J.R. Tolkien

"Not all those who wander are lost." - J.R. Tolkien

Monday, April 18, 2016

Beach Bound for $30+

We’ve decided earlier on in the year to cut down on our international travels this year to save money.  You know…because we are adults and we have bills to pay, LOTS of it.  Between Europe and Asia last year, we needed to replenish.  But my poor unsuspecting husband and I didn’t realize the extent of my wanderlust.  By April, I already have 5 domestic trips planned to make up for the lack of an international trip.  I did compromise, otherwise, it would've been 7 trips :)

I also compromised by looking for the best deals to save us money.  After looking for so many flights, I came across a great way to save money via Allegiant and Frontier airlines.  The trick to saving money with these airlines is simple: be flexible, traveling light and start making new friends in Cincinnati and Lexington!

Frontier and Allegiant have been flying out of Lexington and Cincinnati for a few years now, but in the last few months have really increased the number of flights and expanded their destination cities.  Frontier offers 18 direct flight from Cincinnati to destinations such as San Francisco, Orlando, Las Vegas, etc.  Allegiant established a hub in Cincinnati a few months back offering 15 direct flights from that airport and 7 direct flights from Lexington.  How much cheaper are they? See for yourself below.  For example, you can get tickets to Orlando for as low as $60 round trip!

$30 oneway to Orlando, Fl from Frontier Airlines
Flights as low as $48 one way to Las Vegas from Allegiant Airlines
I recently booked flights to D.C. for $90, round trip.  Want to do the same?  Here’s how to make the most of it.

Make new friends in Cincinnati and Lexington

The downside to living in Louisville is you’ll have to drive to Cincinnati or Lexington for these great rates; the upside, both cities are only 1.5 hours each way.  If you have friends or family there, you can park your car there and take a taxi or Uber to the airport.  If your flight saving is significant, research potential long term parking near the airport.

 
Be flexible with your dates as well as your destination

For some destinations, both airlines only fly on certain days of the week, so being flexible on your travel dates can save you a lot of money.  For example, Allegiant offers flights to Baltimore/Washington D.C. mostly on Sundays and Thursdays, choose to travel on those dates to get the best rates.

These airlines might not fly to the city you want, but If you just want to pack your bags and get out of town for a few days, this is a great way to do it.

I once lived out of that backpack for 3+ weeks
Travel Light  
 
Speaking of bags, this is where they get your money.  But learn to travel light and you can save.  With both Frontier and Allegiant, you’ll have to pay extra for your carry-on luggage, your personal item is still free (purse or a very small bag).  Allegiant charges $18 for carry-on or checked luggage while Frontier's rate starts at around $30.  If there’s two of you traveling together, consolidate into one bag so only one person has to pay for the fee.  Last year we had to wear a few layer of clothes, scarves, and cameras at the Scotland airport because we forgot to read the luggage policy.  Before you go, read the luggage policy very carefully to avoid expensive charges.

Other Charges   

Since these tickets are very cheap, they do charge for everything.  Here are a few additional charges to be aware of.

  • Picking seats.  If you want to choose your seats in advance, there’s an additional fee.  But if you don’t care where you sit, you’ll get your seat assignment at the airport on the day of your flight for free.
  • Service charge.  Allegiant charges a credit card fee, depending on the cost of the ticket, not to exceed $8.  Frontier charges a flat rate of $10 service fee per ticket.   
  • Club fee. Frontier’s best rate are the Discount Den rates.  But in order to get this, you’ll have to pay $49.99 club membership that lasts a year and covers up to 6 passengers, if you're one of the passengers.  These fares are much cheaper and might be worth the investment if you plan to do multiple trips in a year.  

Lastly

I haven’t been on either airlines (that’s later in the year) but have traveled with a few budget airlines abroad.  Consistently, since the airfare is cheap, you’ll have to make some compromises.  Drinks and snacks are not free;  the seats are smaller and leg room is minimal; luggage requirements are strict and expensive.  Prepare yourself by reading the policies and guidelines from each airline so are not caught off guard by unwanted expenses and headaches.

Happy traveling!  I’m seeing a lot short weekend trips in my future and a very unhappy husband.