one of my most frequently asked questions these days is around finding deals on airfare, especially since we are a family of 5 (and 5 tickets add up!!!!) but have gotten the hang of finding cheaper airfare to destinations around the world, which has honestly become one of josh’s and my favorite pastimes. of course, what one considers a cheap airline ticket will vary from one person to the next, and i think we have an advantage living in new york city which is a big hub for many international airlines, but i do think it’s possible to find cheap tickets no matter where you are and where you want to go.
i understand that travel isn’t for everyone, and it can feel like such a luxury for sure to be able to make a big trip to a new place happen, especially with little ones in tow. i am a true believer in giving experiences and adventures over tangible gifts whenever possible, but i don’t believe those have to be extravagant. i remember so many camping trips my family took near our home growing up when i was a little girl that created some of my favorite memories with my siblings. so while this post is focused on finding deals when it comes to airfare around the world, never let that stop you from creating your own family adventures wherever you are!!!
since this is the last week my doctor is allowing me to fly until after the twins arrive, i am experiencing the worst fomo (fear-of-missing-out… which, for the record, i hate that word, but felt appropriate to use here because it’s very true) travel bug since since i keep finding all these summer deals and we can’t book them yet! we want to wait until the twins are here, since our first priority right now is making sure they arrive healthy and that their transition into this world goes smoothly for them and our other little ones before we jet off somewhere again. so, maybe some of you can take advantage of the deals we keep seeing in the meantime! josh actually just saw one to malta, a few days ago and he was like, “is it bad that the thought crossed my mind to go by myself?!” (for the record, i told him he should have done it!)
here are some tips…
1. be flexible on dates
obviously it’s ideal to experience a particular place at peak season, when the water is warm if it’s tropical or the temperatures are ideal for outdoor exploring or whatever that place is best known for. but sometimes, traveling to a place during their off peak season means deals not just for flights, but deals for hotels too, as well as smaller crowds and shorter lines for everywhere you want to go. our first family trip to italy was during the first half of november, and while it was on the colder side, we loved getting to be there and still experiencing all that italy had to offer during our time there. same goes for this last trip i took to paris with eleanor. it was february, and much colder and rainier than if we’d gone in the summer months or early autumn. but gosh, the rain can’t stop me from being on cloud nine when i’m in paris! so it just depends on how willing and able you are to be flexible with dates and timing. using google flights is great way to comparing prices across different dates so you can easily see how much less it costs to leave on a weekday vs. a weekend or this month vs. that one.
2. be open to new places
if you are open to several destinations, searching for cheap airfare this way can help you find the most incredible deals. this is how josh found and booked an insane deal to spain for our family last year about 9 months before went! (around $360 direct round trip tickets to barcelona from new york city.) at the time, i felt like 9 months out was too far out for us to set something so firm (since we were trying to get pregnant and much of the partnerships and work we do come about just a few months or weeks in advance), but it was such a great deal, that we decided to book it right on the spot and knew we’d figure it out later. all these options can get confusing fast when you add in different dates, different airlines, different destinations, how many stops, and airport options. a great tool for keep things straights is momondo.
being flexible with layovers can be a fun way to see a new place while saving money. i usually don’t want to do a layover when traveling with children, but if you’re searching for international flights and want a deal, sometimes this is the way to go and it can actually be a major plus. we found a deal last year that combined a visit to morocco and a “trip within a trip” to either spain, portugal, or england for between $300-$400! this is how we ended going to morocco on our way to england, and we were able to see a little bit of casablanca before exploring england. kind of like a two for one! we heard about these deals from scott’s cheap flights, a service that has free and paid subscription options for getting alerts on discounted airfare and mistakes fares. we subscribed years ago so we could set our preferences for which alerts we wanted to receive (based on where we were leaving from and interested in visiting). but if you do this, you should definitely not limit the destinations because you’ll see some amazing trips for places you might not have thought about.
4. be adventurous and just go for it!
i’ve mentioned in some of the previous tips how we use each of these sites a bit differently, but the sites we love and use for finding cheap airfare are scott’s cheap flights, google flights and momondo. they have been great resources for us as we’ve put international trips together and helped us save a lot of money. i think one of the biggest tips though when using these sites or just finding a deal in general, is to just go for it once you’ve found it! i always feel slightly nervous when we find a deal and book it right away (shouldn’t we sleep on it?!), but it’s the start of such a fun adventure and part of the adventurous process! a lot of the deals are often only available for a few days (and in some cases a few hours) and we have regretted a few that we waited too long to book which led us to lose out on the trip entirely. so keep in mind that acting fast in some scenarios with these sort of deals is the way to go!
i’ve talked a lot about traveling with children (internationally especially) because i know a lot of people think it’s crazy and not worth attempting until the kids are fully grown and can remember the experience the way you might. you might want to read this post of mine for more of our thoughts and tips and tricks for making family travel worthwhile. but the short of it is, i think it is absolutely totally completely worth it. it has helped us create a special family bond while experiencing, exploring and learning and trying new things in new places together, and has created some really wonderful memories. i believe in exposing our kids at a young age to different cultures and languages and people and tastes, and i hope it helps shape them as human beings for the better. if you have a chance to go, go! and take lots of photos and videos for them because it helps remind them of other memories around the memories in the photos and videos and i love being able to witness that!
i know we have to wait and see how things are looking after our new babies arrive, but i am hopeful it doesn’t hold us back too much from future adventures around the world together! i hope this is helpful and i’d love to hear if anyone has found any amazing deals from other sources in the comments below! if i missed anything related to this, i’ll try to respond in the comments so let me know!