How to Find Alternatives to Expensive Flights

December 4, 2013 — 4 Comments

After traveling for work for ten years and a nine month trip around the world, I’ve collected some strategies for traveling cheaper. I’ll cover them in a ten part series in this order:

A. The flight
– How to Book the Cheapest Flight
– How to Use Free Flight Stopovers
– How to Find Alternatives to Expensive Flights
– Finding the Cheapest Airport Transportation
B. The Hotel / Accommodation
– How to Book Cheapest Hotel Rooms
– How to Find Hotel Alternatives
– How to Use Hotel Points
C. Arriving
– How to Get Local Currency for Your Trip
– Avoid International ATM Fees!
– Know How Much Things Cost

How to Find Alternatives to Expensive Flights

Sometimes you just can’t find a cheap flight.  It might be due to the popularity of the location you’re flying to or because you’re flying during peak season.  We had this problem a few times and we got creative to save some big money.

The best example is when we flew into Austria for three days and headed to Dubrovnik, Croatia afterwards.  Direct flights were around $400 each for this quick two hour flight and one-stop flights were still $350 each.  There weren’t many options and the airlines took advantage of it.

I hoped I could find a cheaper alternative than the flight option so I started Googling!  The first thing I did was search nearby airports to see if I could find a cheaper airport near Dubrovnik that I could fly into from Vienna.  Unfortunately, they were all still pretty expensive so that didn’t work.

The next step was to see if I could find an airport where flights into Dubrovnik were cheaper. That’s when I found a direct flight from Zagreb, Croatia to Dubrovnik for $80 each!  The only problem now was getting to Zagreb from Vienna.  I did a few more quick Google searches and found two options – the bus or train. After further research I found a direct bus from Vienna to Zagreb that took five hours and cost around 30 Euro each.  Lucky for us, the time worked out so we booked it!

The best part was that our alternative travel with the bus and direct flight took about the same amount of time as the non-direct flights and it saved us about $450 for two of us… and $560 cheaper than direct flights!

Here’s my strategy for finding alternatives to expensive flights:

1.  Check for alternative airports on the arrival and departure side

2.  If you find a cheaper airport, see how easy or cheap it is to get to that airport by bus, car, or train

If the amount of money is saved and the amount of inconvenience is acceptable, book away!  Do you have any tips to finding alternatives to expensive flights?

How to find alternatives to expensive flights.. and visit Dubrovnik, Croatia!

Saving $400-$500 made Dubrovnik even more beautiful!

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4 responses to How to Find Alternatives to Expensive Flights

  1. You gained the added benefit of being able to see more of the countryside as well.

    • Very true… actually really loved our countryside bus rides, especially when locals were involved. It’s such a first world thing to zoom from one place to the next on planes without seeing everything in between.

  2. Airlines practice “yield management.” They will raise or lower the price based on demand. Unless the route is very popular, you could wait until closer to your schedule departure to book a flight when the airline will lower prices to get ride of inventory. It’s risky though, if you absolute have to be someplace on a particular day.

    • It always makes me nervous to wait on prices because it doesn’t seem like they ever drop too much. It’s amazing how much they change the prices… especially when you watch the different news programs where they show you how much each passenger paid!

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