It’s pretty intimidating when you start to look at flight prices to Europe. If you’re new to international travel, the flight prices of $1,000 can seem borderline insane. But don’t freak out and please don’t buy those $1,000 dollar flights. That would be ridiculous. Instead, there are a number of methods/sites you can use to find cheap flights for your next getaway.
Where to start looking?
If you’re like me, you probably have an entire notebook filled with places to explore and cities to visit. When you’re just starting out, that can be a little daunting at first, not knowing exactly where to start. If you’re even more like me, then the thought of a little randomness is a bit exciting.
The way I’ve found the be the most helpful is to find the cheapest flight and use that as your launching point. This works for two reasons:
- Saves money
- It makes the decision simple
Maybe the cheap flight isn’t to your dream destination, but it can easily help get you there. If you’re going to Europe, you can easily utilize the low cost carriers that are ubiquitous throughout the continent to get you to where you want to go. Or if you keep an open mind, you might even be pleasantly surprised by some lesser known places!
How do you get cheap flights??
We might not be in the golden age or flying anymore, but we might be in the golden age of cheap flights. There are a TON of services that can send you texts, emails, alerts of some kind to let you know when these flights appear. Below are a few of the more popular ones:
Personally, I’ve found The Points Guys’ flights the most useful and the best deals. On my first European trip, my girlfriend and I found $150 round trip flights to Belgrade, Serbia through The Points Guy. We never really though of visiting Belgrade, but it turned out to be a fantastic trip! Some of these deals go fast, so it’s best to jump on them as soon as possible. We use Twitter to text us when there are cheap deals, that way we see it as soon as possible. To set something like this up, follow these steps (for The Points Guy specifically):
- Sign up for Twitter (even if you don’t plan on using it)
- Follow The Points Guy’s Alerts handle (@TPG_Alerts)
- Set Twitter to text you whenever this handle tweets
- Enable mobile notifications for the @TPG_Alerts account
- Go to Settings and privacy
- Under Text Notifications select “Tweets from people you’ve enabled for mobile notifications”
- Save changes
Once this is done you should be seeing cheap deals come to your phone any minute! Again, even if you don’t see your top destination, don’t rule out a little randomness in your trip planning 🙂
A word of caution: sometimes the cheap flights found by some of these carriers are “mistake fares” or prices that were put into the airline system by mistake. In some cases the airline may not honor the flight and end up cancelling the flight and refunding your money. If a deal seems too good be true, then wait on booking any non-refundable parts of your travels (trains, Airbnb, tours, etc.) for a week or so. If the airline is going to cancel the trip, they will do it relatively soon after the prices were announced.
Credit Card Points
There are plenty of resources out there to help you through the credit card point game, so I won’t spend a ton of time here. It’s become some strange meta-industry now, and I’m not sure how I feel about it. I mean, just watch every millennial whip out a Chase Sapphire Reserve at your next brunch and try not to roll your eyes. That said, I’m definitely one of those millennials. If done right, it really can go a long way in finding cheap flights. Do a bit of research, and before you sign up for anything make sure you’re financially ready to take the plunge.
There are so many resources for finding cheap flights now, it may seem a bit overwhelming. And you’ll often find some cheap flights that aren’t to your “dream destination.” But if you’re creative enough, you can usually use that as a launching pad for your trip. Or, better yet, just send it and welcome a little adventure in your life. And don’t forget, once you’ve got the flight, it’s time to start finding a place to stay.
For more tips, checkout my friends over at 2Passports1Dream. They put a bunch of great cheap flight hacks together to help you out as well!