How to Find the Cheapest Airline Ticket Price Available

August 30, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

Finding the cheapest airline ticket price can be a bit of a crapshoot. I was talking to a friend who says he subscribes to Airfare Watchdog as a service. A few months ago, he saw a ticket price from Orlando to Las Vegas for $118, so he marked it to keep an eye on it.

He said that he has never seen that price again, and only sees ticket prices for $185, regardless of the airline. But the $118 has disappeared forever.

Now, $185 is a good price for a flight to Vegas. After all, you’re asking a company to transport you nearly 2500 miles in a couple hours, and you’re worried about $67? You couldn’t make the drive to Vegas for $185, so that’s even a good deal.

But still, when you want to take four people for that price, you’re looking at a $740 price tag, which starts to get pricey. So how do you make sure you get the cheapest tickets you can? Here are a few tips to try.

1. Use a Credit Card with Travel Points

United Airlines sometimes offers the cheapest airline ticket prices, but you have to know how to find them.My friend travels enough and uses a dedicated credit card enough that he’s able to take an annual honeymoon with the points he’s accumulated. He uses this credit card for everything, and then pays it off each month, which really racks up the points. When it comes time to buy his tickets, he’s accumulated enough points that his tickets are often free.

Get a credit card that accumulates travel points, like a Chase Visa or American Express Gold (they partner with Delta and accumulate miles) and use it for day-to-day buying. Pay your bills with your credit card, and then pay it off each month. Get a card that’s branded with your favorite airline, and you can sometimes get additional points when you buy certain items.

2. Subscribe to a fare watch service

There are apps and services like Momondo, Thrifty Traveler, and Hopper, which can track places you want to visit, or send you special deal alerts for different destinations.

In some cases, you have to be ready to buy at that moment, for others, you have to be ready to leave that weekend. You can also use Google Flights to monitor a specific destination and fluctuating ticket prices.

Google Flights and Momondo will both tell you whether the price is the best one available, based on historical data. Hopper uses historical data and current ticket prices to create a calendar of best and worst times to fly. And Thrifty Traveler will tell you when there’s a serious deal you should consider, even if it wasn’t originally on your itinerary, so be open to new options.

3. Book Early

The closer you get to your departure date, the higher the price gets.

That’s as simple as I can make it. Buy your tickets as soon as you decide to go.

4. Be Flexible on Dates

Friday departures cost more than Wednesday departures. It costs more to fly on Sunday than Monday. And your mid-week trip will cost less if you travel on Saturday instead of Friday. (Making the case for a nice bleisure trip if you’re traveling for business.)

When you need the cheapest airline ticket, select the flexible travel dates option on your website. It will show you the cheapest prices which may offer you some unusual travel times. You may be flying out at 5:30 in the morning or late at night. You may go a day earlier than you wanted or leave a day later than you hoped. Either way, if you need to save money, then don’t lock in your travel dates until you know when you’ll be flying.

5. Buy Immediately!

This last one is an important one. Don’t start researching ticket prices until you’re ready to buy. My friend said he saw the $118 ticket price, and he could have bought it, but instead he saved it for later, and the price “disappeared.” It’s not going to be back either, because that was a one-time special offer.

It may show up if he checks in again anonymously (more on that in a minute), but because these websites use cookies and keep track of your IP address, they know that you’re already interested in a fare to that location, and so they may hide the “enticement price” in the future.

So if you need to do some research, you can Google a destination — “how much are airline tickets to Las Vegas?” — and get a budgetary figure, but if you find a low ticket price, buy it immediately. Don’t wait until you’re closer to the date, don’t put it off until you feel less worried. If you need to save $268 on four tickets to Vegas, buy them as soon as you see them.

And if you already peeked, and need to “reset” your cookies, there are a few things you can try:

  1. Clear your cookies. Go into your browser preferences and delete your cookies. This will delete everything like saved passwords, login information, website preferences, and so on, but the travel websites won’t recognize you. Probably.
  2. Do an Incognito or Private search. In your browser, go to the New window, and look for the Private/Incognito setting. This is a new window that works like you completely wiped your browser, and when you close it, nothing will be saved. That means you can visit a website “for the first time” every time.
  3. Use a VPN. A Virtual Private Network is a piece of software that actually directs your web browser to another server before going out and visiting whichever website you choose. So while you sit in Columbus, Ohio, you can make it look like you’re sitting in St. Louis or Houston. This will disguise your location from the website, and they won’t know your individual location.

How do you find your cheap airline ticket prices? What’s your favorite service or method? Share your tips and tricks on our Facebook page, or in our Twitter stream.

Photo credit: Cliff/United Airlines (Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons 2.0)

How to Get Exercise While You’re on Vacation

August 16, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

Many people who exercise regularly are often reluctant to go on vacation because it ruins their exercise routine. They’ll spend a week not working out, and returning to their regular schedule can feel like drudgery.

Other people would welcome the relief, but they worry that if they stop, they won’t return to it. So what can you do to maintain some kind of fitness routine when you’re away from home and your favorite gym or running routes?

To begin with, make sure to pack your workout gear, but here are a few other things you should try.

Count your steps

Hotel Gym at Casa Velas Hotel in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. You can find a fitness room at most vacation hotels.

Hotel Gym at Casa Velas Hotel in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

If you’re already a walker or runner, use your mobile phone to count the number of steps you take while you’re out seeing the sites. You may find that you walk as far or farther than you normally do in a regular workout. You can even schedule walking tours of the places you’re visiting to help.

I prefer the Pedometer++ app for my step-counting, although there are others you can use. It gamifies walking, which means I can earn badges and accomplishments just for walking every day. And since we walk a lot on vacation, I know how much exercise I’m getting, so I can complain about it on Facebook the next day.

Find some workout videos on YouTube

If yoga is more your thing, you can always do your routines in your hotel room. Some of the fancier hotels will provide a yoga mat for their guests, but if you’re driving to your destination, you can always pack your own.

That may be a little tricky on a plane, since most yoga mats are wider than suitcases are long. But you can do it if you only have one other carry-on item; you’re allowed a carry-on bag and a personal item, so just carry your yoga mat.

Also, there are hundreds, if not thousands, of yoga videos online, whether it’s YouTube or one of the many yoga apps available. Pick a few of your favorites and work out to those.

You can also do an online search for local yoga studios and visit one of those as well.

Scout out some safe running routes before you arrive

Look at Google Maps and check out some walking routes between your hotel and a couple of sights or points of interest. Google is fairly reliable in checking out walking routes that keep you off of busy highways and out of construction. Find a sight you’d like to see, plot a walking route from your lodgings, and head out the door.

You can also check out sites like Runkeeper.com, the Map My Run app, or even the USA Track & Field’s running database.

Finally, look for a local running group or run shop in your destination and see if they have any scheduled runs or workouts.

Get a hotel with a workout room

It may cost a little more, but if you’re dedicated to staying fit, it’s worth it. Most hotel gyms have an exercise bike, treadmill, and maybe a few weights. If you need to move some iron, you won’t find the big racks of weights at a Holiday Inn Express, but there will often be a small universal weight machine. But if you’re looking for cardio workout equipment, most hotels have you covered.

If you need to find a hotel with a good workout facility, use Trip Advisor or Yelp, as well as the hotel’s own website, to get the insight on what they have to offer.

See if your local gym has sharing privileges at other affiliates

Places like the YMCA, Planet Fitness, and Anytime Fitness often have sharing privileges from gym to gym, regardless of where you are. So if you already belong to one of those gyms, you can flash your membership card at the gym in your destination city and use their equipment.

And sometimes you just need a break

Finally, remember you’re on vacation. You’re supposed to take a break from work, from stress, and all the things that drive you mad. Splurge on some food, cheat on your diet, and don’t beat yourself up just because you miss a couple workouts. You can get back into the swing of things when you get home. Relax and enjoy your time off.

Besides, an important part of exercise is the recovery process. So consider this a critical step in your health journey. Just remember to start back up again when you get home.

How do you exercise while you’re on vacation? Do you work harder or count on some of your activities to give you that workout? Share your tips and tricks on our Facebook page, or in our Twitter stream.

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