How do you personally decide where to travel? Are you an avid explorer, opting for the adventure of choosing blindly from options tossed together in a jar or by throwing a dart at a map? Or, are you a more meticulous, “dream trip” planner type?
How about I present to you a hybrid of the two: chasing the fare, instead chasing of the destination.
Those of us who get around quite a bit — I believe my country count is in the mid 30s now (though that’s peanuts compared to some of the country hoppers I know) — often get asked how can we afford to do all of this exploring. I could get into the financial logistics of mastering credit card reward programs and maximizing your earnings and redemptions of frequent flyer miles, but there are plenty of hits on Google about that (go ahead and try it, there are dozens if not hundreds). And if you really want to start getting into that, at the end, I’ll tell you my recommendations for great blogs to get you going. My personal tip for frequent travel without breaking the bank is to chase the fare.
Every day, I get notifications to my phone for extremely low, sometimes accidental, or “glitch”, airfares. Yesterday, there was an amazing deal for airfare to Guatemala from the Washington DC area (IAD airport) for $125 roundtrip. Yes. One hundred and twenty five dollars ROUNDTRIP. To Guatemala. Not Richmond. (Just joking Richmond, I love you). “Yeah, but what if I don’t want to go to Guatemala?” Ah! There’s the catch. The answer is Who Cares! Book the $125 fare and voila, you’re off to an amazing trip to a destination that wasn’t even on your radar.
And ladies and gents, this is how it happens all the time. $400 RT to Moscow. Book it. $200 RT to Dubai. Book it. $500 RT to South Africa. Book it. For many of us, we have a dream list of must-see locations. But in the meantime, when a deal pops up, take it and go. Chasing the fare will gain you some extraordinary experiences at some unexpected destinations. And then, when you want to chase the destination and spend that $2,000 planning the dream trip to Fiji, go ahead and do that, too (probably at retail cost though LOL; if you see a glitch fare for Fiji, EMAIL ME ASAP!).
My picks for accounts to follow on Twitter for glitch/low cost fare:
Tips for getting the fares:
- Once you follow these accounts, make sure to turn on mobile notifications so their tweets will pop up directly on your phone.
- Book first, ask questions later. Most of these deals sell out almost instantly (which is why solo travel rocks; I never have to wait to see if anyone else is booking). So pick your dates and book the airfare. Worry about hotels and such later. And even if you need to cancel the flight you booked, most airlines have 24-hour cancelation policies now. Shhhh, the airlines don’t want you to know about that!
- And the cardinal rule for these low-price and glitch fares is DO NOT CONTACT THE AIRLINES! One surefire way to ensure that everyone’s $300 fares to Brazil will get canceled is if you call the airlines asking questions. “Is this fare for real?” and other such silly questions only serve to alert the airlines that they need to investigate and investigation leads to canceled tickets and a bunch of unhappy explorers.
My picks for open-ended flight search engines. With these tools, you can enter your desired departure airport and leave the destination airport blank. This will give you a nice idea of where you can travel for cheap. Chase the fare:
So until next time. Happy (cheap) travels! Of and if you want to get into the credit card/miles stuff (which I may also blog about later on), as promised, my picks for some resources to get you started: