You are currently viewing My concrete examples of tips to save on my 25 flights this fall (Part 2)

This feature presents in detail all the tips I used to save on my 25 flights (totaling 14 plane tickets) this fall. I’m doing it precisely because many readers ask us to share our personal experiences in terms of savings on travel. If you’re wondering how to put all these tips into practice, you’ll find concrete examples here to inspire you.

Feel free to read part 1 (the introduction) for more info on this feature’s background.

Here’s part 2, with 14 more general basic tips and how I personally apply them.

In part 3, you’ll be able to find examples that are even more concrete, 1 plane ticket at a time, with all the relevant pro tips that were used.


14 other basic tips used for multiple flights

When I bought my plane tickets for the fall of 2023, I used some basic tips as well as more ‘pro’ tips that were relevant to each specific situation.

Before detailing these expert tips in part 3, I believe it’s important to go back to basics. Although these simple tricks are known by many travelers, perhaps you’ve never heard of them.

These are the tips I almost always apply, regardless of the plane ticket. They are a bit less advanced than the pro tips, but they are equally important.

As a reminder, our 31 tips to save money on plane tickets (to be updated soon) divides the tips into 3 sections:

Each of my 7 fall trips was tied to a specific event (specific date AND destination, the combo to avoid for savings), so I couldn’t necessarily take advantage of good deals.

I did, however, apply almost all 17 basic tips, and here’s how.

(Obviously, each one won’t apply to all your trips, but you should know them all anyway!)


Get into travel rewards (of the more simple type) — Tip #4

Like thousands of Flytrippers readers who have accumulated over 2 million dollars with the travel rewards deals we share, I too have managed to save a total of over $25,000 in free travel. That’s because I regularly take advantage of these excellent offers, so I’ve earned a large number of points for my trips.


Concrete example for all my flights this fall

Since travel rewards offers constantly change, it’s not very useful to specify exactly which ones I took advantage of. The specific bonuses I obtained in the winter and spring to use this fall are no longer available obviously.

Except one, so I’ll do a sidenote (your most lucrative sidenote of all of 2024 literally).

One of the deals I did take advantage of last year was the TD First Class Travel Visa Infinite Card, which offered an exceptional record-high deal. Good news, you can still take advantage of it since it came back this January 4, 2024.

It’s THE highest welcome bonus ever seen in Canada for simple points! Perfect for beginners and pros alike.

However, one of the deals I benefited from last year was the one from the TD First Class Travel Visa Infinite Card, which offered an exceptional record-breaking deal. Good news, you can still take advantage of it since it came back this January 4, 2024. It’s THE highest bonus ever seen in Canada for simple points!

In total, you’ll receive $925 for free: a $825 welcome bonus and a separate $100 travel credit. These points can be applied to almost any travel expense, including flights (but we recommend using them for accommodations, rental cars, or activities instead).

(The Scotiabank Gold American Express Card is a great alternative for incomes under $60,000!)

In my case, in general, my favorite points are those of the more valuable type. But as explained in this infographic summarizing the basics of travel rewards, I always make sure that all my expenses go towards unlocking welcome rewards.

This allows me to get enough welcome bonuses to also accumulate points of the more simple type. They are useful for when specific flights aren’t a good use with the other type of points. You need to include them in your rewards strategy, especially when there are huge deals like those offered by the TD First Class Travel Visa Infinite Card.


Understand the basics of airfares — Tip #5

When you understand how airfares really work, it’s easier to save money. Yes, in reality, it’s not the distance traveled, the number of flights included, or the operating cost of flights that determines the price, but rather the supply and demand principle alone.


Concrete example for all my flights this fall

Sure, this is the least concrete of all 31 tips. 

But by understanding how airline ticket pricing mechanisms work, I can always more easily circumvent airline ticket pricing mechanisms.


Ignore the myths and check prices early and often — Tip #6

I’ve never followed the “clickbait” tips from other sources that suggest buying tickets “at 3 PM on Tuesday” in private browsing mode, or anything like that. There’s no magic shortcut, as with just about everything in life; to save money, you have to invest a little time.


Concrete example for all my flights this fall

I started checking ticket prices as soon as I thought I might need them, even though I wasn’t sure yet. Looking at fares in advance lets you know the general flight prices to your destination for that approximate timeframe. It also gives you the opportunity to monitor price changes as often as possible.

The ones I paid with cash, I booked them either when the price dropped or when I was confident enough that it wouldn’t decrease again. It’s impossible to know all of this if you don’t check the price early on.


Be flexible about flight days — Tip #7

At the very minimum, I always check the price at least 1 day before and 1 day after my desired date. This increases by 200% my chances of finding a lower rate. It’s really the minimum flexibility to have if you want to be able to save easily.


Concrete example for all my flights this fall

I remained flexible, even though these trips were all for specific events. In fact, for (almost) all of my trips planned for specific events, I take the opportunity to extend them and visit.

For example, if I needed to be there on Monday morning but flights on Sunday were more expensive, I would leave on Saturday. It doesn’t cost me more for accommodation because if I initially planned to stay 5 days after my event, I would end up staying just 4 days after. Ultimately, it’s exactly the same but flights are cheaper.


Be flexible about flight times — Tip #8

I’m not too picky about flight times in general. I often opt for early or late flights, which are very often less expensive.


Concrete example for all my flights this fall

For most, I took the cheapest flights quite simply.

No matter the schedule.


Compare all airlines — Tip #9

There are still too many people who make the mistake of going directly to an airline’s website to do their flight searches. It’s essential to always compare airlines because the cheapest airline on day X is not necessarily the cheapest on the following day.


Concrete example for all my flights this fall

I always used Skyscanner to make sure I could compare all the airline options for a specific destination.

To be very clear, I always do this for absolutely all my flights! Without exception.


Compare all booking sites — Tip #10

I don’t just want to compare airlines, I also want to compare all booking sites. The same X flight on Y airline is sometimes sold at different prices depending on the site.


Concrete example for all my flights this fall

I always at least checked on Skyscanner if a site had an incredibly cheaper price. Sites like Expedia or KAYAK don’t show you prices on other booking sites, just their own.

It doesn’t even take 1 minute to look once you’ve chosen an airline, and you’re already on Skyscanner to compare airlines anyway!


Always book directly on the airline’s website — Tip #11

Unfortunately, so many travelers don’t understand the difference between the search step and the booking step. At the booking stage, unless the price is really lower on a third-party site, ALWAYS book on the airline’s site directly.


Concrete example for all my flights this fall

As almost always, 100% of my 14 tickets this fall were booked directly on the airline’s website. 

In fact, it’s becoming increasingly rare for third-party sites to have significantly lower prices, but it still happens, especially for really good deals.


Travel light — Tip #12

I never pay for checked baggage, because it’s so easy to travel light. Not only is it more affordable, but it’s much more enjoyable too. The truth is, pro fliers don’t bring checked luggage, and it’s much more for the convenience than for the savings.


Concrete example for all my flights this fall

You won’t be surprised to learn that I didn’t opt for checked baggage, considering that I’ve been to 71 countries and taken 484 flights, always with carry-ons only.

The additional fees (often around $40 per direction) for checked baggage paid by many passengers can represent an entire extra day of travel (all expenses covered) in many affordable countries. It’s an easy choice for me who wants to travel more, but it is just as easy if you just want to save or even waste less time.


Take any seat — Tip #13

I don’t pay for seat selection either. I check in online precisely 24 hours before my flight, so I can select my seat without having to pay. This trick almost always works, and on the rare occasions when it doesn’t, I simply sit in the seat that was assigned to me. I’ve always survived so far!


Concrete example for all my flights this fall

I didn’t pay a penny to choose my seats. Simply so that all the money saved could be reinvested in more trips, once again.

By being ready 24 hours before the flight, the times it doesn’t let you choose the seats you want for free, it will, at least, almost always keep you seated with your travel buddies.


Choose the cheapest airline — Tip #14

I rarely pay extra to choose one airline over another. Having tested nearly a hundred, very few are worth paying more for.


Concrete example for all my flights this fall

I chose the airline that was the least expensive, as I almost always do. Even though I have elite status with Air Canada (and the experience is therefore much better thanks to the status), if another airline offered cheaper tickets, I chose that one.

Now… if I absolutely had to be somewhere, I would probably pay a bit more to avoid a smaller airline. Those usually have fewer options during disruptions and you can arrive just 2 days later. But I make sure to arrive in advance, so I don’t have to worry about that and I can choose the cheapest.


Choose the cheapest seat and fare classes — Tip #15

It goes without saying, but economy class is almost always the least expensive. Fare classes also have significant price variations, and it surprises me how many people pay for more expensive fare classes without real advantages.


Concrete example for all my flights this fall

I flew economy class on every flight, except between Canada and Brazil, where I flew premium economy on the long flights (because it didn’t cost me more; long story I’ll keep for part 3.

I took the cheapest fare class for every ticket as I always do. The main benefit of higher fare classes is lower change fees, but when I decide to go somewhere, I simply go. Otherwise, I already have trip cancellation insurance for free with my credit card if I have a good reason to cancel.


Pay with a credit card that has free insurance — Tip #16

That’s probably THE most important thing! With a credit card that offers valuable insurance, I always get free hotel stays and meals during delays (the most important of the many types of insurance included, as I’ve used it 10+ times). So, there’s no need to spend on that, waste time begging the airline, or sleep uncomfortably on the airport floor.


Concrete example for all my flights this fall

I paid for each ticket with the correct credit card specific to the ticket in question. I’ll give more details for each flight in part 3, because it obviously depends on a lot of factors — as is often the case in the world of travel rewards.

In short, plane tickets paid for with cash are covered by all credit cards that offer that insurance, but for tickets paid for with points, you need to choose the right card!


Consider the total cost — Tip #17

The total cost means considering the price of the plane ticket AND everything else that impacts the total bill: extras (if you want them), but also the costs associated with a specific flight schedule. For example, arriving late can save you $30 on the flight, but cost you an extra $60 in transportation (if public transport is no longer available at that time).


Concrete example for all my flights this fall

I never take extras, but I still do these detailed calculations often. When necessary, I totaled up all the different aspects that affect the final price in a good old Google Sheets document. 

It’s not the most important tip, but there are several flights where I had to do it, and I’ll list them in the next part where I’ll go through each flight ticket by ticket.


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What would you like to know about these plane ticket tips? Tell us in the comments below.


See the flight deals we spot: Cheap flights

Discover free travel with rewards: Travel rewards

Explore awesome destinations: Travel inspiration

Learn pro tricks: Travel tips


Featured image: Miami Beach et Nashville (photo credit: Andrew D’Amours/Flytrippers)

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Andrew D'Amours

Andrew is the co-founder of Flytrippers. He is passionate about traveling the world but also, as a former management consultant, about the travel industry itself. He shares his experiences to help you save money on travel. As a very cost-conscious traveler, he loves finding deals and getting free travel thanks to travel rewards points... to help him visit every country in the world (current count: 71/193 Countries, 47/50 US States & 9/10 Canadian Provinces).

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