The last time I visited Europe I paid $1,800 for a roundtrip flight from Atlanta to Milan.
This trip, I flew from A New York to Oslo to Bangkok to Kiev to Miami for only $1000, less than one round-trip ticket to Italy.
While I was traveling, multiple people asked me if I bought one of the “Around the World Plane tickets” or how I afforded all these trans-continental flights.
The answer: Fly with flexible dates and flexible destinations. And, I fly Norwegian Air whenever possible.
These methods won’t work if you are looking to fly to Thailand for your 2 week vacation (though you certainly can save some money!)
You Pay for Convenience with Around-the-World Tickets
One option for international flights are the “Around the World Plane Tickets” sold by AirTrek.com. Once I heard of the site, I began researching it to determine if this might be a better option for me. My trip began where I am from, Atlanta, GA. I wanted to explore Southeast Asia and Eastern Europe. That would be at least 4 flights over 10 hours long.
However, booking your own flights turns out to be a lot cheaper. The site says the average cost of one-person tickets is $3000-$5000. The perk of this is that you pay for your flights up front before you leave on your trip, so you do not have to worry about always having enough money set aside for your final trip home.
Use These 3 Websites to Find the Cheapest Travel
- Rome2Rio: To fly or not to fly? Rome2Rio will help you answer that question. Once you are in a region like Southeast Asia, taking a bus is a cheaper option 90% of the time. Yes, you might have to sit on a bus for 12 hours and use very questionable bathrooms at bus stops, but that is part of the backpacking experience!
- Google.com/flights: I LOVE Google’s flight search feature. I can waste hours using the “Explore” feature to figure out where I can fly next for the cheapest price. Choose your departure destination and explore a map with the listed prices of anywhere you can fly. It is easy to save itenariaes to reference when you are ready to book. The big downside to Google Flights: You can find amazing prices on Google.com/flights, but you can not always directly click through to book it. You then have to hunt through other sites, like SkyScanner to actually figure out where Google is finding this deal.
- SkyScanner: When it is time to find a flight, I find all of my flights now through SkyScanner. One of the great feautres it has, similar to Google’s explore feature, is that you can search through a whole region. For example, I can search for flights from “Atlanta” to “Europe” rather than choosing a city in Europe at the beginning. If I am a flexible traveler, going for a few months in Europe, I don’t really care where I fly into Europe because I will take trains and busses and fly budget airlines within the region.
I Always Choose Norwegian Air
Part of me doesn’t even want to share how great Norwegian Air is! I want their flights to stay cheap. 3 out of 4 of my long international flights was on Norwegian Air. They fly from New York and Miami, and luckily I have friends that live in each of those cities. I flew from Atlanta to those destinations and visited for a couple nights before my long internaitonal flight.
While I love Norwegian, nothing extra is included in the fare. I didn’t even get offered a cup of water until I asked. Checked baggage is also expensive. I paid about 80 euros for my backpack from Malaga to Miami because I had to pay for each leg of the flight (there was a layover in London.)
|NY to Oslo||$233|
|Oslo to Bangkok||$215|
|Bangkok to Istanbul||$347|
|Malaga to Miami||$216|
TOTAL INTENRATIONAL FLIGHTS: $1,011
I had to pay for domestic flights from Atlanta to New York and Miami separately. I flew a couple times within the regions. (Like when I got really cold in Prague and bought a last minute plane ticket to Spain!) I booked all of these flights at the last minute, usually the same week of the flight. If I booked further ahead of time, I think I could have potentially saved even more. All of the airlines I used were “no-frills” airlines. To save even more money on my next trip, I am investing in a 40 Liter Backpack that I can carry-on!
|Phuket, Thailand > Chiang Mai, Thailand||$76|
|Kiev, Ukraine > Athens, Greece||$108|
|Prague, Czech Republic > Malaga, Spain||$100|
|Atlanta > New York||$77|
|Miami > Atlanta||$109|
TOTAL REGIONAL FLIGHTS: $470
So, for less than $1,500 I visited 11 different countries, traveled between 3 continents, and had countless amazing experiences.1