It’s time for a vacation. You hop on the internet and start your search for flight tickets, only to be kicked in the face by supply and demand. For the next hour of searching, it seems like no one wants you to fly for cheap. You think “How are other people scoring such great deals, and why do they almost never apply to me?” Get ready, because I am about to share with you the secret to scoring cheap flights in an expensive state.
The key to scoring cheap flights is to live somewhere supply and demand are high. How do you know if this applies to you? Well, let me make it pretty dang simple. Unless you live in Los Angeles or New York, then you’re going to almost always pay more. For instance, flying out from Phoenix can be over double the price of flying out of LA.
If you’re in a major city where supply and demand is high (like Denver, LA, New York, Chicago, etc.), then this doesn’t apply to you, and I hate you. Kidding of course. You’re so lucky and you should definitely take advantage by heading to Europe once a year!
If you’re in an expensive state, then keep reading…
The main way I get around paying more than double the cost of a ticket to Europe from LAX, is by airline hopping. Now I don’t know if that’s an actual term, but I’ve deemed it as such. ‘Airline hopping’ means using multiple airlines to score cheap flights. It’s as simple as that.
First, you want to pin point the airport closest to you where supply and demand are high. This means cheaper tickets. For me that airport is LAX (only about an hour flight from PHX). If you’re in Texas, then you might try Denver. If you’re in Kentucky, then you could try New York or Washington D.C. You get the idea.
Second, try using a simple Google Flights search to determine if flying out of any other major hub could be cheaper. Here is a sample North American search that you can do from any starting location. You’ll see here, that it would actually be cheaper for me to fly to Denver next month, then to fly to Los Angeles.
Once you have where you want to fly out of, you’re good to go. Start looking up times (round trip) and keep that screen open while you start another search.
Your second search is going to be from that destination to your final destination (round trip). So If I want to go to Paris, I’ll first start a search from Phoenix to Denver (or LAX), and then in a separate tab Denver to Paris. Do keep in mind that LAX will have more flexibility as far as departure times, so that might be an option if Denver doesn’t work out.
So once you have both of those searches opened in separate tabs, then start checking times. Your domestic flight times are going to largely depend on what sort of deal you get on an international flight, as those times are usually less flexible. So try choosing your international flight first, because often there is only one time you can fly in order to get the deal. Then work your domestic flight around those times. Major America carriers have multiple flights a day domestically, so usually you can make it work.
Here is an example of what I would choose:
PHX > DEN – $171 round trip w/ United and Frontier
DEN > ORY (Paris) – $482 round trip w/ Icelandair
The total cost of going to Paris from Phoenix is an amazing $653, which actually kind of makes me want to book this sample flight I did for you guys. Go figure!
Flying from Phoenix to Paris at this time would cost around $1,100, and about $1,400 for the really good flights. Thus saving myself at minimum $447. It’s really is as simple as that to scoring cheap flights!
The only thing to be careful of is giving yourself some layover room in between switching airlines. Try to have at least a few hours in case you need to pick up luggage or you have delays to being with. If you miss your flight because of a previous delay with another airline, that new airline is not obligated to help you. I’d recommend about 3 hours in between if you can.
I hope this was helpful! And I hope you’re already thinking about your next vacation (I know I am). Vacationing in Europe doesn’t have to clean our your bank account. Try airline hopping, and let me know how it goes!