Finding Cheap International Flights from Small Cities

Last week I got a lot of questions from people wanting to know how they can plan an affordable trip. If you follow my snapchat (@pettydd), you’ve already heard what I’m about to share, but I wanted to make sure I was able to share this with everyone. Contrary to what a few people that messaged me believe, you do NOT have to be rich to travel! I just started 2 businesses so I have good months and slow months but it all works out. So when it came time for me to book this trip. I had a VERY low budget of $1000. This is the lowest budget I’ve ever had and I have to say, I’m really proud of myself for making it work. So here’s what I did.

  1. Flights usually make up the bulk of your travel expenses so you want to make sure you find the best deal. There are sooo many search engines out there for flights that it can be tricky figuring out if you’re getting the best deal or not. My go to search engine for flights is Google Flights. It’s really easy to use and very informative. It gathers prices from hundreds of airlines all over the world and gives them to you in order by price. You can even view a calendar, graph, and a table of the prices for the coming months
    Screen Shot 2016-10-02 at 10.00.20 AMThis is where I start my search because it gives me a good idea of what to expect and it usually becomes my price to beat. I keep an eye on the price for a few weeks (if I have that much time to spare), and I make sure to check the prices early Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday mornings. They’re usually lower then. If you can help it, NEVER book on a Friday! I also subscribe to Airfarewatchdog and The Flight Deal. Airfarewatchdog let’s you set an alert for fares from one airport to another and you’ll get an email every time the price changes. It’s very useful! I’m waiting for flights to Denver to drop back down to $38 and me and a girlfriend are on the next thing smoking, literally and figuratively. lol  Screen Shot 2016-10-02 at 10.06.55 AMThe Flight Deal works a little different. I never know what origin/destination combo I’m going to get until I receive the email but I’m still addicted. I will drop everything I’m doing when I get this email. lol I’ve seen flights from LA to Shanghai for about $400 round trip. If you’re a random traveler subscribe to this website. Screen Shot 2016-10-02 at 10.09.42 AM
  2. If you’re from a small city like me (Yes, Nashville IS a small city especially when it comes to booking international flights), then you know that it’s unreasonably expensive to fly abroad from your home airport. For my most recent trip to Amsterdam, flights from BNA (Nashville) to AMS (Amsterdam) were nearly $1,000 for a one way ticket and close to $2,000 for a round trip.Screen Shot 2016-10-02 at 10.37.58 AMSo when I fly internationally, I search for flights out of New York first. When I did my second search, NYC to AMS, the price was $275. And my flight home from Paris to NYC was $245. JACKPOT! That’s a total of $520 for a roundtrip international flight. Now I just had to get to New York. Which is not hard at all. I waited til the last minute (like the week before) and missed out on the usual roundtrip flights from BNA to NYC for under $200, so I flew out of Atlanta for $140 instead making my roundtrip airfare total $660. Extra tip: If I’m going to the Caribbean I search for flights from Miami and for Hawaii, I search out of LAX. 
  3. I know when you’re traveling you want to get there as quick as possible so you look for direct flights from your origin to your destination and vice versa. However, I encourage you to open yourself up to connecting flights for two reasons. 1. It’s usually much cheaper to purchase a connecting flight. 2. The additional flight equals additional airline miles. After my first 9 hour flight I decided that connecting flights were the way to go. I need a break every now and then, and a connecting flight gives me the break I need from going stir crazy.
  4. If you’re not collecting airline miles, START NOW! Most airlines are affiliated with an alliance that will allow you to accumulate airline miles when you fly with any of their partners. Every time I fly with a new airline I check to see what alliance they’re apart of and I enter my frequent flier number and collect the points. If I come across an airline that is a member of an alliance I’m not apart, I sign up. It’s free and it’s easy. The miles usually don’t expire for 2 or more years and it’s really cheap to renew them before they expire. Earlier this year I flew to Jamaica for $49 courtesy of airline miles!  😀 Happy searching!

What are some of your tricks for finding cheap flights?