An important part of the travel budget is transportation, which often includes airline tickets. The frugal traveler does more than keep an eye out for discount flights online. He or she is looking for more creative ways to stretch their travel dollars.
Using Free Stop Overs
When the hubby and I were traveling to Australia for the first time, we were flying Air New Zealand. Why? Because the airline offered a free stop at their center in New Zealand. We had never seen the country and planned to tour it at all. That way we didn't have to pay for plane tickets to and from.
The second time we traveled to Australia we flew Air Tahiti Nui. This airline offered, you guessed it, a free Tahiti stop on the way to or back. Another place we've always wanted to visit.
Free stops are an advantage openly offered by some airlines. Hidden cities are not only not advertised, but are actively discouraged by airlines. However, they can be big savings for the frugal traveler.
An example is a trip from New York to Las Vegas. Sometimes a flight from New York to Los Angeles is cheaper, though that same flight stops in Las Vegas to take more passengers. So, what is to stop a thrifty passenger from leaving early, to a destination that he or she really wants to visit?
A few things … The luggage will be sent to the marked destination, so this trick is for carrying only passengers. The leaflet should also remember that the return ticket must start from its actual destination.
For the agile, easy-traveling traveler, encountering a flight is like winning the travel lottery. There is usually compensation plus you, which allows someone who really needs to get to their destination on time.
Travelers who know the rules know the compensation offered (check the carriers website), know the next flights (watch for carriers once a week) and can weigh this against the pain of broken plans. Hubby and I always decide before we arrive at the airport (early to have a boarding pass to give up) whether it's worth it or not. That way we can be the first to offer their seats.
There are ways to increase your chances of being hit, the simplest being to book a fairly full flight (usually a flight later in the day).
Air travel should not inflate your travel budget. With some monitoring of discount sites and some creativity, a frugal traveler can get more for less.