2014 was a big year for me in terms of moving the dial in my coursework and getting on track to move past college. I enrolled in over fifty credits at Wake Forest, and this correspondingly high amount of classwork took a toll on me at many points. I prioritized travel in my few weeks off because through travel I was able to refresh myself and unlock new perspectives on the world.
I traveled to San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco (2x), Seattle, Miami, London, Dublin, Shanghai, Xi’an, Beijing, New York City, Washington D.C., Asheville, and ~42 weeks in Winston-Salem. Some of this travel was completely subsidized by big companies for interviews and by my parents for family travel, but most of my other plans were made possible due to finding special flight deals. Luckily I’ve been successful with finding the deals due to various communities on the Internet, but finding the deals before they expire is the tougher challenge. Often the unbelievably low fares are mistakes in the airlines’ reservation system or promotions on new routes. Neither of these types of deals last long.
Since I believe that travel will play an important role in my life for many years to come, I’ve added a couple of simple habits to my daily routine that will hopefully help me fly cheaply for as long as necessary:
My discovery process:
- Visit The Flight Deal blog
- I’m not sure who’s behind this operation, but its very active and the best source for deals I’ve ever seen.
- Visit the Mileage Run Deals forum on FlyerTalk
- This is a community of people who fly just to earn miles cheaply and maintain their frequent flyer status.
- Visit Airliners.net
- Great place to discover newly announced routes and their associate promotions.
- Get automated updates from The Flight Deal and FlyerTalk sent to your email or phone.
- Ask a FlightFox expert
- Cost-conscious flyers ask savvy travelers for tips on their next itinerary for $49.
The only other tool I need is a place to actually purchase the fares: I can do that by just going to the airline’s website, or sometimes I use the intuitive and friendly Google Flights search tool. If I feel like making more advanced searches, I explore the ITA Matrix Airfare Search, which is also owned by Google.
With the right discovery routine and the right resources, the world can be yours! For example, this week I booked a round-trip flight in March from New York – Abu Dhabi for a total of just $178! I discovered this deal on Etihad airlines by doing the things I just outlined for less than five minutes every day. Good luck!