. Bump that! You’re getting on a plane and you are exploring, capisce!?
https://matrix.itasoftware.com/ - This site allows you to search and fine not only the best time to fly based on ticket prices, but you can search for 1 or more connecting flights, and its international. It may be a little tricky at first but I’ve found some amazing deals previously like tickets to Bali for less than $400 bucks when they are typically $1200 or more. We didn’t go because budget wise we had a few more pressing things but I didn’t inform some friends of ours who have family over there. Gotta spread the love and knowledge right?
www.google.com/flights - Very similar to the one above but a little more simpler. It will show you the airlines with the best flights based on your price and time of year and you can then be directed to those sites to book your flight.
www.theflightdeal.com - sends out daily alerts of via email filled with cheap flights and glitch fares for US and international fares. But you have to be ready to pay today and be flexible with your travel time.
Hack #3 - Fly From A Different City Other Than Your Home City
Say what now? Yes, sometimes it definitely pays to fly from a neighboring city versus your home city. Why? Cheaper rates!
When I was booking my flight for my trip to the Dominican Republic last year for my best friend’s wedding, I was originally scheduled to fly out of Austin because you know, I live here. I really didn’t care for the flight because it had stops, was 800 bucks (the cheapest I’d seen) and I didn’t really see any other options. But I wasn’t ready to give up so easily. Since I was booking through United, I used their save a fare option which allows you to reserve your entire flight, seat included for either 3 days or a week for 7 bucks. I took the week of course. My last night that I had before I had to book my flight, I searched one more time and low and behold, there was a DIRECT flight for $200 less round trip leaving from Houston. Uh yes please and thank you! I booked that flight so fast and had no qualms about having to make a “quick” drive, 2.25 to be exact but it was well worth the savings and the extra time I would get to enjoy in the DR. Halleluj!! I did have to make that return trip home on a Sunday night after stopping by my parent’s house to do my son’s hair since spring break was starting that Monday and they were keeping him. Yeah, I didn’t get home until after 1 am and I had to be up at 530 for work. That was rough. Poor planning on my part but that ticket was still cheaper!!
Hack #4 - All Cheap Airlines Aren’t Bad Airlines
Frontier Airlines - Also on our trip to Denver, we flew Frontier airlines for the first time as well. I must say it was a very pleasant experience. Now I must warn you, while the cost of their flights can be dirt cheap (we paid $156 total for ours but you can flights as low as $19) they do not include luggage (checked or carry on, you pay for both) or seat selection. Those are additional costs. We could have signed up for their Discount Den which for 50 bucks saves you money on both, but since we had never flown them, we weren’t making those types of commitment just yet. For the round trip we paid an additional $200 bucks for checked bags and seats in the 6th and 4th rows going and returning respectively. Maybe we could have found something slightly cheaper but it was a last minute trip sort of (we booked about 2 weeks out) and it still proved to be the cheapest out of the other airlines we typically fly. They are still worth a look even with the fees. And I guarantee you they are a far cry Spirit airlines. Used them once a few years and yeah ended up with no A/C on the return flight home. That space is too damn small as it is to breathing the same air and now aiding in raising the exposure to potential funk!? Um no….just no.
Look, we got the hard part out the way. Check out the sites, start practicing your folding techniques and start researching your next destination because you’re going. I said so. Now I’m not funding it but you’re still going. Stay tuned for part three, lodging and transportation.
Good night and good day!!