Air Travel for Families on the Road

Since the start of our Full-time family travels over 10 years ago, we mostly visited the United States via the RV, using campground memberships, State and National parks and free boon docking locations. As our family got older, our interests in International travel grew, due to attending World-schooling conferences, as well as our love of travel.

In our search for this type of lifestyle, we noticed 10 important factors to watch in order to find cheap Airfare.

1. Keep your searches secret.

Based on the cookies in your browser, flight prices do increase when a particular route is repeatedly searched, as the site wants to scare you into booking the flight quickly before prices get even higher. Always search for flights in incognito or private browsing mode to see the lowest prices.

2. Use the best flight search engines.

Keeping track of airline pricing is key to making this happen. Certain site (e.g. Expedia) will inflate pricing so it pays to familiarize yourself with budget airline websites.

Finally, no single search engine is consistently perfect (though we find Skyscanner to be the best). As such, you may need to try a combination of search engines to ensure you’re not missing any results. There doesn’t seem to be one that gets the cheapest flight 100% of the time.

3. Determine which days are cheaper to fly.

While many theories exist around booking specifically on a Tuesday to save money, the reality is there is no consistent truth to exactly which days are cheapest to fly. Most of the time it is cheaper to leave on a weekday, though this isn’t always the case. Your best strategy is to get a quick visual of prices for a whole month to see what days are cheapest for your specific route.

4. Use Budget Airlines to fly.

Budget airlines like (e.g. Frontier, Ryan Air, Jet Blue) offer significantly cheaper tickets than their full-service counterparts. It should be obvious, but this comes with compromises such as less leg room and no “free” food/drink on-board (which by the way, is normally covered in your higher-priced ticket with full-service airlines).

If you are considering flying budget, which in our opinion is a great way to save, I’d highly recommend reading Thrifty nomads guide on 7 must-know facts about budget airlines.

5. Use shorter connector flights and book yourself.

If you’re flying somewhere that involves a transfer, say from the Las Vegas to Australia which typically involves to Las Vegas to Hawaii , then Hawaii to Australia, consider that it may be cheaper to book these two legs separately on your own by adding another destination to your trip. It should go without saying that in doing this, you should not book tight layovers. I repeat: do not book layovers that are hours apart! This approach is for those who want to create an additional destination of a few days or more, before catching their next flight. The one exception is when booking with Kiwi.com, who offer their own guarantee on making connecting flights even when not with the same partner airlines.

First, do your research: are there budget airlines unique to the country you’re flying out of and where you’re headed to? Booking with a budget Australian airline (Jetstar) from Sydney to Honolulu, then an American one from Honolulu to Las Vegas saved us over $400 each when flying back from Australia to the United Sates earlier this year. This allowed us to create a thrifty five-day stopover in Hawaii on our way back, which was less exhausting and a lot cheaper! Kiwi.com and AirWander are both great search engine for revealing cheaper routes like this that involve multiple airlines.

6. Find cheap places to fly.

Whether you know exactly where you’re going or you just want to find to the cheapest possible country to fly into, Kiwi.com is a great tool to get the wanderlust going and save some big bucks. Hop on their site and enter your departure city, then select a date range to fly. Approximate costs then appear over hundreds of countries around the globe from your departure point, while the list of destinations is sorted by price, allowing you to see the most cost-effective place you can fly.

7. Pay in another currency.

Before booking a flight, consider if the rate is cheaper if paid in another currency. Often budget airlines will make you pay in the currency of the country you’re departing from, but this isn’t always the case. An important note when doing this: make sure you’re using a credit card that is free of foreign-transaction fees, otherwise your attempts to save money doing this will be lost!

8. Don’t wait to book.

Rarely ever do airline tickets get cheaper as your departure date approaches, especially if you need to fly on a certain date. Budget airlines typically offer low rates as a baseline price, and as these tickets sell, the remaining ones increase in cost. This is very typical in Europe and Australia. If you know when and where you’re going, don’t wait on an unknown sale. More often than not, your biggest savings come from booking far ahead when you can.

9. Use connection cities and hop off.

Travelers long ago discovered a trick known now as “connection city” flights. In a nutshell, sometimes a flight that connects in a city you want to go to is cheaper than flying directly to it. So instead, you book that cheap flight which connects in your desired city and hop off there, not taking the ongoing connection.

It should go without saying this is risky for many reasons. Here are some factors to consider:

◦ If your luggage is checked, it may go on to the final destination. For this reason, with hidden city ticketing it’s best to have carry-on luggage only.

◦ You may not be allowed off the plane (if the same plane is continuing onward to its final destination).

◦ Airlines may detect that you did not take your connection. The consequences of this are hard to say, especially since people miss flights all the time.

10. Use Frequent flier points when possible.

Using frequent flier programs can also help once enough miles have accumulated.

If you’ve inadvertently forgot about those Aeroplan or Air Miles points you’ve been racking up for years, now’s the time to use them! The best bang for your buck is to use your points for in-country travel, as this uses the least amount of points for the distance, though if you are swimming in points ( credit cards can be a goldmine for this), this is a good way to save serious bucks.

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