.in times of wanderlust.
A few days ago, Mike and I cancelled our trip to Israel, which had a layover in Ukraine. It just isn’t the most ideal time to be flying into either of those countries. I accepted the loss of a $950 ticket each before we even began to try to get a refund because safety & health > money. However, we got our money back with the help of Priceline and it was so easy! Took me 15 minutes total on the phone and I had the money refunded within the week. Wow.
Anyways, this is what prompted us to go somewhere else. After all, I was expecting an international trip and still wanted one. I found a round trip ticket to Italy for $644 round trip. Yes, it’s an amazing deal, especially to fly to a European country. I ended up going with a $690 round trip with Delta because the $644 trip with Air Swiss and Air Canada charges extra to reserve seats 24-48 hours in advance since they were code share flights (whatever that means). Of course, on a lengthier flight or I guess any flight, I want to ensure that I get to sit together with my favorite traveling companion, my fiance, and get an aisle seat to accommodate my overactive bladder. TMI?
Anyways, here was my process, which is pretty simple. The key here is to have very flexible dates and to be open to the world and what it has to offer– I guess a few dollars in the bank wouldn’t hurt either.
For this specific trip, I used www.adioso.com and www.kayak.com. Kayak is usually my go to flight search engine but I just discovered Adioso, which opens doors to the world like no other.
Adioso is a more “human” way of searching. You can search your arrival city by putting a specific city, state, entire country or if you know you want me to domestic or abroad, you can type in “domestic” or “international”. Sky’s the limit in how you can search. As for the dates, that’s also extremely flexible as well.
I’ve always used Kayak for similar reasons. When you search for a flight, you can make your departure and return dates flexible by adding the flexible dates option. This will help you fly in a day later or earlier than you wanted but help you save a lot!
On Adioso, I looked up basically any dates that would work with work (oh the dreaded work that rules our lives with an iron first. Work, one day, I will love you. Today’s just not the day) and weddings (we’re going to two weddings in August and September; one that I’m honored to be in as my best friend’s bridesmaid). That left us with some of July, some of August and most of September. So after playing around with dates, I saw our cheap flight options lead us to Italy, Costa Rica, Puerto Rico and a few other countries. It didn’t take us long for us to pick Italy after all of our friends’ tempting recommendations, which I’ll be posting soon.
Once I saw the dates that were the cheapest in Adioso, I used Kayak to search again to have more flexibility in flight times and to lead me directly to the airlines’ direct site to book the flight. I highly recommend booking directly with an airline to get better service when needing to cancel or change flights. Third party sites often have rules against being helpful. Seriously, if you think regular airlines are not helpful, then adding a third party to the mix makes the process more onerous. There’s been quite a handful of times when I’ve caught myself saying “never again Expedia”, “never again Priceline”, “never again third party site”, and “should’ve booked directly with the airline to deal directly with them”.
So at the end of it all, we’re flying into Milan, but don’t worry, based off peoples’ recommendations, we won’t be spending more than a day there. Flights into Milan were about $300-400 cheaper than any other airport in Italy so we figured we’d just use it as a landing hub and then train off to other places, which is an efficient and cheap method of getting around Italy and Europe in general. Oh USA, why can’t we have a similar public transportation model enabling the middle class man to be able to travel around the US more freely?
Flight to Rome, Venice, etc. = $1100+
Flight to Milan ($690), train tickets on a super fast train (estimate $80) and super cute smart car rental (estimate $100) = $870
There’s that for this specific trip. Otherwise, I really love this site- http://www.theflightdeal.com/. Its mission is to only provide flights that are under 6 cents a mile and provide reward points. They don’t believe in simply cheap flights by the total cost of the flight. They believe in the whole cost-saving package. Sign up for the daily newsletter or peruse their site to see if anything fancies your interest. They have deals for flights that may be one month away or even 6 months away like during that time when it’s frigidly cold in NYC for way too long and you begin to wonder if the sun will ever come back.
I also like Groupon and know someone who’s been on a Groupon trip deal who said it was totally legit. I found an amazing trip to Budapest and (somewhere else in Europe, I forget) with a flight, various hotels for 6 nights, breakfast, etc. for $1099, but the dates the trip departed just didn’t work for us. Maybe it will for you!
How do you get your flight deals? Post below to let us know!