I love finding a good deal on a flight, especially in my current life stage where I’m not exactly making a great salary (think: below minimum wage, but that’s Americorps for ya!). For instance, I’m headed to London in April. “Ally, again?!” is the question anyone who knows me well may be asking in a somewhat flummoxed manner. But as I explained in this post for The Financial Diet, the price for the ticket was $471 roundtrip. ROUNDTRIP. I literally had no choice but to immediately purchase the flight. And so at midnight on a Monday after returning home from The 1975’s Nashville show, I did just that (the timing seemed fitting).
But despite my incredibly low income right now, I’m still able to travel this year. The following tools have been helpful in allowing me to find the best flight prices for my small budget.
Kayak is a search tool for flights (and hotels and car rentals and even cruises), scanning airline flights (except for Southwest) to offer you a list comparing prices and flight times based on your destination and dates, allowing you to pick your flight preference. You can also sign up for Kayak Alerts to receive daily emails listing that day’s flight prices to whatever city you’ve created an alert for.
Now let’s say you only have $150 for a flight but you are still desperately in need of a trip somewhere. Kayak Explore is your bestie for the restie, allowing you to search for flights to destinations near and far based on your budget. WUT! Magical.
2. Google Flights
Google Flights is another great tool that allows you to enter in some preferences—places (Oceanie? South America? Europe?), dates (January? March? One weekend? Two weeks?), and interests (Beaches? Food? Nature?). From there, it pulls up various cities, listing prices and flight info to each one. Boom. Your next trip found.
Every day, I receive an email from Airfarewatchdog listing airline prices to cities all over America and the world from my origin city of Nashville. I can peruse through this list and then if some cray-cheap flight catches my eye to a city I’ve been wanting to visit, I can snag it.
I also follow @airfarewatchdog on Twitter, which allows me to stay updated on low fares from other cities, since my daily email only covers flights from Nashville. This is how I was alerted to that insanely low ticket from New York to London in April.
4. The Points Guy
The Points Guy is a blog to “maximize your travel” by providing information on travel deals, travel credit card offers, and other travel-related information. Recently, it advertised fares from Dallas to Australia for $841 rountrip. Let me tell you JUST HOW CLOSE I was from purchasing this ticket (I WAS SO CLOSE). But because I am a mature adult now who knows that spending all of my savings on a plane ticket is probably not wise, I practiced self-control and did not purchase said ticket. But following The Points Guy on Facebook and Twitter allows me to stay updated on fare sales like these, as well as keeping me informed about the best travel credit card offers (P.S. I wrote a post about why you need a travel credit card) and more. Give The Points Guy a follow on social media and stay privy to flights like that Australia one!
Hopefully these tools will come in handy for you the next time you're in the market for a plane ticket!
- Get closer to your next free (free!!) flight with these 7 ways to earn airline miles.
- You really, REALLY should own a travel credit card. Because free travel is good travel.
- Your entry-level salary isn't an excuse not to travel. Here's how to travel on a post-grad budget.
"Ghosts That We Knew" // Mumford & Sons
Despite having seen them in concert a few years ago, I've never been a huge Mumford & Sons' fan. Like, I don't know the names and lyrics to every song. I don't exactly follow them on tour or listen to their albums on repeat (with the exception of Wilder Mind which I listened to constantly during spring 2015).
But then in August, I listened to Sigh No More on vinyl at my friend's apartment, laying there while she tapped away on her laptop, responding to work emails. And I actually listened to the album; I didn't look at my phone or distract myself with something else. It was a holy experience, and since then I've been on a huge Mumford kick, giving those British dudes imaginary fist-bumps every time I'm hit with a lyric that spits TRUTH. (Which is often.)
"Ghosts That We Knew" has always been a particular favorite, even when I was only listening to this band occasionally. "You knelt beside my hope torn apart." You can bet your Poodle that I'll be incorporating that quote into a future blog post because WOW MUMF, WHAT A LINE. And the instrumentation in the bridge is so beautiful I could weep.