Flexibility to Travel

In last week's blog, I talked about what research I conduct before purchasing my airline tickets and in that blog, I mention being flexible with travel dates to find the best deal possible. Well, I thought for this week's blog, I would resurface and update an old blog of mine that talks about being flexible in more depth. And I thought with travel being temporarily shut off at the moment and some of us having more time on our hands, now would be a good time to start watching airline tickets. By all means, I am not saying travel right now, but that you can watch these flights start to gage when a good deal comes your way! So let's go!

How can being flexible with travel dates help you when wanting to travel?! People typically go off travel myths when it comes to purchasing airline tickets and go into this process with a mindset of limiting yourself from the beginning. Talk about overwhelming! Don't let myths hold you back from seeing the world!

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Many people believe that they need to purchase their tickets on a Tuesday or Wednesday because they believe this is when the airline companies drop tickets to the lowest price. And part of this belief is that when purchasing these tickets, people need to fly on Tuesdays or Wednesdays as well to really get that low price. So if I was to believe in this myth, I would only be able to travel 2 days out of 7?!? Uhhh, no thanks!

I am writing this blog to hopefully break down those barriers you have built up around traveling based on myths and get you to see that buying airline tickets doesn't need to be so complicated and restrictive. As well as share some travel tips on how to keep the traveling cost down when it comes to flying. I get such a thrill and rush from shopping around looking at airline flights and remaining open-minded to any deal that I find.

Every story has a beginning and most travel stories start the moment you buy the airline tickets. Go into your next travel journey being open-minded and flexible just to see what is out there. When you have determined you are ready to explore somewhere new, I recommend looking at flights every day for a week straight. (Highly recommend looking at flights for a course of 4-6 weeks to really understand how high the tickets can go and what an average price looks like.) You will see how much the prices can change over a very short period of time and may be shocked to find a better deal on Thursday than you did on Tuesday or Wednesday. Or even the same deal.

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The best day for me to purchase airline tickets is typically a Saturday. I found the airline tickets for Paris, California, Florida, and Puerto Rico all on a Saturday and around lunchtime at that. I look at flights daily, but another key to looking at flights every day is to do quick glances throughout the day. Another shocking moment you may have is how much the prices can change throughout the day. Or the tickets are simply gone after a few hours.

Now, once you start looking at flights every day of the week, another step I take is to find the lowest price by changing the flying dates all around. And what I mean is I look at flights leaving on a Monday, Tuesday and so forth. Below I am sharing some screenshots of what this looks like.

The screenshot below shows a month overview of the prices for tickets from Miami, Flordia to Havana, Cuba. If you were looking for about a week's vacation, I would first look at the dates of March 2nd until March 7th seeing how both of those dates are offering $84 tickets. (The screenshots are from Friday when I wrote my first draft of this blog.)

One of the things I love about Skyscanner is that they show the prices of what the fastest route would be as well as the cheapest. Of course, I am looking for the cheapest just to see what it offers as far as layovers and length of flying time.

After clicking on the cheapest option, the flying date information will show which you can see these tickets are offering a layover in Mexico. For some people, they love long layovers, especially when in a place they have never been to before. To me, this is a different approach to layovers, and something many people take advantage of.

But my search doesn't stop there, now I start to play around with the dates and see if I can find a better price than $123. Below is a screenshot of the prices I found for the same destination within the same month, but for travel dates of Saturday to Thursday. Based on my new search, these dates are offering the same price with slightly different flying times.

And there is the proof that changing your dates around outside of Tuesday/Wednesday can still offer the lowest deal possible.

Now, I want to share some other ways to be flexible when it comes to flying that many people don't think of. My hope in sharing this advice is that you cut your cost in every way possible when it comes to purchasing airline flights as well as the day of your departure.

Another way to find the cheapest tickets is by changing the departure airport to a surrounding airport near you. For example, I live in Mooresville, North Carolina which if you Googled the closest airport to me, Charlotte Douglas airport would pull up first. I am here to say I have used this airport maybe once or twice in my whole life. Yup, I never use this airport because I know for a fact the tickets from Charlotte are going to cost more. And I mean a price difference of more than $200. (I still use Charlotte when searching just in case one day I am super lucky and find that travel deal. Plus I would feel silly not looking at the closest airport.)

What I recommend is looking at the surrounding airports because they could offer a better deal depending on where you are located. Off the top of my head, I have at least 4 airports in mind that are within 5 hours of driving distance from me. I am able to save hundreds of dollars flying out of Raleigh, North Carolina, or Atlanta, Georgia, so for me, it's worth it. Now, I know some of you are like…wait, I must drive 4 hours for a good" deal???

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If you despise driving for hours, then I recommend just spending the extra money to fly from the airport closet to you. Don't stress yourself out when you are about to be leaving for a relaxing vacation. BUTTT if you don't mind the drive, then this is something you should look into. Plus you can see what options are available besides driving to the departure airport. For me, if I didn't want to drive to Raleigh then I could take the train which is only about 2-3 hours. (I hear there is going to be a train route from Charlotte to Atlanta…SHUT THE FRONT DOOR Y'ALL!)

For me, the closet airport that usually offers the best deals in Atlanta and I have flown out of Atlanta for most of my trips. I know I can find cheap tickets when using Atlanta as my departing airport.

Now, some of you are wondering about parking and how that can add extra expenses to the trip early on...

I recommend looking for parking not located directly on airport property. The first time my friend and I left her car at the airport, it cost almost $100 for like five nights. Yes, we were floored when I realized how much it cost to leave a parked car somewhere! Don't make this mistake and learn from me that there is way cheaper parking out there. After you purchase your airline tickets, start looking into the offsite airport parking that is near the airport.

I use the company, The Parking Spot, as they offer the best prices in Atlanta, Georgia. They offer a free shuttle service that picks us up directly from where we parked and transport us to the proper check-in gate. I also liked that the buses are literally black and yellow and cannot be missed at the airport. (I am someone who can get anxiety if I think I am lost or don’t know my next move to get me to where I need to be. Let me help you avoid this one!) By parking here, I was able to save around $50 which I will take all the savings I can.

One thing I want to mention is that if you do have specific dates, try adjusting the dates by a day forward and backward just to see if there is a difference. You will be surprised at how much the price can go down by the small change. BUTTT makes sure the price difference is worth changing your dates by a day or so. If you are only saving $20, this may not be worth it if the hotel room or Airbnb cost goes up more than what you are saving. Got to remember these types of things when adjusting dates because you want to see the world while not breaking the bank.

This link provided is an affiliate link and I may gain commission from you purchasing from these affiliate links. 

NOW, if you are someone who doesn’t have specific dates, YOU ARE FREE! Explore what is out there and don’t hold yourself back with only wanting to travel to specific places. I am can speak on this because for years I would only travel to Florida. Then, I got a taste of California and BOOM, my perspective changed. If staying within the United States, is your thing then explore all of what it offers. Fly to Boise, Idaho just for some real Idaho potatoes or New York to get an idea on what the fast life is like.

I hope this helps you with your next airline ticket purchase and that it cut costs for you when it comes to flying. And if nothing else, show you that you can't believe every travel myth as I showed firsthand how traveling doesn't need to be restricted by days to find that travel deal!

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Just Do It!

When wanting to travel and seeing all the world has to offer, one thing I have to continue to work on is JUST DOING IT! Seriously! No more excuses holding yourself back and thinking the deal will stay

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Hello Everyone, my name is Sara Elizabeth and a full-time working mom and a full-time student!

Over the years I have fallen in love with  traveling and exploring the great states of the United States! This passion grew from understanding how to find good deals on airline flights which have been the reason for many of my travel adventures. This journey has led me to find "that travel deal" for domestic and international flights. These are those kinds of deals that have people asking "How did you find them so low?" ...Well, to those asking that question, follow along this adventure of mine to learn my methods for finding that perfect travel deal. 

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