Cheap Flights and the Power of Skyscanner
As soon as I realised I wanted to travel long term I started to budget everything. If I was to manage to keep travelling I would either have to win the lottery or figure out how to do more with less.
I began to identify what was costing me the most money and, although it's a little bit embarrassing to say, I decided to put all my expenses into a spreadsheet. Hands up if you love Excel! No? OK.
Surprisingly, I noticed that the travelling itself was costing me a lot. How much you ask?
The true answer is at the bottom.
For now, we can presume it was a lot. Naturally, if you visit more places in a short space of time, then you will spend more on transport. With this new information, the first thing I did is decide that I needed to visit fewer places and spend more time in them. If you read last weeks post, how to travel long term, then you'll know this was one of my 5 tips.
Now that internal travel had been managed I was left with one big issue: I still needed to get to a country.
Fortunately, there is one excellent tool that has transformed my travelling and allowed me to see more, and even, sent me to places I would never have thought of going to. What is that tool of which I speak?
It is Skyscanner's ability to search from one location to EVERYWHERE!
How can this transform your travelling and allow you to significantly reduce your flight expenditure?
The next time you're looking for somewhere to go, log on to skyscanner and type your starting point. Then under the 'To' section click it but don't start typing, allow it to show the option 'Flexible? Search Everywhere'. In the 'depart' section, make sure you use the second tab and click 'whole month' and choose your month.
Watch as the list of possibilities roll out in front of your eyes. I'm quite sure at this point you'll be surprised at what locations you can get to for such a small fee. Right now as I follow this method to test my instructions, I see that the cheapest flight I get from London is to Basel, Switzerland, and that's probably one of the reasons that I've been there 6 times—amongst other things.
At this point you may be thinking this is only good for return trips—just the odd weekend city break. As you may have guessed I'm about to show you that it isn't. With some careful planning and an ounce of flexibility, this method can take you across the world, getting you to places near and far for the cheapest prices every time.
1. Follow the steps above to find your first destination.
2. Consider how long you'd like to spend there.
3. Add that time onto your departure date and then search for everywhere from your new location.
4. Repeat until you see the places you want to see or have planned for the next few months.
5. When you run into an issue where you can't get out of a place unless you pay for an expensive ticket, then go back a step and pick another location, or look for when the cheapest flight out of said location is. For example, you may have to stay in a place longer because flights don't drop to a reasonable price for another two months. If you can think of something you'd like to do there for that length of time then stay. If not, go back a step and try a new place.
It's that simple. Don't believe me? Here's what your trip might look like.
Just in case you didn't follow that, this is how the journey looks.
UK -> Switzerland -> Croatia -> Sweden -> Russia -> China
All this for £175!!! If I told you at the beginning that you could start in the UK and visit 5 countries and finish in china for only £175 in flights you wouldn't have believed me.
This, of course, excludes luggage costs, which in this case amounts to £80 if you take 15kg. However at £255 it is still a bargain. There are of course many different places this method can take you for the same price. The important thing is just to be flexible and be open-minded.
Thanks to Skyscanner's ability to search freely and not be confined to a 2/3 day price calendar, we can all see more and spend less.
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The answer to the question above is 40%. At this point I was travelling a lot and flying frequently. The amount I was spending on transport was unsustainable. Now get back to the top!
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
David Wyatt has been travelling for over 6 years. He's visited over 50 countries and lived in 9 for more than 3 months.