You are currently viewing My plane tickets for Las Vegas: $296 instead of $617 (part 1: inbound)

After sharing my general tips used to save money on my 25 flights this fall, I’m finally getting to the very concrete examples since many ask us for our personal experiences. I’ll start with my trip to Las Vegas since it’s such a popular destination. I paid $296 instead of $617 for my inbound flight.

Obviously… the simplest way to get from Canada to Las Vegas is to take advantage of the frequent deals on Canadian ultra low-cost carriers (ULCCs) Lynx Air and Flair Airlines. We spot them almost daily as low as the $200s roundtrip on our cheap flight deals page.

But we know that for you, it’s not always possible to take advantage of deals (just like me on this trip). And so sometimes it can be a bit more expensive, obviously, like almost $1,000 roundtrip in my case (airfare prices vary a lot, that’s part of the basics to know).

This special feature is precisely to show you that even when it’s expensive and you’re not taking advantage of a deal, it’s always possible to save (if you want to save). 

It can be very useful for you to see these specific tips in detail, more so than for deals. Honestly, with deals, it’s not rocket science: Check out our deals page. Book a deal. The end.

Here’s how, concretely, I saved several hundred dollars on my plane tickets for my trip to Las Vegas.

 

My trip to Las Vegas in October

I’m really not a fan of Las Vegas at all, but just like in 2022, the emo/pop-punk music festival When We Were Young was taking place there, so I didn’t really have a choice. At least, I got to see the big ball, the Las Vegas Sphere!

The trip was quite different from what I usually book, meaning I booked the 2 tickets very last minute. It’s really not a good idea, obviously, and that’s why I never do this normally.

As explained in part 1 of this feature, for my shorter flights, I always buy separate one-ways (instead of the roundtrips that 99% of travelers always book) because:

  • It’s often more affordable (and never more expensive, at least when it’s not a long-distance flight)
  • It’s always more convenient (at least for me)

So my 1st example of tips is going to be the inbound ticket (which I bought while I was directly at the airport 4 hours before the flight). In part 2, which will be published soon, you’ll get all the details on my outbound ticket (which I bought the day before the flight).

The thing is, I hadn’t yet decided whether I was going to stay in Las Vegas for a while after my festival. Read here: get a rental car and venture out of town, due to my aforementioned aversion to Las Vegas.

But that Monday morning, after the festival, my girlfriend repeated that she’d really appreciate it if I could be back on Tuesday. So sometimes, that’s a significant constraint that limits flexibility. As I hope you’ve figured out (if you’re following our tips), flexibility is the key to saving money when traveling.

What many people don’t seem to understand is that flexibility isn’t just about being flexible on dates. It’s about being flexible on EVERYTHING.

 

Las Vegas-Montréal plane ticket at $617 one-way

So on Monday morning, when I went on Skyscanner (to compare options, always), the direct Las Vegas-Montréal flight on Lynx Air for the same day was too early (yes, 12:40… I’m not a morning person). 

I headed to the airport anyway, in case I managed to get there in time, but without buying the ticket before arriving of course.

The Las Vegas airport is one of those terrible airports with terminals that aren’t connected to each other, so I didn’t make it in time. I took the $2 bus to get there and not the $50 Uber (a very basic tip again). This option was a bit slower, but even with the Uber I likely wouldn’t have arrived on time — and I certainly didn’t want to pay $50 to miss the flight anyways.

The other Las Vegas-Montréal tickets later in the day, even with a transfer that obviously doesn’t bother me as a traveler who wants to save money, well they were… very very expensive.

$617 Las Vegas-Montréal tickets (photo credit: Skyscanner)

 

That’s normal, that’s often the case last minute! The next morning, it was just as expensive because there was no Lynx flight on Tuesday.

As mentioned in my ULCC presentation at the beginning of our live video on Saturday, that’s the only real drawback of ULCCs: they have fewer flight frequencies (there are so many myths about ULCCs).

But one thing’s for sure, I won’t pay $617 for a one-way ticket when roundtrips often cost $260 from Montréal!

There are always ways to save, simply by taking the 31 tips to save on plane tickets and applying them one by one.

 

My Las Vegas-Montréal* plane ticket at $296 one-way

Me, I’m a pro, so I don’t necessarily need to follow each tip one by one. I just jumped straight to the one I knew would be the most advantageous to me. 

There’s a Flair Airlines ultra low-cost route from Las Vegas to… Ottawa.

For only $95, instead of $617.

My $95 Las Vegas-Ottawa ticket (photo credit: Skyscanner)

 

Big difference! 

Yes, it’s less convenient to arrive in Ottawa, that’s for sure. But that’s travel (and that’s life, actually): you always have the choice between more convenient or more affordable. Always.

This one is tip #23 in our guide, checking nearby airports

So simple and so effective in so many situations. In this case, it’s really a no-brainer considering the prices for the same day.

Ottawa isn’t that far from Montréal either. For a direct flight to Europe, I once paid US$292 roundtrip from Boston instead of $1200+ from Montréal.

 

Other costs to compare with this specific tip

I wrote $296 and not $95 as the cost of the ticket, because you have to take everything into account when comparing all the options of course (tip #19; always compare the total net price).

Saving money on travel isn’t really that complicated after all: you just have to take the time to compare. Always just compare. 

But to compare properly, you obviously need to know what to compare and which tips you should try. 

That’s what Flytrippers will help you with in the coming weeks, with a lot more content thanks to our newly-doubled team. You also need to know how do the math right, we’ll help you with that too.

So, instead of $617, it cost me $296:

  • $95 for the Flair ticket
  • $48 for the full-size carry-on
  • $41 for the night in Ottawa
  • $101 for the Montréal-Ottawa train

Less than a half, that’s a pretty good saving! And that’s for only half of the roundtrip! It’s still expensive… but it’s a lot less than if you didn’t know the trick, much less!

The VIA Rail Ottawa-Montréal train cost $112, but in June, I booked in advance and paid only $46 for the same trip, so the tip could cost even less if you booked a little in advance. 

I deducted $11 from the cost because that’s my net transportation cost to reach downtown Montréal with this option. Indeed, the train arrives directly in the city center, whereas if I had taken a flight to Montréal, I would have had to pay $11 (for the #747 bus from the airport to downtown).

The Ottawa-Montréal bus is even cheaper at $44, but to hell with expenses! With such savings, I splurged on a small luxury: the comfortable train instead of the bus.

The night in Ottawa cost me $93. Often, this tip doesn’t even involve an extra night’s accommodation. It’s just that in my case, since I don’t want to take early flights, it sometimes happens, as in this case. 

Even when this tip seems to involve sleeping an extra night… just come back 1 night earlier, and there you go: it didn’t cost you an extra night if you don’t want it to. It just shifts the night to a new place, which will rarely cost much more.

In many situations, it’s worth it even if you have to pay an extra night, if the saving on the ticket is several hundred dollars. Especially if you have travel buddies: you multiply the savings on each plane ticket but divide expenses, such as hotels, between several people.

If I had arrived in Montréal, I would have had to pay $52 for a night at the M Montréal Hostel before leaving for my hometown of Trois-Rivières the next day, so my net extra cost is $41.

Finally, the full-size carry-on bag on Flair also cost me $48.

You’ll find more information on accommodation and the carry-on below if you’re interested.

 

How I booked and paid for my plane ticket

As soon as I saw the $95 price, I grabbed it right away before it changed (there weren’t even 4 hours left before the flight!). 

I booked directly on the Flair website (tip #12: always book flights with the airline directly, if the price is similar). I did this on my cell phone while sitting in front of my TSA PreCheck priority security line (which I get access to thanks to the NEXUS program).

My boarding pass purchased while at the airport (photo credit: Andrew D’Amours/Flytrippers)

 

I did my check-in online and went straight through security, so within 5 minutes, I was sitting in the airport lounge enjoying my first and last Las Vegas cocktail.

Amex Centurion Lounge in Las Vegas (photo credit: Andrew D’Amours/Flytrippers)

 

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I paid for the flight with cash. If you understand the basics of the 2 types of travel rewards, it’s obviously not a good idea to use rewards of the more valuable type, which have unlimited value (like Aeroplan points, Amex points, RBC Avion points, Avios points, etc.) when the cash price of the flight is so cheap

I saved these more valuable rewards for better uses later (I love maximizing value, always). So I just used the more simple type of points that can be applied to erase travel expenses, namely the Scotiabank Gold American Express Card‘s Scene+ points, which have a fixed value. 

Of course, this card covered me with flight delay insurance to get free hotel and meals in the highly unlikely event that my flight was delayed (unlikely in this case because I checked on FlightRadar24 that the plane had left Ottawa on time).

 

Sidenote 1: Cost of the hostel

As a brief aside, I should mention that I’ve been wanting to try out this cool hostel, the Saintlo Ottawa Jail Hostel, for at least 1 year.

I slept in a real prison cell. Such a unique experience!

My cell for the night (photo credit: Andrew D’Amours/Flytrippers)

 

My point is that my personal net cost for this flight should not even really include the extra $41 I spent for the night in the hostel because I would definitely have paid it one day to try this novel experience. I also booked on Hotels.com, which gave me 10% back thanks to the best simple hotel rewards program.

I’m a big fan of this kind of unusual experience. In fact, I’ve already been inside the famous Rikers Island prison in New York, but I couldn’t sleep there as it’s still very much active as a prison. So I really wanted to try out this uncommon overnight stay at the Saintlo Ottawa Jail Hostel. Detailed articles on these 2 prison experiences will be published soon.

 

Sidenote 2: Cost of full-size carry-on

One last note on the cost of the full-size carry-on. All my life, until recently, I’ve traveled ultra light on ultra low-cost carriers, so I didn’t have to pay for any extra (so with just the small backpack). 

To travel more (saving money = traveling more). It’s definitely possible, especially for a warm destination like Vegas often is, or like Florida (flight deals spotted in the $100s roundrip almost every day from many cities). But I’ve done it for Europe in the middle of winter too.

In short, it’s 100% wrong to say it’s impossible. It can be done, that’s objective. You may not want to, of course, and that’s fine, that’s subjective. But it’s not fine to say it can’t be done. I want to make this clear to debunk this myth. There’s always a way to travel for less if you want to; always.

But now, I don’t need to save on the cost of the carry-on personally, because for me it’s true that I can’t travel more often, for lack of time. Because I already travel 10-12 times a year.

I say “for me” because so many people who sadly only travel 2-3 times a year tell us they don’t have enough time to travel more, but it’s not always true. 

We’ll have more content about this, but in short, you can travel more if you want to, even with limited vacation weeks.

How? Learn to travel for long weekends. Not as cool as a long trip, obviously, but infinitely better than no trip. Unpaid time off. Very often allowed by employers, so if it’s true that time (and not money) is what’s keeping you from traveling more, that’s fixed!

So all this to say that I now pay for 1 full-size carry-on when I leave for almost 2 weeks like this trip, because I can’t travel more often — and because I’ve taken advantage of so many crazy record-high travel rewards deals in the last few years (which gave me more points than ever before, allowing me to travel for free)! 

But if you want to save even more, you certainly can!

 

Learning to travel for less

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What would you like to know about my tips to save on flights to Vegas? Tell us in the comments below.

 

See the flight deals we spot: Cheap flights

Explore awesome destinations: Travel inspiration

Learn pro tricks: Travel tips

Discover free travel: Travel rewards

 

Featured image: Vegas (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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