Cheerio from London! Michael and I decided very last minute (on Sunday!) that we needed to head to London town to experience some Christmas cheer (and really I was stalking Instagram to see the buildings lit up and I couldn't take it anymore.) I've been fortunate enough to go many times, but never during the holidays.
We packed up and left for Nuremberg on Tuesday – since we found a 9 euro flight out of there. Plus we wanted to head to Nuremberg anyway for the very famous Christmas market. But since we found such a cheap flight, and so last minute, I wanted to tell you just how we did it, and give you my tips for booking super cheap flights.
This past year, despite going to Asia, flying from the US to Germany, and many trips to and from Nashville and Dallas, I spent hardly any money on flights. Here's how:
Use a price checker
There are lots of good price “checkers” out there when you start looking for flights but I have two that are just the best. Skyscanner is phenomenal. You can search easily and I find it the best way to find cheap flights. This post isn't sponsored at all. I just truly love them. You can even be flexible and pick “everywhere” to see the cheapest flights from your location!
Next is to use Airfare Watchdog. You can set alerts and see when flights go on sale for specific locations. For example, when we lived in Nashville last year I had alerts set from Nashville to Dallas and vice versa. I got an email every time a flight was under $200.
Credit card with airline miles
I always try to fly the same airlines, if I can. This way I rack up points and am able to get free flights. We actually got our round trip flights to and from Asia just with points on United Airlines. I'm not saying buy something just because it's the airline. But, if it's comparable then I'd go with your favorite airline to get more points.
Also, use a credit card that gives you points. My preferred card is the Capital One Venture card. You get 2 points per dollar and can use that towards any travel purchases. I like this because it forces me to spend money on travel (which I would anyway) but I know it's only going to something I love doing.
Related reading: How to book the best hotel deal in Europe
This is probably the best way to get a good deal. If you can be flexible on dates, times, even locations, you can find a great flight. We were just looking at Skyscanner the other day and found a flight from Germany to Greece for under $45 round trip.
When we booked this trip to London, we left out of Nuremberg, will fly out of Birmingham, and then will fly back to Dusseldorf. This is fine for us because we wanted to check out these places anyway. Yes it's a little more work, but it's worth it to me. Which brings me to my next point…
With all this traveling around it's essential (and just plain faster) to pack light. Bring only a carry on and pack the necessities. First, because you'll be lugging it around. Second because you really don't need that much stuff. I always over pack a bit and am kicking myself because it's too heavy!
You also want to pack light since more and more airlines are charging fees on checked bags. If you can just carry on, you can avoid waiting for your bags and miss out on extra fees.
Look last minute
Look for deals last minute (again, y'all, Skyscanner is your friend). You might be surprised what you can find. I know this isn't flight related, but if you book a cruise out of Galveston, Texas last minute you can get them for under $200! It just goes to show that sometimes that works best. I also like lastminute.com to find deals on last minute flights and excursions.
Look ahead of time
Of course, if you can, booking about 2 months before is a great way to get a good deal! You can find cheap flights and usually have more flexibility with things like cancellation or rebooking.
Do not be spontaneous
This might sound counter-intuitive, but once you do book a flight try to book everything else. Excursions, trains, buses, etc are generally cheaper if you book ahead of time. AND you'll be avoiding the lines. We got our hostel (I say hostel but it's a private room!) for just $25 a night and that's because we booked a few days before. If we had just showed up, it would have been $38. Which can add up fast!
A lot of people ask me why I'm so cheap – I am staying in a $25 hostel here in London – but I want to do it ALL and I'd like to not spend all my money on travel. I also need to eat. I think you can travel cheaply and still do what you love and have fun.
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