The greatest challenge people face with traveling is high airline costs. Or so they say.  I call these excuses and I hear that one a lot.  Flying abroad will never be inexpensive, but it can be manageable.  I swear.

The likely culprit in airline travel are the hidden fees and taxes.  Oneika the Traveller argued for paying a bit more instead of using budget airlines. She cites nine reasons.  I certainly see her side of the argument.  And I’m the first one to proclaim that airline travel isn’t my ultimate form of transportation.

The reality for me is savings.

I mainly fly low-cost and want my booking sites to be transparent.  So, my list of sites grows.  Some of my top sites are Skyscanner, Momondo and Vayama.  Vayama is a recent find and since I discovered them this summer, a few epiphanies occurred to me about budget airline travel.

Sorry, excuse inventors, you can live your dreams.  It’s about being creative.

1.  Be Flexible

One of the most effective ways to find lower rates is based on your own flexibility. Prices can go down depending on the day of the week and time of day you can book your flight. The more options you play with, the more likely you will be able to do it for cheap.

2.  Alternative Airports

Look into alternative airports instead of the most popular ones. Some airports are cheaper to fly into and out of than others. If you can find one near your destination, you can often save money and then use ground transport (bus, train or tram) to get you to where you want to go. Two days ago I flew into Paris from Budapest and landed at Beauvais Airport instead of Charles de Gaulle.  Buses leave for Paris frequently, about 20 minutes after each flight.  It costs around €15 and takes 75 minutes to reach the city.  Essentially, my entire flight was under $125  CDN.

3.  Start Looking Early

This is where I fail terribly, because I’m a last minute planner.  Start looking for your airfare early. Even though it seems like the best deals come up at the last minute, cheap fares can also appear way ahead of your dates.

4.  Vacation Deals

I’m an independent traveler, but not every person is.  If you’re going on a short trip, consider buying a vacation package to save some big bucks. There are many deals out there as they include flight, hotel, and even car rental.  Not my preference, but I certainly don’t speak for everyone.

5.  Think Out of the Box

Research spots that you might not have thought about before. Sometimes there are great promotions to places you didn’t have in mind, but that will also give you a different perspective than the well known places. Did you know that Cologne is Germany’s fourth largest city?  Yet, many travelers I meet are heading in two directions, either Berlin or Munich.  I hear Cologne is lovely.

6. In Europe Take the Trains

You knew I was going to sneak this suggestion in. If you’re going to Europe consider taking trains once you are there. This is a great way to see the countryside and there are often amazing deals on ticket prices, especially if you book in advance.  Eurail or InterRail are experienced in assisting non-European travelers and can make train travel in Europe a very pleasant experience.  I’ve done it twice now and can back that statement up with proof.

7. Travel Light

When I was on a recent Ryaniar flight it was shocking to me how many people were penalized for going over the bag size limit.  It’s so easy to avoid the hassle.  One of the best ways to lower expenses is knowing how to pack. Take only what you really need. Choose fabrics that are lightweight and fold flat or roll up easily. I’m a proponent of cotton. Even if you are going during winter months, you can select fabrics that take up less space. You can buy cosmetics and toiletries where you land, and if you do need to take some with you, buy them in small travel sizes.  There’s a term for this, called BIT.  Buy it there.

8. Use your Brain, Savvy Traveler

There are many ways to save money as you plan and enjoy your vacation or round-the-world trip. Signing up for discount airfare emails to get notice in advance (Airfarewatchdog is decent and even Vayama has a newsletter you can sign up for), checking on the Internet as often as you can to catch the latest deal, and speaking with an online travel agents can also help you get the lowest fare.

It comes down to taking initiative, remaining informed and always remembering that options are available to you.  With that in mind, there are no excuses.

I rarely parter with affiliates on this website and only do so if I believe in the product.  If you’re keen to see what flight options are available to you, scroll to the right and search for flights to see what Vayama has to offer.

Photo: Double-H