I've experienced firsthand how to travel on a budget, but it does require some research, constant airline scanning, and, oftentimes, a bit of luck. There are also awesome travel sites out there that can help you save on airfare, and of course and there's always good ol' fashioned saving up. But those who've nailed the strategy of sitting on flights and jumping on them at the perfect time are professionals for a reason, like Scott Keyes of Scott's Cheap Flights who scans the most affordable international air prices and alerts you at the perfect moment. Thankfully, he answered various questions on a Reddit iAMA that will hopefully do you some good on your next vacation. Check out seven tips and favorites he shared with users.
1. Where is your favorite travel destination that you only discovered after finding a cheap flight there?
"Oh, great question! This is going to sound silly, but Milan. I had zero interest in going to Milan, until I found a nonstop flight there for $130 round trip. Who wouldn't go to Milan for $130 round trip? Granted, I didn't spend a ton of time in the city itself (aside from seeing an AC Milan game), but there's so much magic in northern Italy. Took a train to hike Cinque Terre, took a train up to Lake Como for the day, even took a train out to the Italy/Switzerland border to ski the alps right by the Matterhorn. All on a whim! Likely never would've gotten to do any of that if not for the cheap flight."
2. Any tips on saving on hotel costs?
"I'm a big fan of Airbnb to be honest. Usually far better central location for the same price, ya know?"
3. Any successful honeymoon stories?
"You're absolutely right that honeymoons can be suuuuper expensive, especially with Summer flights and whatnot. But one of the most gratifying success stories I see each day are couples who didn't think they'd be able to afford a honeymoon but ended up getting one because of the list! Some of the more popular honeymoon destinations for US travelers of late (along with price):
- Paris for $351 round trip
- Mallorca for $469 round trip
- Croatia for $541 round trip
- Rome for $498 round trip
- Hawaii for $475 round trip
Not nothing, obviously, but hopefully much more affordable than the $1000-to-Europe many people are used to paying!"
4. What do you think about solo travel?
"Oh man. I highly recommend everyone travel solo at least once, purely as a learning and get-to-know-you experience. But personally once I've gotten that growth out of the way, I'm a big fan of shared experiences. Misery loves company."
5. How long would a stopover have to be before you decide it isn't worth the saving?
"Great question. The answer is partly to each his own, but also partly depends on the city you're laying over in. If it's in a city like Frankfurt with a quick-and-easy train from the airport to the city, I actually like half-day layovers because it gives me a chance to sample a new city that I might not have seen otherwise and then decide if it's worth coming back to. I've gotten to do that in places like Frankfurt, Seoul, Hong Kong, etc. But you're definitely right that multi-leg trips are usually much more exhausting than direct flights. Nice if you can get 'em cheap!"
6. Any advice on finding a good deal on flights to Colombia in June or July?
"Cheap flights to Colombia pop up fairly regularly, so don't book too early. (Don't wait too long either since it's peak Summer.) I'd recommend monitoring prices and booking if they get below $350 round trip, and setting late March or so as the deadline to book if nothing great has popped up before then."
7. What are some must-see places in London?
- "Take a free guided walking tour the first day to get oriented and learn the city of London."
- "Get high tea at the Saatchi Gallery."
- "Go to the British Museum, of course."
- "Get lunch at the Borough Market."
- "It's a great city for wandering, so don't be afraid to throw away the plans and just explore."