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Caribbean Cruise Discounts!
Cheap International Plane Tickets
by: Steve Gillman
The best place to buy cheap international plane tickets is online. We've tried
travel agencies and they can't compete with the discount ticket websites. You
can search google ("cheap airfare South America", for example), or go straight
to one of the well-known sites, like Expedia, Travelocity, Cheap Tickets,
Hotwire or Priceline.
I just did a quick search for the cheapest airfare from Tucson, Arizona, to
Buenos Aires, Argentina, using the five sites mentioned. They ranged from $1221
down to $873, and there were fares as high as $3728. Hotwire happened to have
the cheapest, but they were the worst of the five when I searched for a domestic
flight earlier. You cannot say which service will find the cheapest
international plane tickets from week to week. My number one money-saving tip is
to always check several websites when shopping for inexpensive flights.
My Accidental $1000 Discovery
Before going to Ecuador, I searched several websites that deal in cheap
international plane tickets. The cheapest airfare from Traverse City, Michigan
to Quito, was $1720. Out of curiosity, I checked Miami to Quito, and it was only
$400. Airfare from Traverse City to Miami was $300. Book two separate flights
and save more than $1000! The discount sites aren't set up to check in this way
(yet), so you have to do this on your own.
If your first flight is late and you miss the second, you may not get a refund,
but it is still cheaper (every time I checked) to just book a flight to Miami
and catch a flight to Quito without a reservation, thus avoiding this problem.
This strategy is best for those in towns without international airports. If you
live in Miami, you already have cheap international airfare.
As an air courier, you can get really cheap international plane tickets. Courier
companies ship material in the luggage space of an aircraft passenger because it
can be quicker, cheaper, and more reliable than sending the shipment
unaccompanied, since checked luggage bypasses many of the typical customs
delays. The courier company begins by purchasing airfare, and then they resell
the plane tickets to you. In exchange for your luggage space, they give you a
discount on the airfare.
An Example Of A Courier Flight
I saved over $150 on my plane tickets this way when I went to Ecuador the first
time. I had to walk several suitcases of car parts through customs, but there
was a representative of the courier company on either end, and I did get to look
inside the luggage, so I knew what I was carrying. I had to carry a plane
propeller on the return trip, but it wasn't too much trouble, and made a good
Limitations To Courier Travel
You generally can only be an air courier if you travel alone. Once in a while, a
courier company will have opportunities for flights on or near the same date.
Otherwise, your travel partner can pay full fare on the same flight. You also
can usually only bring carry-on luggage, since the point is for the shipping
company to use your checked luggage allowance.
Really Cheap Courier Flights
Sometimes air couriers fly internationally for free, and almost always very
cheap. It is a matter of how badly the company needs you and how flexible you
can be (can you fly to Paris on Friday?). In general air courier opportunities
are becoming rarer, due to the recent heavier regulation of international
flights. There still are opportunities for cheap tickets, though. You can find
out more at The Air Courier Association Website (www.aircourier.org). The ACA
can also help you get really cheap plane tickets by way of airline ticket
wholesalers, discounters, last minute specials, and stand-by travel.
More Tips On Cheap International Plane Tickets
When searching for fares using the discount websites, try several different
departure and return dates if you can. The difference of a day or two can save
you a lot. There is little logic to airfare pricing, so don't try too hard to
figure it out. Just be aware that if you leave on Friday instead of Wednesday
(or vice-versa), you may save $100.
Check the boxes that say "any time" for departure and "2 or more connecting
flights". Even if you aren't sure that you want to leave at midnight, see what
your options are-the savings might change your mind. Whenever the search
criteria allow you choices, take the ones that are the least restrictive for the
airlines. Again, if the savings aren't enough, you can always book first class,
direct flights, or whatever you prefer.
Buying your plane tickets at least a week in advance is usually cheaper. Also,
there can be a dramatic difference (but not always) if your trip is over thirty
days. You may want to cut it from 32 days to 30 to save hundreds of dollars on
your fare. Play with the dates on one of the websites mentioned. You never know
what you might discover.
Want To Go Really Cheap?
You can take a bus to a major city, if you don't live in one, and then take an
international flight from there to save quite a bit of money. My wife and I
recently went to Ecuador for six weeks. The cheapest discount website plane
tickets we could find were $3400 for the two of us. By taking a bus to Miami
($352 round-trip for 2), then flying from there to Quito ($622 round-trip for
2), we saved over $2400 - even after the taxi fare from the bus station to the
airport. That's a lot of money to us, certainly worth an extra day-and-a-half on
a bus. (The whole six weeks cost less than $2500.)
The bottom line is that if you spend a few minutes or an hour to do some
research, you might save hundreds of dollars. Good luck and happy travels.
About The Author
Steve Gillman first hit the road on his own when at sixteen, and traveled alone
across the United States and Mexico at 17. Now 40, he continues to travel and
backpack with his wife Ana, whom he met in Ecuador. Many of his stories, plus
tips and information on travel and lightweight backpacking, can be found on his
websites, http://www.EverythingAboutTravel.com, and http://www.TheUltralightBackpackingSite.com.