I learned that I would be teaching English in Madrid with the Auxiliares de Conversacion program a few months ago. Of course, I immediately began searching the market for deals on the one-way flight abroad. I imagine you can understand my utter dismay when I learned that tickets ranged from $800 to $2,500. Economy seating. No checked luggage included.
Because I worked too hard on my college degree to sell drugs and I have nowhere near enough upper body strength to kayak across the Atlantic, I pleaded for advice in one of my Facebook groups. Using the tips those wonderful people gave me, I was able to find a one-way flight for just $347!!! I’m flying with United Airlines, and there is only one layover in Washington D.C. (Dulles). I don’t mind the pit stop, I just pray that the air conditioning is working for the 3 hours I’ll be in that God forsaken airport.
Since I would have never been able to snag that deal without the helpful advice that I got, I am going to pay it forward to the rest of the internets. Hopefully it can help you find affordable flight abroad!
Momondo offers great deals on flights, hotels, packages, and car rentals. You can search the site with a specific destination in mind, or enter your origin and select “Take Me Anywhere” to view hundreds of options around the world. Much like Kayak or Expedia, Momondo compares data from hundreds of airlines and booking agencies, bringing the best prices to your fingertips in just a few short seconds. Filter your results by options like “cheapest”, “quickest”, and “best” to browse more efficiently. When ready to book, you will be taken to the travel site that offered the specific deal you selected. Any following processes will be done through the selected website.
STA Travel offers discounted flights for students and teachers, as well as general travelers under the age of 26. They partner with major airlines, so you don’t have to worry about being on a Soul Plane aircraft. They also offer deals on packages, hotels, trains, buses, and tours. Don’t have all your money up front? With deposits as low as $49, you can make payments up to 21 days before your trip. The only requirement for STA Travel’s deals is that you purchase one of their many discount cards. Rates are as low as $25, and having one makes you eligible for discounted travel through their website for a whole year.
Kiwi is the travel hacker’s true MVP. They offer insanely low prices on international (and domestic) trips, including popular destinations during peak periods. Right now, you could fly from New York to Prague for less than $300. What’s the catch? Unless you’re lucky and snag a rare direct flight, you can expect to spend 24 hours or more getting there due to multiple layovers. By strategically connecting flights to your destination with different airlines, Kiwi is able to offer those extremely low airfares. Of course, times will vary depending on your destination. When I was searching for my flight to Madrid, the average time was about 16 hours (a direct flight from ORD to MAD is ~8 hours). It’s really up to you to decide if the time spent in transit is worth the money saved in planning. Evaluate your travel priorities and use Kiwi only if sure you have the patience.
Student Universe is a lot like STA Travel, offering discounted rates on flights, hotels, tours, group travel, and hostels. The majority of deals are only for students/faculty at accredited universities, and youth 16-25 years old. Some deals are available for the general public, but on an extremely limited basis. Unlike STA Travel, the purchase of a general discount card is NOT required. Instead, each unique deal has its own unique eligibility rules. To see if you qualify for a specific deal, start the checkout process and you will be informed of any issues before entering your credit card information.
Full Disclosure: Flight changes and cancellations on some of these sites are rumored to be very expensive. For example, a change of itinerary within 21 days of your departure can cost you $300 or more. Please be very careful about considering any likelihood of changes in your travel plans before booking.