We’re experts at saving money on just about every aspect of travel. But by far our #1 specialty is how to save on airplane tickets specifically. It’s a good thing: it’s probably the most important one (since it’s the expense that varies the most in price) and it’s definitely the one that most travelers don’t have (unfortunately).
Here’s an introduction to an interesting and concrete feature on my 25 flights during the fall season that just ended, to help you save on flights.
These are the first 3 most important tips (the ones that cover several of my 14 purchased plane tickets this fall) and the rest will cover plenty of others.
Basics of our existing and future content
At Flytrippers, we’re very excited to kick off the year because we’re about to double our team (with 7 new members) and we can’t wait to help you make 2024 your best travel year ever with all our new content!!!
One of the types of content we’ve been asked for the most for a long time now is our personal experiences, since we travel a lot.
And since we travel a lot, we’re very good at traveling better and traveling for less (traveling for less is obviously the key to traveling more often).
There’s going to be so much new content to help you travel for less. You won’t believe it!
One of the first ones will be the updated and improved (including with videos) version of our existing guide to the 31 tips to save on airplane tickets, and 31 more detailed articles on each of the tips.
Basics of my trips this fall
In the meantime, with my trips this fall, I wanted to give you a teaser of many tips with some concrete examples to show you how many of the tips work in real life!
I don’t travel as much as Kevin, the other co-founder of Flytrippers, who is a full-time digital nomad. But I did travel quite a bit during the fall season that just ended, even if many of the destinations weren’t very far away.
However, all of my 7 trips were for specific events, so I didn’t have the flexibility I usually have on either the dates or the destinations (the key to saving even more). So I had to use 22 different tips from our guide mentioned above myself, as I always do obviously to make all my flights cheaper.
Basics of this feature about how to save on flights
As the title of the article says, I took 25 flights this fall. But I only bought 14 plane tickets. And I went on just 7 trips.
In Part 1 of this feature today, I’ll explain those numbers… and to do so, I’m sharing with you the 3 more global tips I’ve used on too many of those 14 plane tickets. They come up a lot and are therefore perhaps the most important too.
The next part of this series is going to be the other precise tips for each ticket specifically, to be even more concrete (and after that, each tip is going to be the subject of a full guide, as I mentioned).
Tip 1: Transfers
I took 25 flights, but only bought 14 tickets. You probably guessed it, that means I had transfers (connections or layovers, if you prefer). It’s tip #13 in our guide on how to save on airplane tickets!
There are obviously plenty of other tips (including the 2 below) that don’t involve transfers — for those who don’t want to sacrifice a little time to save so easily. That’s okay!
But having a transfer is obviously one of the simplest and most effective tricks for those who really want to save money (to travel more, among other things)! Direct flights are almost always more expensive (I honestly thought everyone knew this basic trick, but apparently not, so I’m repeating it to help all travelers).
Especially for long-distance flights.
It’s really not the end of the world to have a transfer. I had some when I was 5 and I had some alone when I was 15, so I’m sure you’re capable. I can even guarantee you’ll survive.
(It’s even enjoyable to have transfers too when you have free access to airport lounges, of course. And it’s so easy for all Canadians to get free access. In fact, it’s better than free: it’s easy for you to get paid to have lounge access. For example, in addition to big welcome bonuses, the Scotia Passport Visa Infinite Card gives you 6 free passes per year, and the American Express Platinum Card gives you unlimited access for 2 people. Don’t miss our detailed guide to airport lounge access coming soon!)
It’s boring to have transfers? Maybe (especially if you don’t want to take advantage of the airport lounge tip).
But what’s much more boring in my opinion, is traveling just 3-4 times a year because you don’t have the budget to travel more.
Transfers really are one of the best ways to save on plane tickets, and it’s very easy:
- You get off the plane
- You sit for a while
- You board another plane
That’s it. Yes, transfers cost you a little time. But it’s an absolute must if you want to save money, because time is money (if you use that saying the right way… which almost nobody does).
You trade a bit of your time for a lot of money.
Since we’re on the subject of concrete examples, here’s something pretty striking. Let’s say you save just $300 (easy to do with transfers, I saved that with 1 transfer on only 1 of my 14 plane tickets this fall).
If you want, that’s enough to add a full all-expenses-paid week to an existing trip (without flights) in lots of countries (list coming next week) or even to add an all-expenses-paid long weekend in Miami (with flights) for a bonus trip. For real!
So it’s vital to learn how to live with transfers for those who want to travel MORE.
So even though 6 of my 7 fall trips were to North America (so really not very far away), I had at least 1 transfer for all of my trips (either on the outbound, on the inbound, or both).
Coming back from Miami in December with my friend, we saved $300 each just on the return flight by simply having a 1h30m connection at the airport in New York-LaGuardia (LGA)!!!
Time is money, so we both made $200 per hour for the ordeal of having to stop at the brand-new American Express Centurion Lounge and enjoy the open bar and free meals concocted by a celebrity chef.
Instead of chilling for an extra hour or 2 in Miami, we did the same thing… at the airport, while being paid $200/hour. What an easy decision!
Tip 2: Separate one-way tickets
Just 7 trips, but 14 plane tickets. That’s because I almost never buy roundtrips, which always seems to surprise many travelers. It’s tip #25 in our guide on how to save on airplane tickets!
Yes, it’s another of the simplest tips for saving money on plane tickets: buying separate one-way tickets instead of roundtrips. But yet, 99% of people still always buy roundtrips, unfortunately.
It’s one of the manyyyyyyyy examples of travel tips that are so simple… but that most travelers don’t even know exist. Not just beginners, even experienced travelers. No wonder most people are objectively terrible at finding cheaper flights!
That’s why we encourage you to sign up for our free newsletter to receive all our pro tips and content in 2024… as over 100,000 savvy Canadian travelers already do.
The separate one-ways tip doesn’t work in 100% of cases obviously (like any other travel tip).
It often saves you money, because being flexible is always THE key to save when it comes to travel. And when you buy a roundtrip flight, you’re not being flexible (without knowing it): you’re limiting yourself to having the outbound and return flights on the same airline (or on one of their very limited partner airlines)!
And often, the cheapest airline on the day of your outbound flight is obviously very different from the cheapest airline on the day of your inbound flight! Airline ticket prices are always changing! So separate one-way tickets often save you money.
But even when it doesn’t get you a more affordable flight, it often still gets you a more enjoyable (more convenient) flight. For some types of travelers (like me), booking this way doesn’t have any disadvantages either.
Note that the separate one-ways tip often works for short- and medium-distance flights, less so for long-distance flights.
(What works well for long-distance flights is the self-transfer tip, which is often also called the separate tickets tip. Be careful not to confuse this with the separate one-ways tip. That’s completely different and they have nothing to do with one another. I used the self-transfer tip for 2 tickets this fall, so that’ll be in the next post. In the meantime, it’s tip #22 in our guide on how to save on airplane tickets).
In fact, the only one of my 7 fall trips that was long-distance was the only one where my ticket was a roundtrip instead of separate one-ways!
And even that wasn’t a roundtrip purely: I used that self-transfer tip.
(It was my trip to Brazil for the thrill of paying just US$23 to see Taylor Swift’s show, which costs $1,500 in Toronto. When I tell you I love deals, it’s really true. I love taking advantage of good deals so much that I went just for the deal, because as I explain in the video about all this I don’t even like that music genre #teampoppunk!)
I document all my travels well so I can make content for you on each one (I should have the time now with all the help we’re going to get).
So here’s the column that shows all the types of airplane tickets I bought for the fall (OW stands for one-way; RT stands for roundtrip).
All my tickets were one-ways, except the Canada-Brazil ticket.
Better than that, just to show you how often I use the separate one-ways tip, here’s the same column for my airplane tickets from the full year before, from fall 2022 to fall 2023.
So in all the 12 months before, I took 38 flights but booked NO roundtrips… at least none in all the many tickets booked by me.
(The 2 RTs are the 2 plane tickets I didn’t even book myself, because they were offered to me free of charge by Air Canada to cover their inauguration events for the new Maple Leaf airport lounges in San Francisco and in Toronto!)
In short, it’s always worth taking literally 1 minute to compare the price of 2 one-ways instead of 1 roundtrip (just as it’s always worth taking the time to try out all the 30 other tips to save money on airplane tickets).
Traveling for less really isn’t that complicated: knowing the tips and taking the time to apply the tips. It’s that simple. We’re here to help you with that!
Tip 3: Travel rewards
Our Flytrippers readers have now earned over 2 million dollars in travel rewards just from the deals shared on our site, so obviously it’s one of the most important tips.
(We’re probably up to $3M even, it’s been a few months since we’ve recalculated and there have been some incredible deals recently!)
Many of my flights were therefore booked with travel rewards obviously Most of them, in fact. It’s tip #4 (but most importantly #21 too) in our guide on how to save on airplane tickets!
If you sadly haven’t delved into this wonderful world yet, I implore you to get started right away with the brand-new limited-time offer just released on January 4 on the TD First Class Travel Visa Infinite Card!
It gives you $825 completely free! You can redeem it for almost any travel-related expense, without any complexity.
It’s literally the best offer ever for simple points, the highest ever!!!!
It’s really the perfect deal for beginners, it’s EXCESSIVELY simple:
- Apply for the TD First Class Travel Visa Infinite Card
- Spend $5,000 in the first 6 months (easy for everyone)
- Earn 165,000 points (bonus + earn on the $5,000)
- Use them for a simple discount on almost any trip
- Gives you $825 and there’s no annual fee for the 1st year
- Re-evaluate the card in year 2 and close it it doesn’t provide value for you
It just doesn’t make sense not to take the free $825! It’ll even improve your credit score if you follow the 3 simple rules. It’s vital that you stop missing out on so much free travel that is so easy to get!
The points from this deal are super simple: you can use them for any hotel, vacation rental, flight, rental car, attraction, cruise, or package available on Expedia (so almost anything that exists on Earth).
The offer has just been released, so we’ll obviously have plenty of content to explain it properly. If you don’t want to wait, make sure you at least download our free checklist for all new card applications and follow it to avoid common mistakes.
There are 2 types of rewards redemptions options that exist: more simple or more valuable.
Getting $825 free with the TD First Class Travel Visa Infinite Card is nice (of course). That’s more simple. But there’s also another type of points that have unlimited value.
For example, our conservative Flytrippers Valuation of the TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Card‘s welcome bonus is ≈ $630, so a little less… but those points can also be worth literally $2000!!!!
Those are the ones I obviously prefer, as a lover of good deals.
Here’s the column that shows whether my airplane ticket was paid for with travel rewards (Y) or not (N).
That’s not quite accurate, because I just count the tickets that were booked with the more valuable type of points, which in this case are airline points (the ones that can give you unlimited value). I redeemed a lot of hotel points too, of course.
Both rewards redemption options work completely differently from one another. I’ve also used points of the more simple type to pay for some of my fall tickets, but those work exactly like booking airline tickets with cash.
So the tips for those are the same as cash tickets (you just need to have the points ready). Because you just apply the value of the points to them. Completely different (and very simple, the reason why it’s less valuable — which means they save you a lot less money).
For the next few parts of this feature, I’m going to show you specific tips to redeem American Express points, Aeroplan points, RBC Avion points, Avios points, and even American AAdvantage points!
I used all these different types of points this fall. That’s why we always tell you to always take advantage of all the great welcome bonus deals, it’s so handy to have lots of points to travel for less!
Especially if you want to travel more. It’s sooooooo easy to travel more with travel rewards.
We’ll have plenty of new travel rewards content too, specifically on the redemptions side which seems to generate the most questions from the 30,000+ fans of free travel who signed up for our free newsletter specifically for travel rewards.
Want to get more content to discover how to travel for less?
I want to show you the tips to save money on airplane tickets in action with my 25 flights this past fall. These 3 tips cover several flights and are the most important, but don’t miss the rest (sign up for our free newsletter to receive all our deals and tips).
What would you like to know about saving on flights? 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: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (photo credit: Andrew D’Amours/Flytrippers)