Wanting to get away is often countered by traveling on a budget. You may have a list of destinations (both within your own country and abroad), but the airfare is just too expensive! You’ve searched “cheap flights,” “find a cheap flight,” and “budget travel” and you’re coming up empty-handed. Unfortunately, this is a reality for many people — over half of millennials and Gen Xers say that cost is a primary barrier to traveling for leisure purposes, even though over three-quarters of millennials would rather spend their money on experiences rather than material goods. However, online travel agencies, comparison websites, and discount airlines are trying to change that for thousands of would-be travelers, by making cheap flights easier to find.
What’s the Scoop With Traveling?
In 2016, almost four billion passengers traveled on commercial airlines, producing global revenue of over 500 billion dollars. Over two million of these four billion passengers in 2016 were traveling to or from the United States and almost 80% of domestic trips are for leisure, not for work.
Deciding where to go can depend on a number of factors — maybe checking off a bucket list item, visiting friends or family in the area, per a recommendation, etc. Over 40% of millennials say that photos shared by friends and family is one of the most persuasive factors in choosing a travel destination and just under 20% chose their destination after seeing it in a movie.
For most people, flying is the more convenient way to go — it can be quicker than driving or taking a bus or train, giving them more time to spend in the place they’re going. However, cost can remain a prohibitive factor for many.
How Can I Nab that Elusive Cheap Flight?
Booking through travel agencies, comparing flights, setting flight alerts, and booking in advance are all ways to get more competitive flight rates. This is of course, more possible for long-term planned trips, and less helpful if you’re making spontaneous travel plans. Travel agents in particular often have access to cheaper rates that aren’t accessible to you, so it’s worth checking in with them when booking a big international flight. And, if your plans are set in stone, book the flights now! The longer you wait, the higher the likelihood that the affordable tickets will sell out.
However, on the other hand, it does help to be flexible when making travel plans and being able to leave during less desirable times (midweek, early in the morning or late at night). You might be able to snag cheap flights quickly if you’re able to move dates or times.
Getting acquainted with budget airlines is also a great idea. They may have fewer frills than the more mainstream airlines, but that means their costs are reduced, so they can charge a bit less than the usual going rate. If you’re traveling on a dime or aren’t too worried about many of the comforts that typical airlines use, this could be your best bet.
Why Should I Try to Get Away?
Getting away is beneficial to our mental and emotional health, among other things. Over 95% of American workers say that having (and using) vacation time is important to them. It’s a chance to shed the usual routine, kick back and relax, and spend time with the ones you love. It can also be an opportunity to explore new places, have exciting adventures, and come back with plenty of stories to tell.
Vacations are also important for our interpersonal relationships. For example, four out of ten travelers report that they feel more romantic when they’re on vacation. It’s also a chance to spend time with our kids, spouses, or friends in a different setting. Stress is reduced and you get to have a communal experience that can offer a bonding opportunity.
If you’re desperate to get away, but feel that you can’t afford it, don’t despair! Check out online travel agencies and flight comparison sites to find the best deal that will let you get away and unwind.