In fact, many people use their credit card to pay for travel without even knowing that doing so may entitle them to travel benefits. Perks which you may be entitled to when you use your credit card to pay, like medical evacuation coverage (The Platinum Card® from American Express, a GET.com advertiser) which can cover the cost of transporting you home in case of a medical emergency, airline credit towards incidental costs and even towards airfare, discounts at hotels and restaurants (Visa, Mastercard and American Express offer these, and your bank may offer more).
If you're looking for true Americana, your choice is clear: road trip. Will you drive the soothing ocean view and coastal mountains Pacific Highway Route 1, or the truly amazing Beartooth Highway in Montana/Wyoming? How about the Sun Road in Montana through Glacier National Park, or the technically challenging Tail of the Dragon in Tennessee/North Carolina? Or will you tour the Main Street of America itself: U.S. Route 66?
Why it's awesome: Even though Virgin America is no longer the best low-cost airline in North America, it remains one of most beloved carriers in the skies. The San Francisco-based boutique carrier offers the style and high-quality service expected from a Virgin-branded company, but with the competitive prices of a low-cost carrier. In 2016, the company was sold to Alaska Airlines for $2.6 billion. The brand is expected to disappear by 2019.
They often know the market well and can predict when
Why it's awesome: Since its inception in 1998, New York-based JetBlue has helped raise the standard of service and amenities for low-cost carriers in the US. The airline's signature mood lighting, friendly service, complimentary satellite TV along with free food and snacks make it an industry leader economy flying. In fact, at 34 inches of pitch, JetBlue's Airbus A320 fleet has the roomiest economy seats in the US.
Typically, booking a whole trip with different airlines would be risky. For example, let's say your first flight with JetBlue was delayed, and you missed your connecting flight with Norwegian Air. Because the airlines have no association with each other, Norwegian Air has no obligation to reschedule your flight for free, so you would just lose your money. Kiwi.com instead offers their own guarantee, which covers schedule changes, flight delays, and cancellations. As long as you contact Kiwi.com as soon as you're aware of the delay, they will provide you with an alternate connecting flight, or a full refund, at your discretion. We haven't used this guarantee ourselves, but it certainly sounds like an appealing way to take the risk out of a thrifty flight hack!
Once you have found a date, you can use the Internet to
Check the latest flight deals or use the search box to enter your specific travel dates and let Skyscanner find the cheapest flights to the US, or wherever you want to go. Are you flexible on when you travel? We can show you the cheapest days of the month to fly. If you fancy trying somewhere new, select your chosen departure airport to everywhere on Skyscanner and we show you the cheapest places to fly to!
You can even book your own multi-day layovers, essentially allowing you to see 2 destinations for the price of 1. Rather than spend a day sitting in the airport, you can spend multiple days exploring the city you are laying over in. AirWander is a specialized search engine for doing exactly this. Put in your origin, final destination, and number of days you want to stopover. AirWander will return a list of places you can visit on your stopover, often even cheaper than a regular flight search engine! To learn how to do this, read our guide on How to Get Free Extended Layovers & Hack One Trip Into Two.
They often know the market well and can predict when
To get better results and cheaper tickets, you can change
Another thing to note when you're booking your flight tickets online is to consider extra fees and "hidden" charges such as credit/debit card fees, baggage, meals, certain seats, extra leg room et cetera. Factor all these in before you compare between different airlines and flights before making the final purchase. Most online travel portals require you to pay via credit card, and may charge you a hefty credit card fee. But some sites also accept PayPal (including American Airlines website aa.com, Agoda.com, hotels.com). If you buy tickets directly from most airlines, you also won't be charge a credit card fee, and you should take those charges into consideration when choosing between booking through an airline website or other travel websites. Some online travel agencies let you pay via wire transfer from your bank account.
traveling somewhere fairly small, you might not have many
Thrifty Nomads has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Thrifty Nomads and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. The editorial content on this page is not provided by any of the companies mentioned, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are author's alone.
Vacations aren’t cheap so you might want to find everything
to give them a shot.
If you’re looking for a more laid-back beach vibe, fly into LAX and head over to Santa Monica, CA, for sun, sand and fun. Sidewalk entertainers and street vendors never fail to delight young or old. Head into Hollywood the next day, and match up hand prints with famous movie actors at Grauman’s Chinese Theater and then stroll leisurely among thousands of stars along Hollywood Boulevard before ending the day in the shops at Hollywood and Highland Center.
Don’t be afraid of the little guy. It’s easy, and sometimes perceived as safer, to rely on large airlines as the sole means of air transportation. Instead of only considering large airlines, consider using small budget carriers. These small, area-specific airlines may offer lower prices as an incentive to choose them over the big guys. Do a search of budget carriers in your area or destination and see if they also offer lower prices.
If you're flying somewhere that involves a transfer, say from Canada to Australia which typically involves Canada to LA, then LA to Australia, consider that it may be cheaper to book these two legs separately on your own by adding another destination to your trip. It should go without saying that in doing this, you should not book tight layovers. I repeat: do not book layovers that are hours apart! This approach is for those who want to create an additional destination of a few days or more, before catching their next flight. The one exception is when booking with Kiwi.com, who offer their own guarantee on making connecting flights even when not with the same partner airlines.